All posts by Jason Lee

Secondary Research at The Keep

Students at the Keep searching WW1 coroner reportsjpeg

24th September 2014: Creative Media Production students visited The Keep, the site of the East Sussex Records Office and the University of Sussex Special Collection as well as other local history collections. The main aim of the visit was for students to learn how to handle delicate paper and photographic artefacts and to learn how to execute searches using the archive’s electronic database and physical facilities.




melissa and glass plate photosjpeg

Firstly, students learnt how handle paper and photographic documents and learnt about the specific issues involved in caring for and handling delicate artefacts. For instance- all of the older photographic and film based documents are stored at 12 degrees centigrade to prevent spontaneous explosion of the unstable silver nitrate used in pre 1933 film fabrication.demo cleaningjpeg

zoe and jorgejpeg

We we also introduced to the care of paper documents and all had a go at cleaning up old maps using drafting powder and erasers: very therapeutic work! Many thanks to conservators Mellisa Williams and Donna Edwards for sharing some of their expertise and knowledge.

students listening to Liz

After a short break , archivist Elizabeth Hughes showed the students how to complete online searches and how to access physical documents. the session ended with a tantalising look at some genuine documents from the Slonk Hill Camp, including coroner’s reports, police reports and eye witness statements and maps of the Buckingham Park area.

coroners report

Many thanks to everyone at the Keep and to Hamish McGillivray, curator at  Worthing Museum for organising the visit to the Keep and for helping out on the day.







Metal Detecting for First World War Clues

Robson excited by a find

17th September 2014: Creative Media Production students from Worthing College visit Happy Valley Farm near ‘Slonk Hill’, the site of the Army Camp during the Great War. Happy Valley was specifically the hutments for the artillery soldiers.




Justin Russell, from Archaeology south East was on hand with Luke Barber from the Sussex Archaeology Society to guide the students through the process of marking grids and sweeping the area with metal detectors. Justin and Luke are both experts in WWI related archeological study so it was very exciting to hear them speak about what we might find and identifying the metal that the students dug up!

Luke digging up a find...

During the morning students found clinker from the stoves of the huts, construction materials such as nails and a window latch, quite a few .202 shells from target practice (both contemporary and possibly some from the Great War) and metal hoops from the rucksacks the soldiers wore. Most exciting was a ‘drill round’, found by Luke, which was a blank round used for practicing loading a gun, and a great coat button which was later identified as coming from the South African Army!

Luke overseeing Jorge sweeping the area for artefacts.
Luke overseeing Jorge sweeping the area for artefacts.

Brian Drury was also there, using his GPS device to note the exact location of finds and to try to fix the exact locations of the huts as shown on the maps from 1914.

The morning was a great introduction to practical archaeology and a chance to experience the excitement of digging up artefacts from 100 years ago.

Many thanks to the generosity Happy Valley Farm for allowing our students to wander all over their land digging holes.

Justin, Luke, Hamish, Worthing college students and the family of Happy Valley Farm.
Justin, Luke, Hamish, Worthing college students and the family of Happy Valley Farm.






Shoreham Army Camp history project wins HLF support

Training for War

Did you know there was a huge First World War training camp at Shoreham-by-Sea? The team at Worthing Museum and Shoreham residents have been digging around looking for clues and thanks to a new £38,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF), Worthing College students and older volunteers will learn more and show their findings in 2015.

Jason Lee, Film Studies and Creative Media Production Teacher from Worthing College, says

“This Heritage Lottery Fund supported project is an exciting way of creating partnerships between Worthing College and museums and archives in Sussex and also creating links with our students and older volunteers. On a more personal level for the students it is a way to discover and appreciate the events of the First World War in a local and international context.”

The proposed plan is that students and volunteers will be trained in archive research, mapping and oral history and visit archives that contain more forgotten clues about the Shoreham Army Camp such as entertainment and mutiny.

In the autumn of 1914 over 20,000 recruits at first lived in tents then later wooden huts in the area surrounding Buckingham Park and Slonk Hill overlooking Shoreham. Life was very tough for the new recruits who came from all over Britain. By 1916 the British recruits were replaced by Canadian soldiers many who were recovering from trench warfare.

A touring exhibition and film of the findings will start at Worthing Museum in April 2015. Worthing Museum and Worthing College will be working with volunteers at Shoreham Fort, Royal Alexandra Hospital Home, Royal British Legion, Archaeology South East and local residents. Local councillors are excited by this project,

Worthing Councillor Mary Lermitte says

“Congratulations to the Worthing Museum staff for successfully bidding for the Heritage Lottery Fund grant. I did not know the Shoreham Army Camp existed until quite recently and I really look forward to knowing more about it.”

Adur Councillor Debbie Kennard says

“We have so much in the area that is part of the rich tapestry of Britain, and I for one never realised how much Shoreham and its neighbours had taken part in this forgotten story from the First World War. Working with strong partnerships will enable this project to be a success.”

Stuart McLeod, Head of the Heritage Lottery Fund South East says

“The impact of the First World War was far reaching, touching and shaping every corner of the UK and beyond. In this Centenary year we’re pleased to support groups like Worthing Museum who, through this project, will enable the local community to explore their wartime stories and help to build a lasting physical legacy for generations to come.”


About the Heritage Lottery Fund

Using money raised through the National Lottery, the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) aims to make a lasting difference for heritage, people and communities across the UK and help build a resilient heritage economy. From museums, parks and historic places to archaeology, natural environment and cultural traditions, we invest in every part of our diverse heritage. HLF has supported almost 36,000 projects with more than £6 bn across the UK.

End of press release

Information for press contacts

2 images also attached

For further information about the project please contact Hamish MacGillivray, Exhibitions Curator, Worthing Museum and Art Gallery   telephone 01903-221443

Notes to editors

For further information about Worthing Museum and Art Gallery and its exhibitions and events please telephone 01903-221448. Contact by email   Or see the Museum website