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About Bexhill Museum

bexhill_museum_small_imageBexhill Museum was opened in 1914. The Reverend J.C. Thompson FGS and Kate Marsden FRGS were instrumental in the setting up of the museum and the Reverend Thompson was Hon Curator until 1924. The museum was housed in the Egerton Park Shelter Hall, built in 1903. This had been a small entertainments pavilion for the use of visitors to the park. The Bexhill Corporation owned the building and leased it to the museum as well as proving a small grant.
 
Henry Sargent started work at Bexhill Museum in 1920 and remained in post until his death in 1983. The museum’s governing body, the Bexhill Museum Association, was founded in 1923.

The collections built up by Henry Sargent were largely in the fields of natural history, geology and archaeology. Mounted birds were extensively collected and came to dominate the early displays, alongside table cases of stone tools and local fossils. The display and storage conditions were far from ideal because the glass roofed hall suffered from extreme changes in temperature and high light levels, while the basement storage was liable to flood with seawater.   

Without sufficient support or funds and with no prospect of a replacement Henry Sargent stayed in post much longer than was desirable. When Sargent died in 1983 the Museum would have closed had it not been for a small group of volunteers from the Bexhill Museum Association, who kept the building open and persuaded the local District Council to continue to support the Museum.   

In 1986 Rother District Council appointed Stella Bellem as a professional curator for the district. Her main task was to begin to reverse the decades of neglect at Bexhill Museum. Improvements were made to the insulation and lighting of the galleries. The toilet blocks on either wing of the building were converted into the Temporary Exhibition space and an environmentally controlled storeroom.   

In 1990 Brenda Mason was appointed as Curator of Bexhill Museum, with additional responsibilities for the museums within Rother District. The Rother Museums Strategy of 1995 sought to ensure an equitable service for the six independent museums in the district. After a period of negotiation between the Bexhill Museum Association and Rother Council, a management agreement and a lease for the museum building were arranged. Julian Porter, the District Curator, was seconded to Bexhill Museum as Curator.  

The primary purpose of Bexhill Museum is to collect, conserve, display and interpret objects and associated information related to the history and natural environment of the surrounding area. This work is undertaken for the benefit of the public and, in particular, the residents of Bexhill and district, local schools/colleges and visitors to the 1066 Country area. The emphasis of Bexhill Museum’s activities is on education through displays and exhibitions in the gallery and by outreach work in the community.  

Bexhill Museum is an independent museum and a registered charity. It is run almost entirely by volunteers.
 
OUR MISSION STATEMENT
"To inspire people of all ages and promote learning and enjoyment among all Bexhill residents as well as visitors by encouraging discovery.” 

Bexhill Museum Ltd:
Is a registered company in England & Wales (no.4959445) limited by guarantee and is also a registered charity (no. 1102638). The company was formed in November 2003 when the two former museums in Bexhill amalgamated.

The company is run by up to eleven directors who are elected by the membership.

The directors currently serving are:

John Betts, chairman

Christine O' Grady, deputy chief executive officer

Peter Booth

John Dowling

Stuart Earl

Rachel Heminway-Hurst

David Hatherell

Dave Dickens-Smith

 

Brian Hyams

Operations and day to day management of the museum is carried out by a management team of four headed by an operations manager.

The museum has two paid employees: Don Phillips, company secretary, administrator and financial officer and Toni Neville, cleaner.

Julian Porter MA, curator employed by Rother District Council as District Curator

Collections Managers

Claire Eden, social history collections manager

Georgina Bradley, costume collections manager

Yvonne Cleland, archaeology collections manager

Mary Hart, documents and archives collections manager

Don Phillips, architecture and plans collections manager

David Hughes, maps collections manager

 

Cathy Pemberton, natural history collections manager. 

 

Our patron-Eddie Izzard

 

In 2007 Eddie Izzard became the Museum's patron. The Society was delighted when they found a patron that was well known and respected and who was interested in Bexhill’s heritage and concerned for its future development. Eddie is the most famous Bexhillian, and internationally well known for his acting and stand up comedy. Born in Aden in 1962, Eddie and his family moved to Bexhill later that year. For the next six years Eddie and his family spent much of their time moving between Bangor South Wales and Northern Ireland, finally returning to Bexhill in 1969. That year he started at St. Bedes School in Eastbourne and went on to attend Eastbourne College where he gained good O and A Levels. He went on to study at Sheffield University where he spent most of his first year organizing a show for the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. As a result he was excluded from his degree course, but remained involved with the Student Union, acting and producing plays and taking shows to the Fringe. Eddie’s big professional break came in 1991 from a charity performance in Hysteria 3. Since then he has had a series of successful stand up shows such as Glorious, Dress to Kill, Circle, and Sexy. He has also been in a number of feature films including All the Queen’s Men, Mystery Men, Cat’s Meow, Oceans Twelve and The Avengers.  
The museum is proud to have the endorsement of a celebrity who shares our enthusiasm for Bexhill’s history and wishes to involve the town’s younger generation. With our bold plans for the expansion of Bexhill Museum we wanted a patron who would embody what Bexhill could achieve and inspire young people to discover the town’s fascinating history and be part of its future.