Devonshire Hotel

This imposing building on the corner of Devonshire Road and Devonshire Square (formerly Station Square) was built as a hotel in 1886. It is of four storeys, brick walling with rendered on the ground floor and window and door surrounds on other floors. An impressive porch was included to the main entrance to Devonshire Road. The top storey was partially within the roof space. A full four-storey extension was added to the east side in 1929.

This was one of the major buildings of the Egerton Park Estate laid out by John Webb in the 1880s on land acquired in part payment for construction of the sea wall for the Earl de la Warr.;

As the town developed, the hotel became more commercial in character as opposed to the sea-front hotels that catered purely for visitors. Both the ‘Devonshire’ and ‘Castle’ hotels were used extensively for the early social functions of the town. After the opening of the larger sea-front hotels such as the ‘Sackville’ and Metropole’, they continued to provide venues for tradesmen’s events as opposed to the more prestigious events.

Three brothers shared the ownership of the Devonshire – Sydney George, Frederick Charles, and Richard Cecil Sewell.

Sydney George Sewell was called up and tried, but failed, to get exemption because of the business so joined the Army Service Corps, becoming a Corporal by the end of hostilities.

Frederick Charles Sewell attended a tribunal arguing that, as he was the last brother and owner of the hotel the business needed He was refused exemption so he joined the 7th Battalion Bedfordshire Regiment and, unfortunately was killed in action. His wife became proprietress after his death and you will see her named as such on the advertisement.

Richard Cecil Sewell joined the Bexhill Ambulance Service as Transport Officer and survived the war becoming prominent in the civic and sporting life of the town – he was given the freeman of the borough and became the Mayor in 1924-5. He was responsible for the reviving of the Bexhill Rowing Club in 1925 and became Life President. The club was formed in 1893 but closed in 1906 after the LBSC railway company increased the charges for conveying the boats to other regattas. Sewell was involved with the club from its earliest years.

One of the borough’s fire engines was named ‘Helena’ after the wife of R C Sewell, who was chairman of the Council’s Fire Brigade Committee for many years.

Among the council’s civic possessions in 1972 was the ‘mayoress’s chain given by subscribers in 1925 with a personal replica presented to the first wearer Mrs R C Sewell, returned by her to the Corporation at the diamond jubilee of the borough in 1962.’

Before election to mayor, Alderman Sewell had served a Deputy Mayor from 1922-23. It was during his time as Mayor that the Corporation Act was passed and the borough council acquired Bexhill Water and Gas Company undertakings and robes were first provided for councillors. Councillor Sewell died in 1956 and was buried in Bexhill Cemetery at Clinch Green,

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