The Twentieth Century Society

Campaigning for outstanding buildings

Congress Theatre, Eastbourne © Ian Stronge
Park Close, Eastbourne © Ian Stronge


Visit to Eastbourne — September 2015

The September event for C20 Southern group was held in Eastbourne, with an informative, enjoyable architectural tour, expertly led by member Clare Dales.

The first building viewed was the exterior of the imposing 4-storey Art Deco apartment block, Pearl Court, originally used as residences for staff of the Pearl Assurance firm.

On the seafront, there was an opportunity to enter and learn about the iconic and recently refurbished Grade II-listed Bandstand and Colonnade, with its striking blue domed roof and finial. Opened in 1935, it was built to the design of Leslie Rosevere, the Borough Engineer at the time.

This was followed by a guided tour of the 1963 Grade II*-listed, modernist style, Congress Theatre, designed by Bryan and Norman Westwood Architects as a dual purpose conference and theatre venue.

In Old Town, we visited Park Close, a conservation area, consisting of 20 houses, Arts and Crafts and Tudor vernacular in style, built around a central green. Ten of the houses were constructed in the 1920s with a garage block to the design of Richard Goulburn Lovell, and the scheme was completed to his design in the 30s, this time with integral parking. The visit included a viewing of the interior of one of the earlier houses.

We also visited the nearby 1927 Tally Ho Grade II-listed pub by John Leopold Denman — a striking corner-side building in Arts and Crafts and Sussex vernacular style.

The day ended with a brief visit to view the Feibusch murals depicting The Pilgrim’s Progress, at St Elisabeth’s Church.

All in all, this was an enlightening and fascinating tour, whetting the appetite for further architectural forays!!

Bobbie Dawson