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Heritage Open Day

BEXHILL Museum has played a significant local part in the Heritage Open Days project in which 4,500 buildings nationally were opened to the public.

 

Museum curator Julian Porter gave a fascinating powerpoint presentation in the council chamber to 30 people who responded to the Heritage Open Days invitation to see the Town Hall last Thursday.

 

He had been introduced by Derek Stevens, clerk to the town’s Charter Trustees. The Trustees are custodians of the plate and regalia of the former Bexhill Borough Council and elect the Town Mayor.

 

Robes from the borough era from 1902 to 1974 were on display in the chamber. Town Mayor Cllr Frances Winterborn explained their symbolism to the visitors.

 

Museum volunteer researcher Paul Wright has created five free leaflets. One gives a potted history of Bexhill. The others detail four suggested Bexhill ?Heritage Trail? walks, revealing items of historical interest.

 

Paul had examples of the leaflets on display. The free leaflets may be obtained from the Egerton Road museum.

 

Julian Porter outlined Bexhill’s history from the grant by King Offa of Mercia in AD772 for the building of St Peter’s Church.

 

The museum curator charted the development of local government from the 1834 Battle Board of Guardians, through the 1884 Bexhill Local Board and 1894 Bexhill Urban District Council to the opening of the Town Hall in 1895 and the granting of Bexhill’s Charter of Incorporation as a borough in 1902.

 

He told how Lieutenant Colonel Henry Lane came to be known as the ?father of local government? in the town. The Lane memorial still stands in Town Hall Square.

Interwoven with the local government story was the development of Bexhill as a seaside resort by the 7th and 8th Earls De La Warr and the building by the borough of the De La Warr Pavilion.

 

Visitors were later able to see the former borough plate on display. Some rarely-seen  items had been taken from the Rother District Council strongroom for the occasion.


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