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End of Project: party and legacy

End of Project Party
22nd September 2015: We held an End of Project Party last Tuesday, generously hosted by the Sussex Archaeological Society’s Marlipins Museum in Shoreham. As our exhibition is currently up at Marlipins it was the ideal venue for a wrap party.

We were joined by our volunteers, supporting partners, such as Jason Lee from Worthing College and Justin Russell from Archaeology South-East, private and family collectors and many more of the great people who have helped make this project a success.

Emma O'Connor, Sussex Archaeological Society's Museum Officer and Chairman Carson Albury, delivering thank you speeches.
Emma O’Connor, Sussex Archaeological Society’s Museum Officer and Chairman Carson Albury, delivering thank you speeches.

Carson Albury, Chairman of Adur and Michael Donin, Mayor of Worthing kindly joined us and delivered excellent speeches.

Worthing Mayor Michael Donin and Chairman of Adur Carson Albury holding up our latest find, a 1918 pick head found on Slonk Hil.
Worthing Mayor Michael Donin and Chairman of Adur Carson Albury holding up our latest find, a 1918 pick head found on Slonk Hil, presented by Worthing Museum, Curator Hamish MacGillivray.

And Caroline George from the Heritage Lottery Fund also popped in to see how we had got on.

Caroline George (left) from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Gail Mackintosh, Project Coordinator.
Caroline George (left) from the Heritage Lottery Fund and Gail Mackintosh, Project Coordinator.

It was a great event thanks to the volunteers and staff at Marlipins Museum and gave us the opportunity to thank everyone involved.

Archaeologist Justin Russell (middle) talks to local landowners, Christina and Rob Keith.
Archaeologist Justin Russell (middle) talks to local landowners, Christina and Rob Keith.


The project is now at a close but we have left some important legacies for the future.

The exhibition will remain up in Marlipins Museum, Shoreham, until 3rd October. The display panels will then be used as part of our ongoing schools education programme at Worthing Museum http://www.worthingmuseum.co.uk/education/ .

As for all our research it is now accessible to all though our new website:


Please do spread the word!

We have created a final publication – a ‘Behind the Scenes’ Booklet showing all our work along the way. Copies of the booklet will be available at Worthing Museum, Marlipins Museum and around the local libraries.

The many objects loaned  to the project will be returned to their owners but Marlipins Museum would be happy to take in any more collections relating to the Army Camp in the future.

So, it is goodbye for now, we hope you’ve enjoyed it as much as we have.



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.


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.


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. 


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


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!

Metal-detecting and mini excavation reveal clues about Shoreham Camp

28th March: Garden Investigation
With the generous permission of one of our volunteers we ventured once again into exploring what evidence, if any, of the Camp remains beneath the houses and hills of Shoreham.

Justin Russell from Archaeology South-East and Luke Barber from the Sussex Archaeological Society provided some training for our older volunteers in the techniques of metal-detecting and excavating a small test pit in our volunteer’s garden.

Luke Barber and Justin Russell  testing the metal detectors
Luke Barber (left) and Justin Russell (right) testing the metal detectors.

Justin used 1916 and modern maps along-side aerial photographs to match up  where the garden lay in relation to the where the Camp used to be. This revealed 4 barrack blocks crossing the area; one was now under a modern road, another under the conservatory, one lay across the centre of the lawn and the fourth lay at the very bottom edge of the garden.

We marked out where one barrack block would have crossed the lawn with string. Luke then taught the volunteers the basics of using a metal detector. Given the restricted size and disturbed nature of the ground we treated the whole area as our sample and with respect for the lawn we only searched for non-ferrous material (non-iron) like brass.

Volunteer extracting object found with metal detector.
Volunteer extracting object found with metal detector.

At the bottom of the garden we excavated a small section of the deep-beds. Our hope was to locate a path or drainage associated with the barrack block at the bottom of the garden. However, whilst we discovered plenty of construction materials such as nails and glass we did not find any features.

excavation 1 excavation 2

Despite the horrendous weather the volunteers soldiered on and we would like to thank them for their hard work and Justin and Luke for their expertise and support.

excavation in rain

May: The Results are in
We have just recently received a full report, kindly produced by Justin Russell, on the objects we uncovered back in March.

In addition to more modern discoveries and even some World War Two materials, a number of the objects were identified as likely from the First World War Camp. These included construction materials such as nails and glass along-side items from everyday life like ceramic crockery and part of a fountain pen. There was even an eyelet from a ground sheet which may well have come from the early tents at the Camp.

Ground-sheet eyelet., March 2015. Courtesy of Justin Russell, Archaeology South-East.
Ground-sheet eyelet., March 2015.
Courtesy of Justin Russell, Archaeology South-East.

Our volunteer whose garden we explored found a very interesting object in the weeks after our excavation; a .303 bullet. Justin explains the bullet shows no signs of having been fired and its unusual, diameter, blunt tip and lack of  cannelure

(the groove around the cylinder of the bullet, to secure it in the cartridge) suggest it was a training/drill round probably of late First World War date.

Comparison of .303 bullets. Left: long tracer bullet, Centre: training/drill round found in garden, Right: regular .303 bullet. Courtesy of Justin Russell Archaeology South-East.

Comparison of .303 bullets. Left: long tracer bullet, Centre: training/drill round found in garden, Right: regular .303 bullet.
Courtesy of Justin Russell Archaeology South-East.

Investigating the war horses of Shoreham Army Camp

On 26th January we took a trip to the Lightbox, Woking to discover the hidden story of a WW1 horse shoe.

Back in Autumn 2014 a local landowner offered their field up on the downs above Shoreham to the project for a metal detecting search. Students from Worthing College, under the supervision of Archaeology South-East and Sussex Past archaeologists, found WW1 ammunition, nails and buttons. The grandson of the landowner found an old horse shoe.

Farrier Peter Ibbitson, who had already provided expert advice on the Lightbox’s exhibition ‘The Horse at War: 1914 – 1918′, met us at the gallery to look at our finds. And soon the story of the Shoreham Camp horse shoe  was revealed:

Historical images from Worthing Museum include:
Metal toy gun carriage with 5 horses made by W.Britains c1914.
Oil painting of a farm scene by unknown artist, c1880s.
Detail of British Army farrier on roadside in France from ‘War Illustrated’ magazine 12 Dec 1914.
Postcard of 60 pounder gun c1915.

Edited by exhibitions curator Hamish MacGillivray as part of occasional scrapbook style slideshow series about some of the stories from Worthing Museum.

Thanks to Worthing Museum volunteers for photographs and the Lightbox gallery and museum for their advice.

Hunting for photographs at Marlipins Museum

17th Dec 2014: At the end of last year a group of our older volunteers took a day trip to the Marlipins Museum in Shoreham.

The purpose of the trip was to search through the photograph collections held at the museum that feature Shoreham.


Image courtesy of the Shoreham Herald

The Museum tells the story of Shoreham’s maritime and local history from prehistoric to medieval times. It became a museum shortly after the war in 1923. Find out more about the Museum and its history here: http://sussexpast.co.uk/properties-to-discover/marlipins-museum 

At the Museum our volunteers looked through dozens of folders picking out the pictures that featured Shoreham Army Camp in WW1. They also looked further for ones that showed the soldiers in the town and interacting with the locals.


Image courtesy of the Shoreham Herald

The collections gave us insights into the camp, its soldiers and their daily activities which we will reveal in our exhibition coming to Worthing Museum on the 25th of April 2015. It will stay in the Museum for four weeks then move to Worthing College.The exhibition will also be visiting Marlipins Museum itself in September 2015.

Many thanks to Emma O’Connor, Museum Officer, and the Sussex Archaeological Society for sharing their collections with us.

Researching Edmund Goodchild

6th-7th December:

On Friday 5th December Project Coordinator Gail Mackintosh and a volunteer photographer set off for Bury St Edmunds for the weekend. The aim of the trip was to photograph material to illustrate the life of Edmund Goodchild.ned-1

The above photograph of Edmund Goodchild and further information, including typed up versions of Edmund and his brothers’ letters, are provided by http://goodchilds.org/, courtesy of Henry Finch a nephew of the brothers.

Edmund Goodchild (Ned) and two of his three brothers volunteered for Kitchener’s New Army in 1914. They all wrote hundreds of letters about their time in the Suffolk Regiment both in training and on the Front Line to their mother in Suffolk. Ned was the oldest brother and was sent to Shoreham Army Camp along with younger brother Arthur in September 1914 to be trained. His letters detail his experiences in the camp and offer invaluable insights for our project.

We visited the Suffolk Record Office at Bury St Edmunds to see the original letters and connect with the personal touches – for example when he scribbled ‘Don’t worry yourself, mother’ in the corner of a letter.

Thank you to the Record Office for helping us with our research.


Our volunteer photographer taking pictures of the original letters at Suffolk Record Office.

Thanks to the Suffolk Regiment Museum (www.suffolkregimentmuseum.co.uk) we were also able to handle and photograph some of Ned’s personal effects.

P1000376    IMG_8234

Volunteer photographer taking pictures at the Suffolk Regiment Museum of Ned’s personal effects.

Ned sadly did not make it back home from the front line dying in action on 19th December 99 years ago. His personal effects were sent home to his mother and his family gave them to the Regiment Museum. Included were his medals, a flask and a cigarette case.

We will be featuring more about Ned and his brothers in our exhibition next year.

P1000378  P1000391

A peek inside Suffolk Regiment Museum

Many thanks in particular to Gwyn Thomas (Suffolk Regiment Museum Curator) and the Suffolk Regiment Museum volunteers who made out trip enjoyable and passed on helpful insights about Ned and the history of the Suffolk Regiment. Thank you also to Henry Finch for giving us permission to reproduce images and excerpts from the letters.


Research at the Keep part two

Tuesday 17th November:

This time 5 of our older volunteers got their turn in visiting the new archive at the Keep, Falmer – the site of the East Sussex Record Office and the University of Sussex Special Collections as well as other local history collections.

Whilst our volunteers, and the project coordinator, have all visited archives before there is always something new to learn.

Keep 1. (1)

Keep 2. (7)

Conservator Melissa Williams took us through a guide to paper handling and the principles of conservation for books, photographic prints and photographic plates. For example only using non-ferrous metals (most commonly brass) for paper clips and staples as they don’t degrade.

We followed this by some relaxing map cleaning. Melissa showed us how and why the materials used to clean the maps had changed over time from drafting powder to modern Mars Staedler rubber erasers.

Keep 5 (7)

One of the most exciting events of the day was when Archivist Elizabeth Hughes took us behind the scenes to see where the documents, materials, books, etc. were quarantined then finally deposited in the archive.

The quarantine – a week in a blast freezer at -35 degrees C – kills off any moths or pests that could damage the rest of the collection.

We finished up with a look through the same coroner’s reports the students viewed on September 24th. The older volunteers brought new perspectives to our understanding of these  from their personal experiences and research – e.g. a medical perspective and knowledge of the camp layout.

Keep 6 (6)

Thank you very much to Elizabeth Hughes and Melissa Williams for a thoroughly interesting day at the Keep. Four of our volunteers have even signed up for readers cards in order to visit the archive in their own time for their own research.


Students and volunteers put their heads together

Wednesday 5th November :

On Wednesday morning the Worthing College Creative Media Production students visited us at Worthing Museum. We were also joined by four of our older volunteers who joined the project in October as researchers.

The purpose of the day was to introduce WWI items from Worthing Museum’s stores and brainstorm storm ideas for next year.

Gail introduced a selection of posters and postcards from the museum stores that provide context and reveal stories about life outside the camp.

1a. Posters (1)

For example the regular concerts in Worthing performed by Canadians and British regiments many of whom were stationed at Shoreham Camp. The postcards offered images of men at the army camp, satirical cartoons and a few personal messages.

Hamish brought out a delightful collection of toy soldiers made during the war and an original Sussex Regiment uniform. There was also a trench periscope used to peer over the top of a trench out into no man’s land and a training round for use on the rifle ranges.

4a.Military horses (1)





The toys included a bell tent. The first recruits who stayed in Shoreham stayed in these type of tents until huts were constructed.

3a.Toy soldiers (1)

The students and volunteers had plenty to discuss and were soon putting their heads together. The students focussed on their chosen film topics and our older volunteers offered their advice and insight as experienced researchers.

5a.Vols and students (1)

7a. Student & vol (1)

We are looking forward to see how the films are shaping up in the New Year. The final films will feature next year in our project exhibition and on a new website. So keep your eyes peeled for upcoming event dates early next year.