Sussex

Bexhill's People's Pavilion celebrates 80 years

De La Warr Pavilion
Image caption The De La Warr Pavilion on Bexhill seafront was reopened in 2005 after a major refurbishment

Celebrations have been taking place to mark the eight decades of the "People's Pavilion", which was designed by a refugee from Hitler's Germany.

Bexhill's modernist De La Warr Pavilion was a sensation when it was opened in 1935, attracting thousands of visitors.

After years of neglect, it was recognised as architecturally important in the 1980s and reopened after a major refurbishment in 2005.

"This is a Marmite building," said Bexhill journalist John Dowling.

"Right at the start in 1935 the design divided town opinion.

"You loved it or you hated it and to some extent, people still do but it's the hub of the town."

Image copyright De La Warr Pavilion
Image caption The staff of the newly-opened De La Warr Pavilion were pictured in 1935
Image copyright De La Warr Pavilion
Image caption Chrysler Avenger police cars pictured outside the De Law Warr in 1981
Image copyright De La Warr Pavilion
Image caption A keep fit demonstration was held in 1983
Image copyright De La Warr Pavilion
Image caption Derek and Christine Govier celebrated their wedding at the pavilion in 1997 and return every year to reminisce

The building, which replaced seafront coastguard cottages, was the first in Britain to be made with a welded steel frame.

Its two architects, German Erich Mendelsohn and Russian Serge Chermayeff, won a competition for the commission.

Mendelsohn had already built public and private buildings in Germany including the Schocken department store in Chemnitz in 1928 and the Einstein Building in Potsdam in 1921.

Chermayeff designed the interior of the BBC's new Broadcasting House and the Cambridge Theatre.

Image copyright De La Warr Pavilion
Image caption Eddie Izzard, who spent part of his childhood in Bexhill, carried the Olympic torch in 2012, the year a replica coach balanced on the pavilion's roof

In 2012, a re-creation of the last scene of the 1969 film The Italian Job was installed on top of the De La Warr as part of the Cultural Olympiad.

The sculpture, a coach balanced on the edge of the roof, was installed by a crane.

Image copyright De La Warr Pavilion
Image caption Thousands of people attended the 75th anniversary celebrations

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