“It all began with the discovery of a cheeky postcard, a Canadian big band poster and some rusty nails…”
Hamish MacGillivray, Curator of Arts Exhibitions, Worthing Museum & Art Gallery
In August 2014, 100 years after the outbreak of the First Word War, Worthing Museum began a project in collaboration with Worthing College called ‘Training for War: exploring the history of Shoreham Army Camp 1914-1919’. We wanted to bring together and discover new stories about life in this First World War Camp and raise awareness of its history in the community. With a generous £38,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) and the support of a range of local community organisations we have been able to discover some amazing stories.
Our investigation began by bringing together the information that was already out there: from local researchers such as Brian Drury, research websites like the Shoreham-by-sea history portal and Shoreham Fort, family historians like Henry Finch (www.goodchilds.org), and objects hidden in the stores at Worthing Museum.
We worked closely with the students of Worthing College’s Creative Media Production class providing a range of training opportunities that helped them discover more about the Camp. They explored local archives at the Keep, learned about archaeological investigation with experts and revealed insights into the daily life of soldiers through the filming of oral history interviews at Queen Alexandra Hospital Home. They put together films about their experiences which can be watched on our Student Films page.
Alongside the students a dedicated team of volunteers searched through hundreds of documents in museums, archives and libraries in West Sussex and beyond for stories from the Camp. They also undertook archaeological investigations on the site with the support of archaeological experts.
Their research has been used throughout our touring exhibition, ‘Training for War: Exploring Shoreham Army Camp 1914-1919’ which launched at Worthing Museum on 25th April 2015. The exhibition has since been to Worthing College, pieces of it popped up at community events over the summer and the exhibition ended in Marlipins Museum in Shoreham in 2nd September to 3rd October 2015. Alongside the exhibition we ran a series of events with the support of our volunteers and local partners like Archaeology South-East, the Sussex Archaeological Society and the Friends Shoreham Fort.
Find out more about all our events and the work that went into the project Behind the Scenes.
The legacy of our project will be in the interest we have encouraged in the local community, this website which is a starting point for researchers young and old, and through Worthing Museum’s schools education programme.
This project would not have been a success without the support of our partner Worthing College and its students, our excellent volunteers and a long list of supporting partners, private collectors, researchers and local families.