Museum’s big project nears its completion

Old School, Storrington

Old School, Storrington

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A village museum will be celebrating the completion of its most ambitious project in an exhibition later this year.

A small band of volunteers at Storrington and District Museum have been busy researching the ‘Old School’ building where the museum is housed today.

The ambitious project was made a reality when the museum was awarded £9,300 by the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) to explore the building’s fascinating past.

Project leader Stuart Duncan has announced that an exhibition with the volunteers’ fascinating findings will take place on November 2 and 3.

Mr Duncan said: “The award granted by the Heritage Lottery Fund through the hard work of Heather Epps and Shaaron Collet has gone towards the research of the Old School from 1868 to 1964 and the training of the volunteers.”

The funding has enhanced the skills of the volunteers to undertake the research, deliver talks and workshops so that they can engage with and inspire others to become involved in learning more about the community’s past.

Ex-pupils of the school, which closed its doors almost 50 years ago, dropped by the museum to talk about their memories.

Mr Duncan continued: “The walk across the meadow to the village hall for school dinners where Mrs Waller cooked for the children, the games children played, the friendships made and in many cases have continued to flourish, have all helped in building a picture of school and just as important our village life.

“Education is a common thread in all our lives and this project has proved a trigger of memories and an interest of our past.”

Ms Ella Hutt, a former infant school teacher, has produced photographs and names of the children of her classes from the 1950s.

The original plans of the building have also been discovered, as have been the amendments to the building during the 1930s.

“Part of our research included the Education Acts before and after 1880 when school attendance became compulsory.

“Admission registers of the pupils from 1868 to 1912, vital for those exploring their family history, have been sourced from the West Sussex County Record Office in Chichester, as have a whole host of other material including details on the many private schools that were once in the village.”

The Horsham Museum and Worthing Library, which hold a host of local history books and photographs on Sussex, have also pitched in.

“Through family history societies, interest and help has come from Canada and Australia which confirms our project has gone global.”

Storrington First School is also busy creating its own school project covering village and family life.

The museum plans to have local history days hosted at the Old School next year with talks of a school reunion.

Having experienced the enthusiasm of the team and ex-pupils with the project, the volunteers intend to put all their research and memories towards creating a book.

All the material and artefacts will be on show at the exhibition weekend in the Old School, Storrington, on November 2 and 3, 10am to 4pm.

If you were an ex-pupil, or have school pictures or would like to lend a hand and volunteer for the project, contact the museum on 01903 741106 or email storringtonmuseum@hotmail.co.uk