Bexhill owes much of its character to Victorian foresight in designing its great buildings and parks.
The spectacular Knole Road terrace on East Parade, spanning 20 gables facing the English Channel next to the Sackville Hotel, is one of the town’s architectural treasures.
It had fallen into a dilapidated condition following years of neglect until 2012 when a new management team came to the building.
Led by chairman Anna Selby, director Philip Cottam and Geoff Howard, the company secretary and project manager, they employed local Sussex craftsmen under the watchful eyes of main contractors, Dave and Steve Hensher of SDS Builders of St Leonards, and local surveyors and architects Atkinson Beeston, to carry out a gable by gable transformation of the North elevation.
Diane Russell, the Rother conservation officer, provided helpful guidance on material specification with bricks and tiles made with clay from the original mined source.
Sussex Heritage Trust recognised the achievement in July this year and at an awards ceremony. Lord Egremont, on behalf of the Trust, presented Geoff Howard with an award for the large scale residential development category. The judges cited the progress that has been made in the restoration of this local architectural treasure.
The award was made for the craftsmanship and management of the project by the management company Knole Road Flat Owners (Bexhill) Limited.
Anna Selby thanked the residents for their support for the £470,000 project.
This building is deeply rooted in Bexhill’s history as the De La Warr family had decamped to Sussex from Knole House in Kent having lost their Kent estates in an inheritance battle in April 1870.
The Knole Road terrace was constructed from 1893 to 1896 and planned by the Earls De La Warr.
Architecturally, it was based on the great Knole House in Kent which was the lost home of the 7th Earl, Reginald Sackville, who sadly passed away in the year the building was completed.
The streets around the terrace, Brassey, Cantelupe and Middlesex Roads are all family names.
Half a century after its construction, the Luftwaffe on a night in September 1940 bombed the building ruining the symmetry and removing one of the gables and the two entrances at Knole Court.
In 2012 the team obtained Listed Building Consent and transformed the poor 1960s entrances back to the original 1890s façade matching the exact features down to the original paint colours.
Today the building comprises 81 apartments most with stunning sea views, but with the relentless weather from the south west and facing the English Channel, the Knole Road team are busy planning the next phase of their project.
Visit www.krfo.co.uk for more information.