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meeting

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THIS WEEK MP Huw Merriman, public meeting over closure of Pevensey Bay Library, details announced


FEATURE TIME TO LAUNCH TABLOID JOURNAL: Death of Pevensey Bay Library much exaggerated


BUSINESS POST OF WEEK: Castle Inn, Pevensey Bay: Under New Management party


DEVELOPMENT MAP FOR DUKELANDS 1965/66 NOW PUBLISHED:

Thanks to Kate and Steven Wilkinson, who live in Beachlands, the team behind the production of the Beachlands book have rediscovered elements of the story of Thomas Cecil Howitt, The shape of the story here shows his influence still had a bearing in Pevensey Bay up until the mid- sixties. The full map shows how Dukelands was to have been imagined in the mould of the father architect of Beachlands, one of the eminent provincial architects of the 20th century, right down to a close that was to have been named in his honour.
Bay Life 10 September 2017

A remarkable series of maps have emerged which were to have been thrown out by what is now East Sussex Highways.

The maps which date back to 1909 give a snapshot of Westham, Pevensey and Pevensey Bay through the twentieth century as part of development plans

The maps, saved by Kate and Steve Wilkinson, who live in Beachlands, contain a series of remarkable re-discoveries.

Already documented in a number of local books, Dukelands was to have been, it would appear, situated to the west of Beachlands, a whole new development that would have been patterned and shaped along the lines of Beachlands..

Here in this first map, which appears to date from 1965/66, there is a remarkable, perhaps long forgotten plan, for the cinema site in Pevensey Bay.

Resident Geoff Bryant has commented, “What a remarkable find and save of our history well done can I get copies please“,

With the original plans for Beachlands, stories have, over the 80 years since 1934, suggested there was to have been a cinema, if so, we can find no documentary evidence for such a plan, but the story has remained.

One interesting aspect of the way in which the story has been handed down over time is the fact that cinemas were very much in the frame in 1934.

The father architect of Beachlands has been re-discovered to be one of the eminent provincial architects of the 20th century, Thomas Cecil Howitt.

In 1929, his iconic building, the Council House in Nottingham, was opened by the Prince of Wales.

He went on in 1932 to be commissioned by Odeon Cinemas to create art deco masterpieces across the country, including the 1936 classic Western Super Mare Odeon (listed in 1985).

Perhaps the wires got crossed with the story? In 1932 he began work for Odeon Cinemas, which he continued up until 1936.

His commission here in Pevensey Bay to create the initial plan for Beachlands, was in the middle of this work, perhaps people were just hoping that he would be commissioned to build a cinema here at the time?

Here for the first time revealed online, we can see that there really was a cinema planned and where the cinema would have been situated.

The plan was to site the cinema, not in Beachlands, but in a wholly new development called Dukelands, to the west of Beachlands, here in the heart of Pevensey Bay, ‘acknowledging’ the style of Beachlands even down to the road names.

The plan was only partly realised and honoured in the plaque that we see on the wall of a house that says ‘Castle Drive, Dukelands’.

The sign looks very much like the gateway sign to Beachlands and was presumably at one time in use as a starting point as the ‘twinned’gateway sign to what was to have been the Dukelands development.

As well as tennis courts, a cinema was planned. Here in black and white is the plan for the cinema.

Look closely and you will see that the road names acknowledge Beachlands. We have Boulevard North and Ocean View West, West Avenue and the Square. the gateway West Avenue looks remarkably like the plan for the gateway Marine Avenue to Beachlands does it not?

Now look very closely, there in the corner of the plan, bottom right, is the name of a close. That close was to have been named Howitt Close.

We believe that the name was to have been in honour of Thomas Cecil Howitt, one of the pre-eminent provincial architects of the 20th century, now re-discovered and known to have been the architect father of Beachlands, the development that was to have been a modern town in its entirety.

—Beachlands Book production team
Thomas Cecil Howitt, the Beachlands estate in Pevensey Bay and the story of his unfinished symphony to the sea
book to be published July 2018
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Draft text from the book serialised in Bay LIie the Journal, the broadsheet newspaper for Pevensey Bay, chapter one in next issue published later this month.

Chapter one, draft—Primary research, it was to be a modern town in its entirety