Exhibition and archive project for 2014, opening Saturday 1 March 2014.
Local people will uncover the part played by Bexhill residents in the First World War, thanks to a £35,500 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF).
Bexhill Museum will be running the project that will be completed in time to mark the centenary of the start of the War in August next year. The museum, which was itself opened in 1914, holds a rich collection of artifacts and material relating to the conflict, but not all of the records, letters, diaries and documents have been studied in depth, until now.
There is also a full set of local newspapers from the war years and a film of soldiers on parade in the town in 1917. Details to be researched include the names recorded on local war memorials and how local servicemen, nurses, families and businesses made their contribution to the war effort.
The exhibition includes the history of Cooden Camp where the ?Lowther’s Lambs’, or the Southdown Battalions of the Royal Sussex Regiment, were raised by Lt-Col Claude Lowther in 1914. This military training camp went on to be used by Australian, South African and Canadian troops. The Camp’s military hospital and the other VAD hospitals meant that wounded soldiers were a common sight in town. Bexhill-on-Sea also became home to hundreds of Belgian refugees who had escaped the war zone, and Bexhill Remembers will explore what life was like in the resort during the Great War.
Local community groups and schools will be invited to get involved with the project that aims to create an exhibition display, an online database of archived information and a learning programme. The exhibition will be accompanied by a programme of events throughout the year for children and adults.
For the Heritage Lottery Fund, Stuart McLeod, Head of HLF South East England, said: ?This project will help the community, and particularly its young people, to learn about this conflict by finding out how it had an impact on their town and on the lives of local people including those sent to fight as well as the families that stayed behind.?
For Bexhill Museum the Project Manager Rachel Heminway-Hurst said: ?We are delighted to have been awarded this grant, this provides us with the opportunity to research our rich archive collections and to uncover important stories that would not otherwise have been told. Our exhibition, education programme and accessible database will provide our visitors and residents with opportunities to access these stories in new, innovative and exciting ways?.