Sea court was designed in 1884 by Charles T Miles, the same architect who designed Westbourne Library and several other listed buildings.

 

The site was originally part of 'Eightholds', one of several long, narrow plots of land over looking the coast. These holdings were based on a pattern of land ownership dating from early medieval times. The ancient boundary of this land can still be traced in the present day line of Taunton Road. The narrow carriageway, the lack of pavement and the stone wall on the west side of Taunton Road, are remnants of a past rural character.

 

In 1875, the Eightholds land was bought by Sir John Charles Robinson, Art Advisor to the Victoria & Albert Museum and Queen Victoria's Surveyor of Pictures from 1882- 1901. In the late 1870's, Robinson began to develop the northern part of 'Eightholds', and the new roads (Cluny, St Vast's, Stafford, Exeter) were named after the original monastic and ecclesiastical owners of the land. Several large seaside villas were built but one of the most prominent buildings built was 'Sea Court' formally known as Penlu.

 

The existing buildings dates from the last quarter of the 19th century, and represents a period which saw rapid urbanisation prompted by the arrival of the Southern Railway in 1885.

 

One of the first tenants was G. W. Joy who came to Swanage with his family in 1896 and went on to spend his winters in Swanage painting the pictures for the following years’ exhibitions at the Royal Academy and in Paris. Many famous paintings were painted here using the Old Brewery Barn, the Rectory Tithe Barn and a garden studio.

 

 With the coming of the railway and the development of Swanage as a Victorian seaside holiday resort the need for accommodation meant that Sea Court became a ‘High Class Boarding Residence’. This was run by Miss Wiley through the 1920’s and 1930’s.

 

During the War years it was occupied by the RAF and in 1946 until 1952 it was used by Swanage Urban District Council to house local families.

 

In the 1950’s and 1960’s it was the private residence of Air Commodore Gareth Barrett.

 

To date the building has been recently refurbished and converted to a very high standard into three separate flats independently residing at each level and a further two basement flats occupying the ground floor. These works were completed towards the end of 2008.

 

Sea Court remains a wonderful example of an attractive, three storey Victorian villa, of late-19th century origin. The house has a strong late-Victorian flavour, with red brick walls and chimneys, The design involves Purbeck stone quoins, steeply pitched gabled roofs with deeply overhanging eaves. Sea Court still possesses considerable character and charm, being substantially unaltered from the original design. Many of the original attractive period features, including some of the fireplaces characteristics, the sash windows, the grand hall's stain glass window, an oriel window, ancient thick walls and most unusual a cupola as been conserved.  Furthermore Sea court is surrounded by beautiful communal gardens and boasting some of the best panoramic sea views of Swanage.

 
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