We present a view of the Workmen’s Hall, which has lately been built at the expense
of Mr W. Leaf of Streatham on ground bestowed by the Duke of Devonshire in the
pleasant and improving town of Eastbourne. The opening ceremony took place on
Thursday the 9th inst., with a procession through the principal streets and a large
and influential meeting at the Hall where the Duke of Devonshire delivered the
inaugural address; Mr Leaf was also present.
The new building occupies a corner plot of ground in the Seaside-road, about
midway between the Anchor Hotel and Ordnance-yard, and has frontage of 42ft.
by a depth of 150ft. The style of the architecture is Continental Gothic and the
edifice is built of red, white and black brick with bath stone windows and doors.
design includes a tower, which occupies the south-east angle of the building and
through which is the principal entrance. The building affords the following
accommodation – viz., public coffee room, library and reading room serving-bar,
smoking room and hot closet and the means of cooking for about 200 people,
when required; large lecture hall capable of accommodating about 200 persons
with gallery opening into it for orchestra; retiring room for lecturer and private
staircase. This hall is lighted by windows at each end and skylights in the
open-timbered roof. The premises also afford a yard for a skittle-alley, a place
for smoking out of doors and lavatories. The architect was Mr. R.K. Blessey; the
builder, Mr. W.H.Standing of Eastbourne.
It may be well here to notice the completion of a great public improvement in this picturesque and salubrious town. The Esplanade has now been extended westward a further length of 700 yards long, and affording with the Old Parade a continuous paved walk of 1300 yards. Drainage works costing above £10,000 have been commenced and partly executed, which will carry the sewage of Eastbourne to an outfall two miles beyond the eastern end of the town. The number of handsome villas lately erected in the place shows that its advantages are appreciated; and a large mansion has just been engaged by the Sisters of Mercy of All Saints’, Margaret-street, Cavendish-square to serve as a sanatorium for the invalids under their care.
Extract from the Illustrated London News - 2 July 1864