Historical detective work set for display

Shoreham Army Camp in autumn 1914. Picture: Sussex Past and Marlipins Museum Shoreham
Shoreham Army Camp in autumn 1914. Picture: Sussex Past and Marlipins Museum Shoreham
  • First World War stories from Shoreham Army Camp
  • Exhibition culmination of year-long project
  • Worthing Museum secured £38,000 Heritage Lottery grant
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AMAZING stories from the First World War will be shared in an exhibition at Worthing Museum.

The year-long Training For War project, exploring the history of the Shoreham Army Camp, culminates in a major exhibition that will then go on tour this summer.

More than 100,000 men came to Shoreham Army Camp on the South Downs between 1914 to 1919.

But after they left, all trace of them disappeared, even the sheds they lived in, known in the military as hutments.

Now, 100 years later, residents around the Buckingham Park area of Shoreham have been discovering remains of sewer pipes and battered long nails.

Worthing Museum secured a Heritage Lottery grant of £38,000, which has enabled Worthing College students and older volunteers to spend six months delving for clues, supported by curators from Worthing Museum.

We now have amazing stories to share about some of the individuals who came to Shoreham

Gail Mackintosh, project co-ordinator

The historical detective work has included successful metal detecting around Slonk Hill, trawling through local archives and asking local history experts.

Gail Mackintosh, project co-ordinator, said: “What we discovered was that by 1916, Shoreham Army Camp was not only for recruits but a convalescent depot for retraining injured soldiers and not only British troops but also Canadians and later South Africans.

“We now have amazing stories to share about some of the individuals who came to Shoreham, including the Goodchild farming brothers from Suffolk, the celebrity boxer Billy Wells, the Wromps concert group and Canadian artist A.Y. Jackson.”

The free exhibition at Worthing Museum and Art Gallery, from April 25 to May 23, will feature a military optical interactive and a chance to do some metal detecting in a mini artificial grass field.

Edited documentaries, made by creative media and production students, will be shown in a First World War style cinema hut.

Stories about the camp and behind-the-scenes research will be on unique trestle table panels. Objects on display will include a rusty horseshoe with a special story, period postcards, ceramics and toy soldiers.

The exhibition then travels to Worthing College from June 18 to 28 and Marlipins Museum, in High Street, Shoreham, from September 2 to October 3. Smaller pop- up versions will appear at Shoreham Farmers’ Market in August and other venues to be announced.