The Marina Arcade was built, in the ‘Moorish’ style, in 1901, in a similar style to that of the Kursaal and is a good example of Orientalist architecture, which was popular in seaside resorts at that time. At the planning stage, according to the local newspapers, there were many arguments between those offering to build the Arcade and the Council – and involving the public.
Once it was built, the first shop to open for business was owned by the “Bexhill Farm Produce Supply Company”.
Two items, both on the 3rd August 1901 and in the Bexhill Observer introduced the Company to the people of Bexhill and what they were offering to them. The first, an article written by a newspaper reporter, says:-
“A CHARMING novelty was inaugurated on the Bexhill Front this afternoon. Promenaders will have noticed the pretty manner in which the first shop in the new Arcade, close to the Kursaal, is being decorated with flowers. This will be hence-forth known “The Farmerie”. The interior has been artistically arranged in Oriental style, and when everything is finished it will resemble, as near as possible a luxurious Eastern palace, and be a decided ornament to the Front_ Commencing this afternoon, visitors will be able to obtain teas and other light refreshments, served in the open air on the terrace, and during the remainder of the season this spot is likely to prove quite a fashionable rendezvous. It should be added that the tariff is very reasonable notwithstanding the high-class nature of the establishment.”
“Next week a new feature will be added in the form of farm goods, which will be brought direct from the producer to the purchaser. The ‘Bexhill Farm Produce Supply Company’, which is conducting the business, have a farm of their own at Little Common, and it is their intention to study the interests of their customers in every way, charging moderate pricies for cash. This department is to be opened on Wednesday, next.”
The second, an advert by the Company, advises:-
“Note. The Farmerie, Marina, Bexhill-On-Sea”
“The BEXHILL FARM PRODUCE SUPPLY COMPANY will open their Afternoon Tea and Refreshment Department at No. 1, The Arcade (facing the kursaal), at three o’clock “
“The Company has been formed for the purpose of SUPPLYING all description of FARM PRODUCE direct to consumers from the Company’s Own Farm, at Moderate Prices for Cash.”
“This Department will be opened on Wednesday next.”
As a further enticement, in the same advert, to shoppers, a “Scientific Palmist” would be on hand to tell their fortunes.
“Miss JULIE CRITTEN. Professor of Scientific Palmistry, from Sloane Street, will receive at her Consulting Rooms, in the “Farmerie”, daily, from Eleven to One and Two to Nine.”