(27) South and east wall roundels, De La Warr Pavilion, Marina

De La Warr Pavilion, Marina, showing south wall roundel. Photo by Paul Wright, June 2012.

De La Warr Pavilion, Marina, showing south wall roundel. Photo by Paul Wright, June 2012.

Bexhill’s most famous building represents a landmark of interwar Modernist architecture in Britain. Designed by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff it was the first major welded steel frame building in this country. The project was championed by the 9th Earl De La Warr, after whom it is named. The building was completed in just less than twelve months and officially opened on 12th December 1935 by the Duke and Duchess of York, later to become King George VI and Queen Elizabeth, the Queen Mother. The original circular name-plates or roundels were placed on the east and south (auditorium) exterior walls and were at first neon-lit, although debate continues about this feature. There is also speculation about why the original roundels disappeared during the Second World War. Either they were removed for scrap metal as part of the war effort, or the south wall roundel was irreparably damaged by the bombs dropped near to the Pavilion and adjacent Metropole Hotel on 30th September 1940. It has also been suggested that the council removed them to try and prevent bombing of a building built by a German Jew and named after an English cabinet minister. Whatever the reason, the two roundels were not replaced until 1977. The building now has Grade 1 listed status.

Detail of roundel on De La Warr pavilion, Marina. Photo by Paul Wright, October 2012

Detail of roundel on De La Warr Pavilion, Marina. Photo by Paul Wright, October 2012.

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