In Victorian times, Britain was a manufacturing colossus, the workshop of the world. A new architecture was born, the architecture of the machine. Strength and space were the new priorities but the Victorians were, of course, never above a little ostentation. Often their industrial buildings were not merely practical places of profit but monuments to both Age and owner. 

The living room, that also incorporates the kitchen and a dining area, is truly vast, soaring up past huge white-painted beams to the pitched roof. On one side the walls are of bare brick and on the other of age-damaged render

The living room, that also incorporates the kitchen and a dining area, is truly vast, soaring up past huge white-painted beams to the pitched roof. On one side the walls are of bare brick and on the other of age-damaged render

The surface of the kitchen table is laden with fresh fruit, vegetables and bread from Trinity Wholefoods, just across the road from 14 Claremont

The surface of the kitchen table is laden with fresh fruit, vegetables and bread from Trinity Wholefoods, just across the road from 14 Claremont

An island that divides off the dining area is also kitted out with these unusual and very practical drawers

An island that divides off the dining area is also kitted out with these unusual and very practical drawers

Opposite the kitchen end of this space is a huge and superb mirror that has travelled somehow unscathed with Lorna and Bryan through all their previous homes

Opposite the kitchen end of this space is a huge and superb mirror that has travelled somehow unscathed with Lorna and Bryan through all their previous homes

The B&B guestrooms, the apartment, the studio, the office and the retail outlet are all now complete. “It has been a long haul but worth it,” says Lorna, and indeed it has – the couple now not only have a unique new home but Hastings has a range of much needed new amenities

The B&B guestrooms, the apartment, the studio, the office and the retail outlet are all now complete. “It has been a long haul but worth it,” says Lorna, and indeed it has – the couple now not only have a unique new home but Hastings has a range of much needed new amenities

The library gathers around an original brick fireplace, above which hangs an arts and crafts mirror. The windows look out over another wonderful roofscape and towards the sea. A tangle of staircases connects the apartment and B&B with the rest of the building...

The library gathers around an original brick fireplace, above which hangs an arts and crafts mirror. The windows look out over another wonderful roofscape and towards the sea. A tangle of staircases connects the apartment and B&B with the rest of the building

The cosy Gutenberg suite

The cosy Gutenberg suite

A chandelier adds a touch of glamour to a rather grand loo

A chandelier adds a touch of glamour to a rather grand loo

The airy Caxton suite

The airy Caxton suite

Centrepiece – literally – of the bathroom is a white free-standing bath, set off beautifully by the black painted floorboards...

Centrepiece – literally – of the bathroom is a white free-standing bath, set off beautifully by the black painted floorboards

It is in the, as yet, unconverted rooms that one has a sense of the immense strength of this building: the floors are of stone and the ceiling supported by massive steels

It is in the, as yet, unconverted rooms that one has a sense of the immense strength of this building: the floors are of stone and the ceiling supported by massive steels

A table tennis table, specially etched with son Ed’s company name, Dyke & Dean, stands in one corner

A table tennis table, specially etched with son Ed’s company name, Dyke & Dean, stands in one corner

The first hurdle was installing a lift. Unfortunately, the planners dug in their heels and in the end the couple lost patience and decided they’d go ahead without it. In its place the original stunning sweeping, turning staircase, lined with artworks, winds its way up the front of the building...

The first hurdle was installing a lift. Unfortunately, the planners dug in their heels and in the end the couple lost patience and decided they’d go ahead without it. In its place the original stunning sweeping, turning staircase, lined with artworks, winds its way up the front of the building

Lorna and Bryan’s son Ed’s homeware and interiors business, Dyke & Dean, occupies the street level of the building

Lorna and Bryan’s son Ed’s homeware and interiors business, Dyke & Dean, occupies the street level of the building

The painstakingly renovated exterior of the building

The painstakingly renovated exterior of the building

  • words:
  • pictures: David Merewether
  • styling: Lucy Fleming

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