Art That Made Us: The History of the De la Warr Pavilion

Art That Made Us: The History of the De la Warr Pavilion


20th April, 2022 at 2:30 PM

Bexhill Museum, Egerton Road, Bexhill on Sea, TN39 3HL

Online: Bexhill Museum curator Julian Porter tells the story of the town’s famous Grade One listed De La Warr Pavilion, the controversies surrounding its design by Erich Mendelsohn and Serge Chermayeff, the key role of the 1930’s least likely Socialist Mayor, Herbrand Sackville, 9th Earl De La Warr, and why it is pronounced Delaware, not Delaworr…

This event is open to all online, but a limited number of in-person tickets will be available for Bexhill Museum members only. Please contact the Museum front desk for details.

The Art That Made Us Festival features events taking place across the UK throughout April. The festival complements the broadcast of a major new BBC television series exploring our creative history. Museums, libraries, archives and galleries are opening their doors to tell the stories behind their astounding collections.

The presentation and talk at Bexhill Museum will be followed by a Q&A session on line. Please help cover our costs by making a donation at time of booking online or joining in-person.

“By the late 1970s when I worked there during school holidays it was rather a tired old building… Now it has changed. Since the mid-2000s, the De la Warr Pavilion has been rebooted and is now a powerhouse in the area of arts and performances.” – Eddie Izzard, from Believe Me.

What others said…

“It is the intention of the promoters that the building should be simple in design, and suitable for a holiday resort in the south of England. Character in design can be obtained by the use of large window spaces, terraces and canopies. No restriction as to style of architecture will be imposed but buildings must be simple, light in appearance and attractive, suitable for a Holiday Resort. Heavy stonework is not desirable […] Modern steel framed or ferro-cement construction may be adopted” — The 9th Earl De La Warr on the specification for the De La Warr Pavilion.

“Delighted to hear that Bexhill has emerged from barbarism at last, but I shall not give it a clean bill of civilisation until all my plays are performed there once a year at least.” — George Bernard Shaw on hearing of the De La Warr Pavilion’s opening.

“De La Warr Pavilion… a fine modern building with absolutely no architectural merit at all. It was opened just in time to be bombed. The plane that dropped it was said to have been chartered by the Royal Institute of Architects, piloted by Sir Hugh Casson with John Betjeman as bomb aimer.” — Spike Milligan, from Adolf Hitler: My Part in His Downfall.

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