Monday, 6 October 2014


Thursday and my 'holiday' was coming to an end - we went to Bexhill and Hastings on the south coast. I've been there many times before. They are old friends to me.

Bexhill is one of the most conservative towns in Britain, so it shouldn't be my kind of place but in the 1930's it was a bit different.

Earl De la Warr (the so-called 'socialist Mayor of Bexhill') commissioned some remarkable architects to design a 'Peoples Palace' for the town.

It was restored a few years ago and now is a magnificent arts centre and theatre, dominating the town and drawing people like me.
It was courageous to use Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff. They were refugees from Nazi Germany, and were both famous exponents of the 'International Modern Style' which was quite controversial.
It's magnificent;

In contrast to a 1930's Britain of slums and grimy darkness this was all clear lines and sweeping curves. Wide windows of clear glass gave bright light and huge views to people who were used to smoke and dirt in their lives.

It sung with joy.

With the sea and the sun all around, it's elegant and charming;

The conservative people of the town who so hated it, were in a way right; it was alien and foreign to Britain. It was continental and modern; it sparkled with glamour;

Inside, it's a sculpture. This is the lighting in the sweeping spiral staircase that dominates the whole building;

These are the stairs;

And look at these lines;

Just magnificent and the revolutionary building is now much loved by the town that hated it so when it was first built.

It was a delightful, sunny day and we messed around on the beach enjoying (is it really?) the last day of summer. We sunbathed and looked for shells in the shingle;

Winter is coming.
Neil Harris
(a don't stop till you drop production)

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