The De La Warr Pavilion was erected between 1934 and 1935 in the otherwise sleepy seaside town of Bexhill-on-Sea, following a competition held by the mayor, Earl De La Warr. He sought a design for a new leisure complex for the town, and this was to be the winning entry.
The design was by Eric Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, both celebrated designers of the modern movement. It was truly a stunning design, with a welded steel frame and cantilevered staircases, and even today it is considered to be one of the most significant modern movement building in the United Kingdom.
Although the building has never been subject to some of the indignities or neglect that many of its contemporaries have, over the decades there had been some unsympathetic ‘modernisation’. Happily, the pavillion has been Grade 1 listed since 1986, and the building is currently undergoing a gradual but sympathetic restoration.
The front of the building, showing one of the projecting staircases.
A closer view of the streamlined lettering above the front entrance.
The cantilevered rear staircase, which overlooks the English Channel.
The remarkable light fitting that runs up the rear staircase.
A view of the balconies of the Pavilion from the seafront.
In the auditorium of the theatre, showing the exquisite wood panelling, and the remarkably space-age ceiling.
More original detailing in the auditorium-note the original chrome 1930s ‘Exit’ sign.