Conference centre in iconic art deco building

Call us now on 07967 623 455 or Book Online


Training, media & conference
facilities in the heart of one
of the UK's most iconic buildings

The Engine Room

The Engine Room is a unique training and events space in the iconic Marine Court on the seafront in St Leonards-on-Sea. Our diverse programme has been designed to support your personal and professional development by delivering high quality business and executive training alongside broader cultural and thought provoking events. This combination offers the opportunity to enhance your performance in and out of the workplace as well as giving you the opportunity to invest time in exploring wider themes for your own enjoyment.

About the Marine Court

If you have ever been to Hastings you will have noticed the impressive art deco building on the seafront that reminds you of a cruise liner. This is entirely intentional. The buildings designers, Kenneth Dalgleish and Roger K Pullen, were heavily influenced by the Cunard White-Star Line Queen Mary. The imposing building used the pioneering steel frame construction that was also used in the other local iconic building, the De La Warr Pavillion in Behill on Sea.

The east end of Marine Court is shaped to imitate the curved, stacked bridge front of the Queen Mary; the eastern restaurant served to imitate the fo'c'sle deck of the ship. The south elevation is vertical, with balconies imitating the promenade deck aboard the Queen Mary. The upper stories of Marine Court are stepped-in from those beneath, like the superstructure of a ship, those beneath like the immense hull of a liner.

The foundation stone was laid by Robert Holland-Martin, Chairman of Southern Railway in 1936 and it was completed in 1938. At this time it was the tallest block of flats in the UK, comprising of over 150 flats and 3 restaurants. The building was, however, damaged by bombing during the Second World War but was restored shortly afterwards. During the 1960's the ballroom was turned into The Witch Doctor nightclub. Many famous bands played here including The Who, Dave Dee, Dozy, Beaky, Mick and Tich and David Bowie. The seafront position has meant that the building has been vulnerable to the elements and the shop fronts on the ground floor have had their external finishing altered. This neglect has begun to turn around and, along with the residents taking over the lease for the residential sections, this has heralded a new era for this much loved building.

Belles Lettres

The festival will be taking a break in 2017 but should be back in 2018.

Belles Lettres was designed
as a creative exploration of
stories, however they
are told. 

Click here for full details

Open Studios

Open Studios @ The Engine Room is a gathering local artists as part of the Coastal Currents Open Studio Programme.

Click here for full details

Evening Hire

The size and shape of the main auditorium means that it is a very flexible space for training courses, meetings and events.

Media Studio

Fully equipped media studio for hire

The Engine Room Media Studio is a dedicated photographic and video studio available for hire.
It is a clean white space with plenty of room for your equipment and team.

Find out more