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College of the Holy Child, St. Leonards, E Sussex  

The earliest phase of building on this site on the cliffs above St Leonards dates from an attempt to form a convent in the 1840s, but it was taken over and enlarged when the Society of the Holy Child Jesus, newly founded by Cornelia Connelly, moved there. A complex of buildings developed at this former convent from the 1840s onwards, culminating in the grade ll* Chapel of St Michael built to the designs of Edward Welby Pugin.  

acta assessed the relationship between the college complex and present-day urban Hastings. An historical analysis of the site established its significance within the Catholic revival and the work of the Pugins, together with the relative importance of each building. Recommendations for conservation within an enabling development were made.

Private client

  1. The core of the original complex was a central courtyard with buildings on three sides and ground level arcades.  The open areas were exposed to the sea winds and were soon screened
  2. Behind the original block and Pugin’s chapel a complex of buildings of variable quality developed, filling in the original open setting
  3. Pugin’s chapel was built over a long period, as funds became available. There were many heated disputes about whether it should serve just the college or the wider Catholic population. This affected design and location
  4. The interior of the chapel retains its ornate appearance typical of the Pugins and the craftsmen who worked with them
  5. An early photograph showing the screened arcades. The sisters of the society were not nuns and were conventionally dressed