Category Archives: Events

Guided walks: stories, sunshine and surprise ants.

Friday 21st August: 

“Dear Mother, I feel strong and well, the army is making a man of me. I have learnt what rough life is, I shan’t know how to feel when I sleep in a bed again and have my meals off a table, after sleeping on the floor and having my blankets for a chair and my knees or the floor for a table. You would laugh to see us sitting round the tent, laughing and talking, all as happy as can be”.

17 year old Arthur Goodchild writing home to his mother from Shoreham Camp in October 1914 (Courtesy of Henry Finch, www.goodchilds.org).  

Arthur’s story was just one shared on our guided walks through Shoreham on Friday following the old paths of the Army Camp.

meeting-pointAt 11am and 2pm we set off led by Curator Hamish MacGillivray and Project Coordinator Gail Mackintosh from outside the Cafe in Buckingham Park. Our walk took us up through the park, along Downside and over the A27 onto Slonk Hill. This route travelled from where the South edge of the First World War Camp used to be up into the North East corner.

paths-of-the-camp

Along the way we stopped regularly to explore stories from the Camp illustrated by dramatic readings from Joanna Wilkins to bring the history to life.

dramatic-readingentertainments

We brought with us a detailed map of the Camp discovered in West Sussex Record Office by local researcher Brian Drury, a selection of images associated with Army Camp life and even a number of archaeological finds uncovered as part of the project.

inspecting-mapView the map on our new project website. 

archaeology2

On Slonk Hill visitors could view our mini-exhibition table and British Pathe Newsreel footage of the boxing in Camp.

horse-shoe

But the big attraction was the bell tent kindly donated for the day by Lancing 3rd and 5th Sea Scouts.

bell-tentinside-the-tentAlthough the ants’ nest we discovered after lying down inside was not so welcome . . . . Thankfully our patient visitors saw the funny side and declared it ‘added to the living history experience’.

Finally, thanks to the generous efforts of our hosts, Christina and Rob Keith and their family, there was shade and refreshments on hand for our walkers.

slonk-hill2We are very grateful to our volunteers Debbie and Nicola who supported us throughout the day, to Joanna Wilkins for her excellent readings, to the 3rd and 5th Lancing Sea Scouts for the loan of their tent, to the Cup Cake Cafe for helping promote our event and most importantly to Christina and Rob Keith and their family, not only for their efforts on the day but for allowing us access to their land and supporting us throughout this project – thank you!

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Shoreham Market Day

8th August: Curator Hamish MacGillivray, Project Coordinator Gail Mackintosh and volunteers Debbie and Nicola manned a pop-up exhibition at Shoreham Market – and what a lovely day it was.shoreham market 3

Our aim was to get the locals excited about the upcoming showing of our full exhibition at Marlipins Museum from the 2nd of September to the 3rd of October and for our walking tour on Friday 21st August.

shoreham market 1We brought with us some of our display panels showing our behind the scenes work and the local reaction to the Army Camp 100 years ago along with the British Pathe newsreel footage of a boxing match taking place in Camp. But what really drew people in were our maps showing the size of the Camp and where it is located on a modern map. It was really great the number of visitors who could point out which army hut would have been in their back garden.

Shoreham market curator 1shoreham market volunteer 1

Whilst we had plenty of stories to share we were delighted to also hear stories from locals who knew a bit about the Camp already or had family who had trained there. shoreham market 2

Many thanks to David Steadman who organised our space in the market, our dedicated volunteer researchers Nicola and Debbie, our volunteer photographer Janet and the many local people who made our Saturday very enjoyable. We hope to see plenty more on our walk on Friday and at the Marlipins Museum in September.

WW1 Archaeology Open Day

Saturday 18th July:

As part of the 25th anniversary of the Council for British Archaeology’s Festival of Archaeology we hosted an event at Worthing Museum to help visitors discover first-hand the objects and clues archaeologists use to find out about the First World War.

Our expert archaeologists Justin Russell from Archaeology South-East and Luke Barber from the Sussex Archaeological Society, who had provided training for project students and volunteers, were on hand to share their amazing collections. They brought objects from the British, German and French armies that they had collected and in some cases dug up on the Front Lines in France.

Highlights of the collections included:

Some scary shell fragments from the Front Lines,ww1 objects

A practice grenade like those used by Shoreham Army Camp recruits in training,grenade

A pocket camera carried by a soldier,Camera

And a Lee Enfield rifle that was issued to British soldiers,rifle

Also on display were objects uncovered as part of our two metal-detecting training sessions and one mini-excavation on the site of Shoreham Army Camp with Worthing College students and volunteers.nails

The day also featured the chance for our visitors to do some metal-detecting in a mini astro-turf field.metal-detecting

Many thanks to Luke Barber and Justin Russell for their time and sharing their amazing collections with us.

Trench Day with Shoreham Sea Scouts

Did you know that 100 years ago volunteer recruits for the British Army were learning how to build trenches on the Downs above Shoreham?  All that remains today are faint traces on the grass to show where hundreds of trenches were dug by the recruits stationed at Shoreham Army Camp.

Arthur Goodchild, a volunteer recruit wrote 100 years ago from the Camp on Slonk Hill, “It takes a long time to dig a trench here, for when we get down a foot we come to solid chalk, and we have to pick it up.” (Courtesy of Henry Finch, www.goodchilds.org)

On Sunday 5th July we worked with local Shoreham Sea Scouts and the Friends of Shoreham Fort to create a representation above ground of the walls of one of these training trenches.

Trench building plans, end elevation.
Trench building plans, end elevation.

Our trench building challenge was taken up by an intrepid ‘four person army’ – 3rd Shoreham Sea Scouts Aiden, Millie, Ruari and William who were supported by young leader James and Scout leaders Sandra and Colin.

Manning the wheelbarrow.
Manning the wheelbarrow.

We built up the walls of our trench representation with metal fencing and wooden pallets, created a floor with duckboards and filled at least 40 sandbags to top the walls and build up a firing step along the sides of the trench. We also created periscopes to spy over the top of the trench wall – all this in only 4 hours!

filling sandbags. 5.7.15Members of the public were constantly popping by to see what we were up to and the families of the Scouts came along to help out later in the afternoon. All of which was  a great way to raise awareness of our Heritage Lottery Funded project, ‘Training for War: Exploring Shoreham Army Camp 1914-1919’.

The Scouts learnt a bit about the trenches the recruits at Shoreham were building 100 years ago through maps, postcards and aerial photographs provided by Worthing Museum. Gary from The Friends of Shoreham Fort gave a great tour of Fort and treated the Scouts and their families to an unique handling session with some original WW1 materials.

 

Scouts defend their trench.
Scouts defend their trench.

The days activities will go towards the Scouts’ Local Knowledge Activity Badge where they have gotten involved in a project to preserve an aspect of Local Heritage – in this case knowledge of Shoreham’s First World War Army Camp.

The Scouts really enjoyed the day and worked very hard. The consensus was it would have been so much harder if they had had to dig the trench before they built up the walls and it would have been very scary trying to do it in the war.

on the firing step. 5.7.15

Many thanks to the the 3rd Shoreham Sea Scouts, their leaders Colin and Sandra Strong and the Friends of Shoreham Fort for their efforts on the day. Also thanks to SIG Roofing, Worthing who helped supply some of the equipment.