Repair of Shelter No.3, East Parade


Shelters No.3 and No.4 were built in 1921 by Frederick William Parker, a builder and undertaker in Bexhill who took over the family business established by his grandfather. Parker’s workshop and house was on Belle Hill at the junction with Barrack Road, the site is now underneath King Offa Way. His larger projects include the Cemetery Chapel, Cemetery Lodge and the New Club, Marina. It is of note that he carried out the last burials at St. Peter’s churchyard and the Barrack Road cemetery and the first funeral at Bexhill Cemetery when it opened in 1902. This postcard dates from 1925.

In early September 2019, Bexhill Heritage received a request from Rother District Council to help out with completing the repairs to the shelter which was only part-way through. We accepted the challenge and have commenced work on site. Below you’ll find weekly progress updates to the project.

3: Week ending Sunday, 13th October 2019

Whole sections of the shelter are now stripped of paint, showing some beautiful original pine wood.

RDC Conservation Officer Tanya Szendeffy visited the site to begin deciding a possible colour scheme for the shelter. The red, white and green tricolour will be a common theme throughout, being as they were adopted by the Bexhill Institute as town colours in 1893.

Most of the discoloured or cracked perspex window panes have been taken out and surrounding plaster removed.

2: Week ending Sunday, 6th October 2019

We opened up the trap door and accessed the loft space. The inspection that was carried out showed a considerable ingress of sand. This is perhaps no surprise as the sea is but metres away and prevailing winds come from the sea. The sand has been blown under the tiles and then settles on and between the rafters. The interior of the roof is in good condition. There is no evidence of rot. We have removed the sand and bagged it up as well as considerable rubbish left by previous contractors. Daylight can be seen inside the roof due to absent or slipped tiles.

Scaffolding has been erected and the projects team are very grateful for the added security and drop sheeting weather protection which has been provided by RDC.

We continue to use heat guns to lift the layers of congealed paint. This has proven to be very successful, but slower. Removal down to the woodwork has the added benefit of revealing the detail quirks and crevices in the mouldings which have been choked with paint.

1: Week ending Sunday, 29th September 2019

The week began after a delayed start from bad weather.

We started by scraping down the old paintwork and quickly discovered that the many layers of paint which have built up over the years is unstable and de-laminates quite easily. It was decided that just scraping, rubbing down and painting over the top would not last for very long.

We tested heat guns and this takes all the paint off down to the timber so that we can sand, prime and paint properly. Although this is taking longer to do, one of the benefits is that the quirks and crevices which have been choked with paint are clearing, and the detail such as T&G; beading and mouldings are being revealed. We have a steady team working on this task daily.

If you wish to volunteer your time to the project (no experience necessary), please become a member of Bexhill Heritage and drop us an email – we’ll be glad to have you aboard.