The De La Warr Pavilion, in Bexhill-on-Sea on the SE coast of England, was probably the first Modernist Building to be built in the Art Deco style in the UK. It’s named after Herbrand Sackville 9th Earl De La Warr who launched an architectural competition in 1934 for a new public entertainments building for the town. It opened in 1935.
The Pavilion has had a chequered history. It served as a base for the Army during WW2, narrowly avoiding a direct hit by a German bomb. After the war it was managed by the local Council for many years but lack of funds resulted in the fabric of the building slowly deteriorating over the decades.
Eventually the building was rescued thanks to generous grants from the Heritage Lottery Fund and the Arts Council in 2002. Plans were put in place for repairs and regeneration as a Contemporary Arts Centre and the building opened in 2005, restored to is former glory.
The building hosts exhibitions, has a multi-purpose auditorium (film, theatre, live events) and a restaurant.
The building stands back from the beach and slightly above the Greensward in an imposing position in Bexhill. It has classic Art Deco lines and to one side of the frontage is an elegant canopy over an area planned for use as a Bandstand.
Turn to face the sea and you will for a moment imagine yourself in a foreign country – somewhere in the Mediterranean perhaps.
If you are in the area, make a visit to this building a priority, You won’t be disappointed.