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Marine Court, St Leonards-on-Sea

Marine CourtMarine Court in St Leonards on Sea was designed by Kenneth Dalgleish and Roger K Pullen. Construction of it finished in 1938. The building was meant to echo the design of the White Star Line ship the Queen Mary. When the building was first opened, all of the window fittings were exactly the same, and the ground floor shops painted black to reinforce the impression of ocean going majesty.

It was at the time of its construction the tallest residential block in England. It featured a ballroom and a tunnel under the road giving direct access to the beach. It was a unique piece of architecture. I think it demonstrates the draw that Hastings and St Leonards had in that pre war period. It coincided with the extensive remodelling of Hastings seafront by Sid Little.

If you search Google images for ‘hotels that look like ships’ Marine Court doesn’t appear at all. A hotel in San Juan, Puerto Rico built in 1942 looks very familiar however. Wikipedia says it was modelled after the ocean liner SS Normandie by Puerto Rican architect Félix Benítez Rexach. The ship was special to him as that is where he met his future wife, a french singer. I wonder if he had heard about Marine Court.

The winner of the hotels that look like ships category, is without doubt the South Korean Sun Cruise hotel. It lacks the classy lines of Marine Court though.

Marine Court


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