Beachlands, Pevensey Bay

As I mentioned last week, it has long been my habit to visit the seaside on my birthday. Six years ago, in 2010, Julie and I drove from the flat in Camden, down to the Sussex coast. It was my intention to visit the architecturally famous Beachlands Estate, and I took my camera along, to record the trip. As usual, these are large files, and can be clicked on for detail.

Built during the mid-1930s, this estate was conceived as a beachfront private project, designed to offer small but convenient accommodation, close to the sea. The style of the bungalows was right up to date at the time, with themes from both the Modernist and Art Deco schools of design. These included the famous Oyster bungalows, built in the shape of an oyster shell. I have never seen the like anywhere else. Originally, the estate was planned as a complete community, and was to include shops, a cinema, and other amenities, as Pevensey is only a small holiday place, and has limited facilities. When the Second World War came along, further development stopped, but left us with this unusual gem of British seaside architecture.

The classic Oyster Bungalow, with its semi-circular frontage.
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The properties are still all lived in today, and cherished by their owners.
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This Modernist-style house was for sale, and I would have been tempted if it hadn’t been so far to get to work. I would have had to do something with the windows and door though…
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Around the corner, this house showed the Modernist style, with Art Deco motifs in the rendering.
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Pevensey Bay has a claim to fame in British history as the landing site of the Norman army of William The Conqueror. As it lies between Bexhill and Eastbourne, William would have to turn east, and head to Hastings, to complete his destiny, and change the face of England forever. This is the bay, with the flat shingle beach. It must have been ideal for his ships to land there.
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If this prompts you to consider visiting the area, Pevensey also has an interesting ruined castle to explore. It dates from the 4th century, and is managed by English Heritage. Here’s a link.
http://www.english-heritage.org.uk/visit/places/pevensey-castle/

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42 thoughts on “Beachlands, Pevensey Bay

  1. Living in Beachlands now, renting, but not in one of the oyster houses. Love it down here. Great if you like a quiet life.

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    1. Thanks for the much-appreciated comment, Angela. It’s great to hear something positive from someone who actually lives there. And the quiet life suits me down to the ground.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  2. I remember visiting Pevensey years back, as I worked in Eastbourne, Hastings and later was at Sussex University. A great area for a visit. Your posts have made me think it’s about time I went back there. Thanks so much! Have a good Easter!

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    1. Must have been great, to live and work in such a nice area. I wish I could have afforded to move to the south coast, but I have got used to being in Norfolk now.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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  3. Interesting Post Pete. As tiny houses are becoming all the rage I can imagine a resurgence of the oyster, I’ll have to consider the design for my next staw bale project ๐Ÿ™‚ Love the castle, that’s more my kind of thing. All the best from a cold but sunny Poland

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    1. They are rather ‘compact’, Eddy. I don’t think that people expected too much in the 1930s. Despite that, they are currently selling for up to ยฃ300,000!
      Cheers mate, all the best to you three. Pete.

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  4. The Oyster Bungalows are interesting, and I can see how they might charm a potential landlubber whose eyes are turned towards the sea. I don’t see much appeal in the other modernist or art deco houses, though. I’ve always enjoyed the variety in bungalows along the Balboa Peninsula in Newport Beach, California. The styles vary widely, and so does the real estate value, though you can be sure it’s over one million dollars, and more likely three or four. Of course, the residents have a huge sandy beach to enjoy just beyond their gate. The boardwalk is shared by pedestrians and bicyclists. Guillaume le Conquรฉrant never made it to California, by the way. I think his ships made a wrong turn somewhere….

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    1. They are far from being luxury beach-side dwellings, David, that’s for sure. For me, they have an appeal of period, and design, but they might be too small to live in permanently. That said, they attract high prices, up to $400,000 US for the better ones. The shingle beach is less attractive than sand, but common in many areas of southern England.
      Best wishes, Pete.

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      1. Ah, yes – the de la Warre is on my list. Alas, I want to get out and about and see some of these places, but once again I’m having to take it easy to recover…a cold this time..

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  5. Very interesting documentation, Pete. I love making excursions into different eras and this was like traveling back in time to a period before my time. This is really a gem, quite unique . I sincerely hope there’s a conservation plan for the buildings? I thoroughly enjoyed this post, Pete, lovely to see so many photos. Absolutely brilliant! ๐Ÿ™‚
    Happy Easter from four of us,
    Dina & co x

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    1. I don’t believe that the buildings are listed, Dina. However, everyone seems to keep them in very good order, and they are expensive to buy, so still sought after. There is lots to see and do in that area, so maybe one day you will investigate for yourself?
      Love from Beetley, Pete and Ollie. xx

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