Former Bexhill West Railway Station, 1902, by C S Barry and C E Mercer in an Arts and Crafts style. Closed following the Beeching reforms of the 1960s and subsequently used for retail.
Reason for Listing
The former Bexhill West Railway Station is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural merit: an impressive symmetrical terminus station building composed of good quality building materials with a well articulated cohesive design and varied roof line. It is perhaps the most impressive surviving 1890s to 1914 public building in Bexhill;
* Plan form: the plan form, comprising a large booking hall, ticket and parcels office, waiting room and ladies' toilet and stationmaster's and inspector's offices and a separate refreshment room with gentlemen's toilets, porters and lamp rooms, is still readable;
* Degree of survival: the only alteration to the exterior is a discreet later link block between the main station and the former refreshment room. The interior survives remarkably complete with original ticket windows, arch braced and ribbed ceilings, dado panelling, original fireplaces and doors. The original partition walls mainly survive also.
A four and a half mile branch line, including its terminus at Bexhill, was opened by the Crowhurst, Sidley and Bexhill Railway Company on 31 May 1902. This line had been promoted by the Earl de la Warr and other local business men and landowners and had the backing of the South Eastern Railway because the new line would cut nearly eight miles off the distance to Charing Cross compared to the existing line run by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway from their Bexhill station on the Hastings to Brighton Line.
The new terminus was designed by C S Barry and C E Mercer and comprised a very grand symmetrical main building comprising a large booking hall, ticket and parcels offices, a waiting room and ladies' toilet as well as the stationmaster's and inspector's offices. At right angles was a detached building which contained a refreshment room, gentlemen's toilets, porters' and lamp rooms. The branch line was taken over by the South Eastern and Chatham Railway in 1905. Bexhill West Station is first shown on the 1909 Third Edition Ordnance Survey map. This edition does not shown the glazed canopy covering platforms 1 and 2 which was probably erected soon afterwards and is shown on the Fourth Edition Ordnance Survey map of 1930.
Unfortunately, despite the shorter route to London and the impressive station buildings, passengers preferred the more centrally located station run by the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway. The Railway Executive Committee ordered the closure of the branch line from January 1917 and full passenger services were not restored until March 1919. In 1923 the station became part of the Southern Railway and was renamed Bexhill West in November 1929. Nothing became of a proposed link line between the two lines or a proposal to electrify the line at the same time as the Hastings line. The line was included in the Beeching Report and it finally closed to all traffic on June 15 1964.
The main station building first became auction rooms and later became a shop and cafe. The refreshment room became a public house.
MATERIALS: it is constructed mainly of red brick in Flemish bond, but with a black brick plinth and orange brick voussoirs, with Bath stone dressings, some timber-framing to the gables, some terra cotta details and Welsh slate roofs with tall moulded brick chimneystacks.
PLAN: a linear main station building facing south-west of seventeen bays with a formerly detached square refreshment room to the north-east, now linked to the main station building by a brick link block and a glazed canopy of six bays on the north-east side.
EXTERIOR: the south-west or entrance front to the main station building has a central projecting entrance and two projecting gables. There is an elaborate central cupola, with wooden clock faces, enclosed within cambered heads and pilasters, with a lead dome and base. The central entrance has an open moulded stone pediment stretching above the roof line with a semi-circular opening above a large moulded stone horseshoe-shaped arch. This has keystones and end pilasters, alternately of brick and stone, with blank shields below the pediment and miniature pediments and moulding halfway down. Behind the arch is an elaborate wooden and partially glazed internal porch with a carved pediment and entrance doors. On each side of the central bay are two tall casement windows with keystones which are interrupted by a moulded stone band. There is a moulded plinth below. Adjoining on each side are large gables with terra cotta finials, moulded barge boards, close-studded timber-framing to the upper part and large round-headed moulded stone arches below, containing three sash windows with elaborate terra cotta overthrows, including oval fanlights and console brackets. At the ends of the building are lower recessed three bay sections with three cambered sash windows.
The side elevations also have large gables with terra cotta finials and close-studded timber-framing. The west side has three windows and two small ornamental metal grilles. The east side has two windows. The north-east or platform side of the building is plainer with a central doorcase with a curved pediment and pilasters flanked by three sash windows on each side and further sash windows at the lower ends. Attached on this side is a glazed canopy with a roof of six hips, supported on cast iron columns and with wooden fretwork edging.
The former refreshment room is now linked to the main station building by a single-storey brick gabled link block. It is single storeyed, of red brick with a steeply-pitched roof which has a diaper-shaped pattern of ornamental tiles on the east side. In the centre is an elaborate square tapering wooden cupola with an ogee-shaped metal dome with a finial and there are gablets with close-studding to the north and south each side. The lower northern part with a gable probably housed the porters and lamp rooms.
INTERIOR: access from the main entrance leads directly into the former booking hall, which has an internal wooden and glazed porch with a curved pediment, a four bay boarded roof of arch-braced type, plank dado panelling and a baronial type fireplace with a cambered arch with green tiles and a moulded wooden cornice above. The eastern wall retains two original ticket office windows. A double door on this side leads into former offices which retain an original safe and a metal fireplace although some further partitions and a staircase were inserted after the building ceased to be used as a railway station. Doors on the western side of the booking hall open into a large room, probably a ladies' waiting room with a bolection-moulded fireplace and original ladies' toilet cubicles. A door to the north leads into another room, probably an additional waiting room, which also has a bolection-moulded fireplace. The former refreshment room to the north-east has a large room with a ceiling with moulded wooden ribs supported on console brackets and with patterned ventilation grilles round the edges. A narrow doorway to the north leads to the original gentlemen's toilets.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.