Hastings Borough Council have been accused of dragging their feet over ensuring that urgent restoration is carried out to St Michael’s Chapel, a Grade II listed building and latterly part of the now disused Convent of the Holy Child, Jesus.
The chapel is principally the work of Edward Welby Pugin, the gifted son of the much more famous Augustus Welby Pugin, the pioneer of Victorian Gothic Revival ecclesiastical architecture in this country, who is credited with having had a hand in the overall planning of the chapel.
The interior of the chapel is regarded as a stunning example of High Victorian Gothic Revival architecture.
It is not only the chapel that is noteworthy, but also the convent itself, which is the work of William Wardell, another highly respected Gothic Revival ecclesiastical architect. Wardell, however, is not widely known, but was trained by Pugin Senior and became his friend.
It would be nothing short of a tragedy, and a betrayal of future generations, if an extremely fine example of Victorian Gothic Revival ecclesiastical architecture in its prime were allowed to full into avoidable disrepair and if this green, sequestered space were desecrated by jarring, utilitarian constructions or inappropriate use.
At the very least, the chapel and the adjacent convent form a significant part of St Leonards’ rich Victorian architectural heritage, which lends such character to the town. I would therefore like to add my voice to that of Richard Heritage and doubtless numerous others in pleading that these masterpieces are carefully preserved.
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