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Historical landmarks

Within Bexhill-on-Sea are some wonderful landmarks and buildings, with some great examples of Victorian and Edwardian architecture. Below, I have listed some of those landmarks, buildings and monuments.

Bexhill Museum. Built as a park pavilion in 1903, the building has been the home of Bexhill Museum since 1914 and houses an impressive collection of objects - local and exotic.

Clock Tower. Originally intended to commemorate the coronation of King Edward VII in 1902 but not completed until 1904, by which time it was rather late to contribute to the celebrations.

Leon Serpollet's Easter Egg Steam Car. This was the fastest car in the world at the start of the twentieth century. It competed and won at Britain's first automobile race that was held in Bexhill in 1902, reaching a speed of 54 miles per hour. The tubular sculpture of the Easter Egg can be found opposite the Sackville on Bexhill seafront.

The War Memorial. Unveiled by Brigadier-General H. O'Donnell on the 12th December 1920. Nearby is the sailing club which stands on the site occupied by the Kursaal from 1896 to 1936. The Kursaal was Bexhill's first entertainment pavilion and the closest thing we have ever had to a pier.

Baird Court. John Logie Baird, the inventor of television, lived here from 1941 until his death in 1946. Located at 1 Station Road, the building was demolished in 2007 and replaced with the Egerton Place development. This development includes a new block named Baird Court.

Town Hall. Once the headquarters of the Bexhill Corporation and now the base of Rother District Council. The Town Hall was built in 1894 and opened by the Lord Mayor of London, who came down with his stage coach, in 1895.

Manor Gardens. The ornamental ruins mark the site where the Manor House used to stand. This was built in about 1250 and was used as a residence by the bishops of Chichester, who once owned Bexhill. In 1891 the house was renovated for Viscount Cantelupe, the future 8th Earl De La Warr, after his marriage to Muriel Brassey. The Manor House was demolished in 1968.

St Michael's Church. Dedicated in v1930 it was established to take the overflow of pupils from the private schools and as an act of faith in the expected Eastward expansion of the town. Built in a gothic revival style of local materials, it is supposed to reproduce the interior of a Sussex barn. The new east window is engraved glass designed by Marion Cantrell, as were the East wall hangings.
The church is visible from the Ravenside car park.

St Peter's Church. Saxon in origin and possibly the church mentioned in King Offa's charter of 772 - the first written reference to Bexhill. The tower is Norman and there were many changes to the building during its long life. These included 18th century galleries, substantial alterations in 1878 and the extension of the north aisle in 1908.

De La Warr Pavilion. Bexhill's most famous building was built in the International Modernist style and was the first large public building to be built using a welded steel frame. The project was championed by the 9th Earl De La Warr, after whom it is named. The pavilion was built, and opened, in 1935.

World War II bunker, Galley Hill. The remains of a military bunker can be seen at the top of Galley Hill. Spike Milligan was posted to Bexhill from 1940 to 1942 and mentions the bunker in his book 'Adolf Hitler - My Part In His Downfall' and of course later referred back to the town in the Goon Show's 'The Dreaded Batter Pudding Hurler (of Bexhill-on-Sea)'.

Sidley Green was the site of the infamous Battle of Sidley Green, when men of the Coastal Blockade caught up with a well armed group of smugglers in 1828. The New Inn is in fact very old and was known as the Five Bells in the mid-eighteenth century.

The Drill Hall. The first drill hall was built in 1901 for the local Artillery Volunteers. In 1914 another drill hall was built on the western side for the Territorials.

Cooden Beach Hotel. The hotel was built by the 9th Earl De La Warr in 1931. On the opposite side of the road once stood a coastguard station. The roundabout by the hotel was built as the turn around point for trolleybuses, as they needed a facility to turn around. There was another similar (still extant) turnaround point at The Bull Inn near Pebsham / West St Leonards.

Bexhill College. Formed from the former Bexhill Boys Grammar School and Bexhill Girls Grammar School which were opened in 1926, they amalgamated in 1970.

King Offa School. Formerly the Down School which opened in 1907 and was extended in 1912.

The Down Mill. Also known as Hoad's Mill. Possibly dating from the 18th century the mill finally fell down in 1965 and only the stump now remains. The famous artist L.S. Lowry painted the mill shortly before its demise in 1960. The painting is in Bexhill Museum's collection.

Bexhill architecture

The Old Town. Most of the buildings in the Old Town are 18th century, although many had their frontages altered during the 19th century. A number of buildings, notably the church and the manor house, are very ancient and even some of the buildings with 18th century fronts conceal the remains of medieval structures.

Bexhill-on-Sea. The Victorian new town was built very rapidly between 1883 and about 1902. It was built in mostly brick with Bath stone, giving the characteristic 'red' look of the town. Dutch gables predominate and the number of domes and turrets has often been commented on. The Orientalist style flourishes on the seafront. The almost complete runs of Victorian buildings are occasionally broken by more modern structures - most the result of rebuilding after World War II bomb damage.

Blog of Bexhill's memorials, monuments and sculptures

Paul Wright, a volunteer at Bexhill Museum and a member of their Local History Group, has put together a comprehensive blog containing the imporant memorials, monuments and sculptures in Bexhill. You can see his website here.