Museum History
(3704 Records)

 Date   Origin   Summary 
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012News from the Armstrong Library / Jo Minns reports that the library team has been very busy incorporating the rest of the Frank Gregory collection into the library catalogue. This job, which is nearly complete, has produced more offerings for the next Book Sale as well as for the library shelves. Bernadine Saunders has retired after more than 16 years as a library volunteer. Carol Brinson has joined the team.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012People / Dr Peter Brandon, the distinguished landscape historian and geographer, and great supporter of the Weald and Downland Open Air Museum, has died aged 84.
We were sad to hear in December 2011 of the death aged 67 of Victor Chinnery, who for more than 20 years has been a friend, supporter and expert consultant for the mudum.
Jan Elliott, a great stalwart of the museum's volunteer team has died aged 67.
Colonel John Hill, died recently aged 93. His principal contribution to the museum was as a member of the Tuesday Gang.
John Lanham, who died aged 94, was a volunteer for many years, working in ticket sales, and also assiting the museum's financial officer.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012The Landmark Trust / If the Weald and Downland Museum represents the very last chance of survival for historic buildings at risk, the Landmark Trust is the penultimate bulwark against their loss. Landmark was founded in the 106-s to prevent the irretrievable loss of Britain's historic buildings. However, the buildings Landmark takes on are given a new start not as exhibits but as living, breathing buildings, rescued, painstakingly restored and given new life and purpose as self-catering holiday lets, available to all. Today there are almost 200 Landmarks across England, Scotland and Wales, four in Italy and a few in France. Landmark's work is entirely complementary to that of the museum. At Singleton, visitors can study a unique collection of vernacular buildings; with Landmark, everyone can, for a time, actually live in such buildings.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Farming operations 2012 / The museum will again be growing arable crops in the fields to the west of the museum site, below the Pendean Farmhouse paddock. In partnership with Chris Tomkins, three acres of triticale (a tall hybrid of wheat and rye) will be grown. The variety, which was first bred in the late 19th century, is now used extensively for thatching throughout the country. In the same area it is hoped to grow a small area of potatoes, while the remaining acreage will be put down to grass for haymaking. The local variety of wheat, Chidham wheat, will continue to be grown on the field strips next to Bayleaf Farmhouse.
Hops grown in front of the Wealden farmhouse last autumn were successfully brewed into a "Harvest Ale" called "On the Hop" by Ballards Brewery at Rogate. A similar project is planned for this autumn.
The working horses continue to undertake a range of tasks around the site and the Southdown ewes were soon to lamb as the magazine went to press. The Tamworth pigs continue to attract m \\
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Repairs to West Dean's Lych Gate / Joe Thompson, the Museum's carpenter in residence, has recently worked on two interesting small projects. The first involved the dismantling of a late 18th century timber-framed shed in Ockley Surrey. This has been put into store until a decision is made over its future. Joe also carried out in-situ repairs to the lych gate of West Dean cemetery, which is in the care of West Dean Parish Council. The museum, and Joe himself, donated the oak used in the repair work, which will hopefully ensure the gate's survival for many more years.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Raising the Frame / Tindalls Cottage, an early 18th century husbandman's home from Ticehurst, East Sussex, will take its place among the museum's historic buildings on 22nd and 23rd September - the first timber-frame raising for some years. The cottage has been in store since 1974 and will be re-erected between Bayleaf Farmhouse and Poplar Cottage. The event will be led by Joe Thompson, the museum's carpenter-in-residence. Roger Champion, the museum's retired master carpenter, will be assisting.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012From the Vice-Chairman / At their meeting in November the museum trustees agreed a new mission statement for the museum as follows: "A centre of excellence for the enjoyment, learning and understanding of the built environment, landscape, rural life and communities of South East England and the South Downs". Suggestions as to how to fulfil this mission and contribute to the growing understanding of the importance of locality in rebuilding social cohesion, trust and responsibility. Do send an e-mail to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. with any suggestions.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Maintaining our Hedges / Hedges have always been an important part of the landscape of South-East England, throughout the period covered by our buildings. They were used to define boundaries, keep animals in or out and to provide resources for the farm. Landlords planted quickset hedges of hawthorn to divide commons and wastes during the period of the Enclosure Acts. Squatters marked out their plots with fast-growing elder. Wealden farmers left narrow strips of woodland at the edges of their fields to provide wood, timber, food and fodder. The hedgerows have been planted on the museum site as part of the landscape, providing barriers and settings for our historic buildings. In order to preserve their purposes these hedges would have been actively managed. Our hedges have been maintained over the years, sometimes demonstrating traditional techniques. In recent years sections of hedge have been laid as demonstrations at museum events and used as a teaching resource on our hedge-laying course. The aim is to \\
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Hangleton Cottage exhibition contributes to Archaeology Festival / The museum's contribution to the British Festival of Archaeology in July is a repeat of our successful exhibition last year on the medieval village of Hangleton, its excavation in the 1950s and the story of the reconstructed Hangleton cottage and its interpretation. This will take place on 23rd to 27th July and will include an exhibition in Crawley Hall with a display of original artefacts, a children's archaeological activity and demonstrations of medieval domestic life in the cottage itself.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Relocating our off-site artefacts / One of our off-site stores, a new industrial building, is located in part of what used to be Singleton railway station and an old section of railway cutting; the other, less used, is in an industrial warehouse in Charlton. West Dean Estate, our landlords at the railway cutting, require the site's return for their own use and therefore the Collections Team will be busy relocating items from this store at the Charlton property.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Recent Acquisitions / Pipe extruding machine came from Paulton's Park Brickworks, near Romsey, Hampshire, and made in the 1860s. This would have been used to produce two halves of a drainage pipe.
Milk bottles that were produced in the 1950s, with an image of Mickey Mouse imprinted on some of them. These were donated by Mrs Knibbs of Durrington, Worthing.
A number of pieces of wrought iron fire furniture were donated by Sarah Spicer of West Harting, Hampshire.
Head stocks and wheels have been kindly donated by St Mary and St Gabriel Church in South Harting. These are substantial baulks of timber to which the church bells were attached and the wheels (or half wheels), fitted to one end of the stock and were the mechanism by which the bell rope operated.
Miles Graye Bell. A suitable bell has been acquired to be hung on the Stoughton bell frame. It is of an age appropriate to the frame. The bell had been lying undisturbed at the foot of the bell tower in St Helen's Church, Ipswich. The bell is on loan on \\
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Gardening with the Lazy Housewife / Six period gardens have been created to show the flowers, fruits, herbs and vegetables that would have been grown to meet the needs of ordinary country people through the centuries. During the winter the gardening team have pruned the fruit trees in the orchard and gardens, replaced continuous hurdle fencing and traditional hedgelaying to provide stock-proof barriers. The team has also been working on the herbarium - a collection of plants from around the museum site that have been dried, mounted, labelled and classified systematically to provide a historic plant record. Planning and preparation work has also been carried out and a variety of seeds will be planted, appropriate to the period.
Along with the Interpretation team talks, walks, displays and demonstrations have been planned for the coming year. A Historic Gardens Week, from Saturday 23rd to Friday 29th June is also planned.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Historical fiction Short Story Competition and Historical Fiction Day / The short story competion is a new event for 2012. It is designed to encourage all those who are inspired, by the museum's buildings and rural life collection, to write. Entry forms are available from the museum website or the museum shop. Closing date for entries is 5 p.m. on Friday 22nd June 2012. Prize winners will be announced at the Historical Fiction Day on Sunday 5th August.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Look out for new textiles on your next visit / The museum's busy Needlework Group continues to meet monthly to carry out a variety of projects. These include: a set of Tudor napkins for the Bayleaf Farmhouse table; a new Tudor outfit so that, there should be at least one costumed interpreter in Winkhurst Tudor kitchen every day; a new quite for the cot in Whittaker's Cottage; a thick cotton mattress stuffed with feathers for the Beeding toll house; linen hand stitched to size and prepared for the window fittings in Poplar Cottage; the first set of bedding completed for Poplar Cottage; two new schoolmistresses' blouses for schools workshop leaders to wear. Many other projects are underway.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Downland Gridshell 10th anniversary celebrations / 2012 marks the 10th anniversary of the opening of the Downland Gridshell, the pioneering modern timber structure designed by Edward Cullinan and which has won numerous awards for its design and innovation. The gridshell was conceived as a centre for building conservation, but perhaps more importantly, it allowed the museum to demonstrate its interest in modern buildings alongside the traditional ones which form its central theme.
Events to be held during 10th anniversary include: Tuesday 12th June - Gridshell Confidential, "Tales of the Downs and beyond" evening talks series will focus on the Gridshell; Historical Fiction Short Story Competition and Historical Fiction Day - deadline for short story entries is Friday 22nd June. Prizewinners will be announced on Sunday 5th August in the Gridshell; Friday 21st September - annual building conservation conference Raising the Roof, 1,000 Years of Timber Roofing will celebrate the 10th anniversary of the buildi \\
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Interpretation/schools services / The Interpretation department's presentation on the Historic Clothing Project at the British Museum in october, and the article in the newsletter, continues to produce feedback. A presentation on the Victorian Clothing is also planned for the Horsham Embroiderers Guild, and an appearance at Who do you Think you Are? At Olympia, helped to publicise the museum on its stand at the event.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Dismantling the 19th century dairy / During September and October 2011 the early 19th century Eastwick Park Dairy was dismantled from its original site at Great Bookham, Surrey. The two brick-built, octagonal, buildings were in quite a de4relict state, with the larger structure having part of the roof and one wall missing and the roof timbers of both buildings in a generally poor condition. Joe Thompson, the carpenter-in-residence, will be responsible for the replication of the roof. He oversaw the removal and recording of the roof timbers during dismantling. The brickwork, which although initially appeared to be of a very high standard, revealed that the general quality of the bricks was quite poor. When lifting the stone flags on the floor in the larger building one displayed a double "V" (standing for Virgin of Virgins) ritual mark on the underside. Upon raising the floor in the scnading house nine of the 23 flags displayed similar marks underneath. On digging deeper a number of bones were uncovered, w \\
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Nurturing children's ionterest outside the classroom / Structured visits to the museum from schools provide children with an interesting focus on many subjects and a chance to get out of the classroom and explore things in a different way. The museum took part in the National Farmhouse Breakfast Week in January, and the Teachers' Preview Day gave teachers the opportunity visit the museum with their families. The children from Singleton and West Dean Schools took part in the Pancake Race on Shrove Tuesday.
The museum has been awarded a place on a Renaissance-funded Sustainable Learning Partnership together with several other local museums. The project is based on marketing learning for a sustainable future and it is hoped that more secondary schools will be attracted to visiting.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Farm Buildings feature in art exhibition this summer / Jonathan Newdick, whose studio is near Petworth, is to hold an exhibition of his work in the museum between 30th June and 12th July 2012. Over the last few years Jonathan has been drawing barns and other farm buildings on the Leconfield Estate. This resulted in an exhibition at Petworth House last year. His work now not only includes threatened farm buildings but other structures threatened by the passage of time or commercial development.
2012/3Magazine / Spring 2012Weavers, spinners and dyers gather at the museum for their biennial exhibition / The museum is to host the biennial exhibition of the Association of guilds of Weavers, Spinner and Dyers on 16th to 27th July, coinciding with the popular Rare Breeds show. Guild members will be on hand during the exhibition to answer visitors' questions, and many will be demonstrating spinning and weaving.
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