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priorycourt

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THIS WEEK PHOTOGRAPH OF THE WEEK: Louis French: Meteorite over Pevensey Bay


COMMUNITY Pevensey Bay Dog walking group and the Big Barn Christmas


BUSINESS Harper Hair Co. lands in Pevensey Bay

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Course title:
The Beachlands Estate in Pevensey Bay, T Cecil Howitt and the unfinished symphony to the Sea
Tutor: Working tutor with the Pevensey Timeline project
Cost: Cost per student, five classes, £84:00 (to include overview of research and writing following course)
Dates/time: Five Tuesday afternoons from Tuesday 4 September 2018: 3:00pm—4:30pm
Location: Ocean View Bakery and Restaurant, 7 Eastbourne Road, Pevensey Bay
Number of places: Total places available 8
. . .
further information: info@pevenseybaylife.co.uk
. . .
Notes
The course is free to any resident living in Beachlands.
Students from 2017 invited to share their research and story writing
The book is to be dedicated to the hard working students that have attended these courses, and written parts of the book, including Ken and Josephine Lacey who originally inspired the course, Elaine Huggett and Tony Rose

Update: Latest: Thank you for the interest in the Beachlands Book
The Beachlands Estate in Pevensey Bay, T Cecil Howitt and the unfinished symphony to the Sea

Planning of the book has now taken a step forward with the help of the Friends of National Libraries. Acquired in 2010 for the nation the Friends purchased the Papers of Cecil Howitt and Partners of Nottingham, architects.

T. Cecil Howitt one of the pre-eminent provincial architects of the twentieth century is now known to have been the father architect of Beachlands.

From 1919 to 1928 he was principally engaged in the design of Nottingham’s housing schemes.

His most important work was the new City Council House and Exchange Building, opened by the Prince of Wales in 1929, and described in The Times as ‘probably still the finest municipal building outside London’.

By 1930 he had established an extensive and deserved reputation for work with new public and commercial buildings.

These buildings included the Odeon cinema in Weston-Super-Mare, still largely intact and retaining its originally installed Compton organ, it is a Grade II listed building.

He was also the architect of the Raleigh Cycle Company’s Head Office in Nottingham.

His work in Pevensey Bay with Beachlands is dated 1933 and his original sketches survive.

Researchers are busy searching the Friends of Libraries archive to establish what primary source material exists about the venture. Some of these documents are seeing the light of day for the first time in over eighty years.

Beachlands is visited each year by people from across the country.

What is becoming clear in the research is that the significance of Beachlands as part of the story of early modernism architecture in this country has been underestimated.

What appears not to have been appreciated until now is that we see a private development built on social housing principals, sketched by one of the pioneers of the social housing movements in this country.

Author of Municipal Dreams: the Rise and Fall of Council Housing by John Boughton, published by Verso in April 2018, quotes T. Cecil Howitt from his Review of Housing Schemes (1929), Progress of the Housing Schemes in Nottingham.

T. Cecil Howitt says “there is still much work to be accomplished before the complete solution of the housing problem will be in sight. The shortage in numbers is far from being made good; and only when that has been done can an effective beginning be made of the great task of replacing with good dwellings the hundreds of thousands of old ones which have ceased through age, decay, or other reason to be fit for habitation by human families if they are to live a decent life.

The quote comes from four years before T Cecil Howitt took on the Beachlands commission.

What we are seeing in the original conception of Marine Avenue in Beachlands, The Boulevard and the Square,  is this visionary and pioneering planning adapted for private housing. The area in front of the City Council House and Exchange Building, in Nottingham, home to T. Cecil Howitt, opened by the Prince of Wales in 1929, was also called the Square.

Now we know why Marine Avenue is a dual carriageway with the planting and planning so extensively visible. The planning was based on the principles and vision of T. Cecil Howitt and a gateway to what was detailed as an entire town.

What makes Beachlands unique in the canon of T. Cecil Howitt is that we are seeing a seaside development based on his social housing principles and use of ‘civic’ space.

Beachlands may be the only example in the country of the work of T. Cecil Howitt in a seaside setting of this description. What was planned was a town ‘modern in its entirety’.

At the head of Marine Avenue, we have the Boulevard. None of these names are an accident of any description. Even in the naming of the road system we can see a much more grand and extensive plan.

His papers, acquired by the Friends of National Libraries, comprise cash books and ledgers, 1929-1979, contract ledgers, 1920s-60s, specifications and bills of quantities, and photographs.

We currently have three scripts submitted for the book from people that live in Beachlands. All these scripts are interesting and will form part of the book.

The scripts emerged from a five week course held in 2017 at the Ocean View Bakery and Restaurant in Pevensey Bay.

T. Cecil Howitt was commissioned to sketch the detail of the first fifty houses, together with the conceptualisation of the project.

The course held also discovered through research, the site of a proposed cinema in what was to have been Dukelands, to the west of Beachlands.

Dukelands was configured and named in a similar manner to Beachlands. Even one of the names of the roads proposed in the full plan for Dukelands appears to have been offered to the famous architect of Beachlands, with a plan for ‘Howitt’s Close’.

A large circular plaque marked ‘Dukelands’ can still be seen at the head of Castle Drive on the wall of a local resident, still proudly displayed, from when the plans for Dukelands failed to reach fruition.

By working with the material saved for the nation by the Friends of National Libraries, the next stage of planning with the Beachlands Book can now take place.

A five week course working with the themes outlined in 2017 with all the students that attended the tutorials, will be held in Pevensey Bay week commencing 2 September 2018

Course title:
The Beachlands Estate in Pevensey Bay, T Cecil Howitt and the unfinished symphony to the Sea
Tutor: Working tutor with the Pevensey Timeline project
Cost: Cost per student, five classes, £84:00 (to include overview of research and writing following course)
Dates/time: Five Tuesday afternoons from Tuesday 4 September 2018: 3:00pm—4:30pm
Location: Ocean View Bakery and Restaurant, 7 Eastbourne Road, Pevensey Bay
Number of places: Total places available 8
. . .
further information: info@pevenseybaylife.co.uk
. . .
Notes
The course is free to any resident living in Beachlands.
Students from 2017 invited to share their research and story writing
The book is to be dedicated to the hard working students that have attended these courses, and written parts of the book, including Ken and Josephine Lacey who originally inspired the course, Elaine Huggett and Tony Rose.

Lesson 1: Passport to Pevensey Bay, the Birth of Modernism
What on earth was happening in Pevensey Bay in 1933? Spivs, speculators and the promotion of holiday homes to the new surburban audience of the time. From the streamline moderne Sandcastle on the beach in Pevensey Bay, to the 9th Earl De La Warr, who became the first socialist mayor in 1932 and his birthing of a giant ocean liner on the beach in Bexhill. All happening contemporaneously, no wonder there were sight seeing charabanc trips. Must have seemed like science fiction.

What does the original publicity from August 1933 tell us about the plan and vision for Beachlands?

Preparation, homework: What is primary research?

Lesson 2: The founding architect father of Beachlands: Who was T. Cecil Howitt and how did he come to be commissioned to sketch the first fifty houses in Beachlands?
What can we see in his vision that remains today (answer a great deal)

Preparation, homework: Decoding your home. What can you see in the deeds of your Beachlands home that might inform the story of early socially engineered modernism in this country?

Lesson 3: The story of Boulton Paul: If it is Tuesday it must be goodbye to the Fokkers and hello to kit form holiday homes
Barbed wire in the Boer War, to pioneering aircraft, from the flames of the R101 to kit oyster houses, and yes those beautiful curved frontages really do look like huge wide cockpits do they not when you think about these things? Well there is a reason. That is what they are.

Preparation, homework: Reading break, modernism, the birth of the English bungalow, holiday homes on the sunshine coast, socail history of the thirties. Reading list forms part of the course

Lesson 4: Beachlands after the Second World War, three waves of planning and the short birth of Dukelands to the West
Immigration, clusters of change and was the follow up to the Alf Garnett classic Til’ Death Us Do Part, with him as a retired pensioner living out his days really based in Beachlands? The answer is yes.

Preparation, homework: Your story, viewpoints and perspectives, how do you write yourself into the social history of iconic, and natoinally significant Beachlands in the story of early modernist social housing developed as a private venture, to be an entire town by bringing the story up to date on your own doorstep? (No pressure then)

Lesson 5: From Here to Modernity and the unfinished symphony to the sea: The Beachlands Book: Structure, context and narrative
Where are we with the structure of the book, where does the reading, research and writing go from here?