Description: Brassey Institute
Date Listed: 15 April 1987
English Heritage Building ID: 294171
OS Grid Reference: TQ8142109354
OS Grid Coordinates: 581421, 109354
Latitude/Longitude: 50.8552, 0.5762
TQ 8109 SW Brassey Institute
Public institute building: adjoining No 14 Claremont to form Claremont Buildings
(q.v) 1878-80. W L Vernon for Thomas Brassey, MP for Hastings (created Lord Brassey
1886) in an eclectic Gothic revival style to house reference library on ground
floor, assembly room on first floor, school of art and science on the upper floors,
accommodation for the Hastings Rowing Club in the basement and a suite of rooms
for the proprietor. Now occupied by the Hastings Area Library. Red brick with
dressed stone details, tiled roof and truncated spire. Four storeys and basement.
Elaborate street facade with main entrance porch in lowest stage of stair tower
to left. Arched doorway to porch: splayed jambs with 3 orders of detached polished
granite jambs on high plinths and carved sandstone leaf capitals. The central
order of the arch mouldings carved with foliage. Tympanum in arch is a Caernavon
arch with an armorial shield above. A pair of decorative cast iron gates to lobby.
Above doorway 3 arched windows with heads set into the vault corbelling which supports
a balcony with decorative balustrade at the base of a tall recess crowned by a
crocketted arch with brick Tympanum. Within the arched recess at two stair landing
levels, a 3-light mullioned window with leaded glazing. A stone framed spandrel
between the windows. Above the arched recess another 3-light mullioned window,
with a shield on a stone panel inset in the head of each light. A crowning arcaded
corbel table. At the base of the spire a shallow balcony with posts supporting
moulded brackets to the eaves of the spire in 3 bays to each side of the tower.
A cast iron balustrade to the balcony in each bay. To the right of the tower,
on their lower 2 storeys, the central feature is a canted bay window. To either
side a window to both storeys recessed from the general alignment under shallow
stone arches which on the canted sides of the bay window are supported on elaborately
moulded corbelling. Three lights to the front of the bay window with upper transom
on the ground floor and a pointed arch with geometrical tracery in a crocketted
gable above the first floor lights. Single lights to the canted sides and 2 light
casements to the flanking recessed windows on both floors. The gable over the
bay window breaks through a framed horizontal panel inscribed BRASSEY-INSTITUTE.
On the third storey a 5 bay arcaded loggia: columns with foliage capitals or pedestals,
arches with continuous drip moulding. On the fourth floor three 2-light stone
mullioned casements in stone frames. Eaves cornice above. Interior: In the entrance
porch a glass mosaic frieze by Antonio Salviati. Reproducing scenes from the Bayeux
Tapestry; timber Ceiling, diagonal ribs with bosses at intersections.
Full height stairwell with timberceiling, dog leg stair with cast iron balustrade.
Former reading room on ground floor, later extended into rooms at rear for enlarged
library with cast iron columns and elaborate plaster cornice. Ante room on first
floor leads to assembly room through a 3 bay screen of cast iron columns with foliage
capitals. Full width assembly room spanned by deep moulded beams on decorative
cast iron wall brackets; central skylight lit from well but now blocked. Rooms
to upper floors surround light well with gallery supported on decorative cast iron
brackets to upper floor on two sides. Access from gallery to studio rooms with
clerestory lights at rear; moulded queen post trusses and bracketted purlins.
Listing NGR: TQ8142109354
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.