Onslow COurt privacy screens

Onslow Court Privacy Screens

During the last 8 years Onslow court has undergone a huge renovation project, which has included installing a new boiler for the communal heating, having the front of Onslow painted twice, and the back and side flanks of the building redecorated. The flat roof has been renewed and the flue from the boiler room lined. The lift on the east side has been replaced. Onslow Court is looking and functioning so much better, and is at last returning to its former glory.


Onslow Court WBC

Union Place Worthing

The ‘vision’ for a better future continues in Worthing – Union Place

There are notices around the town in Worthing advertising the vision for Worthing, you might have noticed them and in particular the boards about Union Place. Worthing Borough Council (WBC) obtained the land last year and this latest acquisition is part of the bigger regeneration plan for Worthing which has been going on for some time now. The Union Place project will bring with it 198 new homes, new commercial spaces, a cinema and an extension to the Connaught Theatre, in fact in this application the theatre is called the ‘site anchor‘. The proposal describes all the opportunities and the constraints associated with such a huge development and is worth a read (link below).

In a statement Adur and Worthing Borough Council say this:

‘Worthing will be recognised as a highly desirable place to live, work and visit, continuing to attract high calibre businesses and significant inward investment that will help the town’s economy to grow and improve its regional competitiveness. It will be a vibrant place where people can enjoy a high-quality environment that combines the best of coast and countryside, a diverse cultural and leisure offer, modern infrastructure and economic opportunities.  [Worthing prospectus 2016]

It is interesting to look at the map of 1932 on page 3; ‘The Heritage Strategy’, we can see the Connaught Theatre as a cinema. It was in 1935 that the cinema had a face lift and became the Connaught Theatre. The architect of the face lift, creating a new façade, was the same architect who designed Onslow Court, A T Goldsmith.

The significance of why Onslow Court features in this huge planning document starts to make sense. Some of those aforementioned constraints are probably there because of our Onslow Court, the Connaught it is a very important listed building in Worthing and it sits slap bang in the middle of the Union Place site making this project slightly more architecturally sensitive than it might otherwise have been and don’t forget, it is called the ‘site anchor‘ in this application.

Onslow Court is included as a visual reference in the outline planning application (page 6), although their document doesn’t reference the architect, or why our building is slotted into this glossy tender.  Onslow Court is prominent in the application and it is placed alongside other ‘designed’ buildings.

It is great that Onslow Court is recognised as a building of importance. We come under the heading, ‘Proposed Character’ and we are the only local building other than the Connaught Theatre in the application.

Read the full application and view all 8 exhibition boards here and the consultation information here.



three covers

Art Deco Traveller Guide

I think it is fair to say that we are all quite passionate about the Art Deco era; the period when Onslow Court was built.

Now it looks like someone else is too and not just the era, but also our building.

Onslow Court is catalogued in the latest Art Deco Traveller Guide, written, researched by the Art Historian, journalist, writer and author Genista Davidson.  Genista is also the Chairman of the Art Deco Society U.K.

This is an invaluable location guide for any art deco traveller in the United Kingdom and for all lovers of 1920s and 30s nostalgia and all that that entails: the opulence and decadence of the legendary Jazz Age era. In this edition you will find us alongside De La Warr Pavilion, the Assembly Hall in Worthing, Saltdean Lido and Pells Pool in Lewis. Plus Stoke Abbot Court Worthing, Embassy Court, Shoreham Airport and Marine Court in St Leonards-on-Sea. Readers might be interested to read Genista’s blog post here on Shoreham Airport and other local Art Deco hot spots!

Onslow Court was always an important piece of architecture on the south coast, it lost its polish and allure in the 70s 80s and the 90s, but now thanks to the new climate of interest in this era and the intensive restoration program which has spanned the last 8 years, starting in 2012 with the replacement of the communal boiler, we are starting to see confirmation that Onslow Court is being noticed and recorded once more.

The ‘Art Deco Traveller Guide’ is available to buy in all good bookshops.


STOP PRESS>>>> There is another book coming out soon on Onslow Court written by the daughter of the developer/builder of our building. This new book will feature other Worthing buildings that her family built in the 30s and we wait in anticipation for publication day. We will tell you about it here first!


The Restoration Man – Channel 4 TV

This may interest residents who have new Heritage Windows……

From the blog pages of Heritage Windows:- “In a great way to kick off 2017, not only do we have George Clarke back on our screens with the return of his hit TV show, Restoration Man on Channel 4 – but in the very first episode Heritage Windows featured heavily.

“The building featured wonderful curved top windows, but the steel frames installed in the 1930’s were badly damaged and could only house single pane glazing which by today’s standards just isn’t secure or warm enough for a modern home. The couple contacted Heritage searching for a like for like replacement which would keep in tone with the building’s industrial look whilst providing security and warmth that the family required.”

Read the whole article here


Art Deco in Worthing

In late 2002 Worthing Borough Council Executive Member for Planning and Economic Development, Councillor Chris Sargent, appointed Saville Jones Architects to undertake a study of Worthing. The purpose was to record buildings of interest within the Borough, excluding those that were statutorily ‘Listed’ so that people interested in the town might be encouraged to appreciate some of the buildings of note and interest.

The objective was not to create a list of buildings to be preserved, but a catalogue of structures for public record.

The research shows what a rich architectural heritage Worthing has. Particularly taht of the Art Deco period – A period of art and architecture that is undergoing a resurgence of interest.

The built environment has to reflect changing lifestyles and patterns of living and not everything can be preserved. However, many buildings, including some that have been catalogued, have been spoilt by insensitive alterations and extensions. especially in the use of uPVC porches and windows. Future development in the town should now reflect a quality and integrity of design of their period, just as the buildings within this study were of theirs.

Onslow Court

This building is a good example of International style architecture, comprising a four-storey apartment block that sweeps around this prominent corner site.
The building is flat-roofed with an architectural composition of alternating solid render panels with steel framed glazing. Decorative relief features within the render have been subtly detailed within the elevation. The large corner windows project on the ground, first and second floors to take advantage of the sea views. The original lettering has been retained and the facades have been carefully maintained.


Streamlined Moderne Art Deco

Modernism in its most general sense is a term that applies to all modern architecture of the twentieth century. A number of ‘modern’ styles emerged in the 1920s and 1930s in Europe, and spread to Britain. The term Art Deco is widely used as a ‘catch-all’ for all Modernist buildings, but it is important to make a distinction. Onslow Court is classified as Art Deco.

You really get a sense of the space when you stand on the flat roof of the building. This was and still is ambitious architecture. This different boomerang shaped building with its balconies and huge windows must have looked astonishing compared to the Edwardian and Victorian brick houses of the day.

The general feeling amongst the trail blazing architects of the 20’s and 30’s was that new homes should be uncluttered, functional and light open spaces and made of modern materials. They thought they were creating utopian settings where residents would be able to lead far more enlightened lives.

Flats like Onslow Court attracted the middle-class intelligentsia eager to try out modern living and all that entailed. It is true the flats at Onslow Court do have certain grandeur; even the smaller flats have fabulous proportions.

Front Entrance hall Onslow CourtThe ground floor main cornered flat has a column situated in the sitting room which is clearly a structural column; this is a feature that occurs in modern deco buildings and we see it again in the hallways of Onslow Court. When a structural support was required prior to this movement the normal solution was to place this in a wall; the new open spaces craved by the Moderne architects made columns like this into features in order to open up the spaces.

This sort of architecture was actually a very early equivalent of buying a lifestyle off the shelf. As with many other moderne and art deco apartments what they said to people was move in here, have a minimalist life and bring as little with you as possible, this was a whole new movement that revolutionised the modern life and took away all that Edwardian and Victorian clutter. Clearly, it was not a time of owning many clothes, the cedar-lined wardrobes found in each bedroom has as much space as a single wardrobe of today, but with ample storage space for hat boxes. Onslow Court was originally marketed as rental apartments that were fully furnished. Hot water and heating was free and electric was charged at 3/4d a unit, recharged by the Landlord.

Onslow Court flats and others like it broke down the notion of closed houses. The huge panoramic windows that run the length of the rooms create a transparency to the entire living space. Some flats with sunrooms allow an almost 180 degree panorama across the English Channel; this was seen at the time to be the next best thing to being right outside. The overall effect is very elegant, this was a time when space was celebrated without distracting ornamentation and it was all about proportion and elegance.