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Plans to refurbish interior of Horsted Place Hotel
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Horsted Place Hotel which was built in the 1850s and became an hotel in the 1980s.

Plans have been submitted to redecorate the interior of Grade II listed Horsted Place Hotel near Uckfield, and provide a guest bar and new reception area.

The aim, in addition to refreshing the decor, is to widen the appeal of the hotel to include “a slightly younger clientele”, according to a heritage statement included with a planning application before Wealden Council.

Work ranges from cleaning the original Minton wall and hearth tiles in the entrance hall, to repainting original panelling and replacing wallpaper in the main gallery corridor, up the stair well and along the first floor hallway. A new patterned carpet would be fitted too.

A new reception area is proposed in the gallery to replace one in a small room off the main corridor which is not immediately visible when guests arrive.

The existing reception area would then be combined with a back office to create a guest bar. Currently drinks are ordered and served by staff from a small walk-in-cupboard off the main gallery.

Gothic revivalist architecture

Horsted Place dates back to 1851 and was built by Francis Barchard, whose family, originally yeomen from Yorkshire, prospered as dyers in London.

The property has since been described as one of the country’s finest examples of Victorian Gothic revivalist architecture.

The heritage statement, produced by Keystone Heritage, says it is widely accepted that the main staircase was designed by A.W.N. Pugin, one of the movement’s leading exponents, and a section of it was displayed at the Great Exhibition in Crystal Palace in 1851.

A glimpse of the Pugin staircase at Horsted Place Hotel. The balustrade could be stripped of white paint in the refurbishment to return it to reveal its original dark wood.

The original dark wood staircase was painted in the 1980s but  the latest proposals are to strip the balustrade of white paint and return it to the original dark wood, finished with natural wax or similar.

In 1965 the Barchard family sold Horsted Place to Lord Rupert Nevill – who used to live in Uckfield House, now demolished – and the house and grounds were remodelled.

The heritage statement says the Nevills were close friends of the Royal Family. Lord Nevill was treasurer to the Duke of Edinburgh and Queen Elizabeth was in the Girl Guides with Lady Rupert Neville.

Prince Charles

The royal couple visited the Nevills at Uckfield House and continued to visit them at Horsted Place. Prince Charles and Princess Anne were said to have played with the Nevill children in the grounds of Horsted Place.

Lady Rupert Nevill designed ‘The Queen’s Walk’ so that Elizabeth could walk to church “without encountering hordes or sightseers along the road”.

Lord Rupert Nevill died in 1982 and his widow decided to sell Horsted Place. It stood vacant for 18 months before being bought and converted for use as an hotel.


Work then included re-wiring, the installation of central heating and a renewal of the plumbing system.  Early plans and drawings of Horsted Place were used to ensure the character of the former country house was preserved.

The heritage statement says there will be no impact as a result of the proposed works on the historic value of Horsted Place.

“The building will still demonstrate 19th century country house development in East Sussex and the rise in wealth of the mercantile classes; all associations between individuals and the property will be unaffected and Horsted Place will continue to be closely associated with the 19th century Gothic Revival movement.”

Architectural value

The statement goes on to say there will be no tangible impact on the genuine architectural value of any original interior features.

It says: “Much of the building’s artistic, or aesthetic, value lies in its exterior, which will not be affected by this scheme.

“Changes to the inside will principally affect modern decor and will not tangibly alter the essential character of the interior, which will remain elegant and restrained.

Minor visual change

“There will be a minor visual change in the main staircase from the removal of white paint from the bannister, but this represents an enhancement as it will return this part of the stair to its original appearance, as designed by Pugin.”

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