Sidlesham Heritage Project
January 2013 – Ongoing
The Sidlesham Heritage Project explores and exhibits important local history, with a particular focus on the Parish’s Land Settlement Association (LSA) established in 1935. Research is consistently undertaken and shared through films, exhibitions, guided trails, presentations and a newsletter.
To celebrate and commemorate the contribution which the Land Settlement Association has made to both local and national social history.
In the late 1930s, 20 Land Settlement Associations were set up across England to give unemployed miners and shipbuilders from the north-east of England and South Wales, the opportunity to begin new lives as market gardeners. The largest LSA was established in Sidlesham, where 120 smallholdings were developed.
The lasting impact of the settlers and their contribution to the parish were not widely known, prompting the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group (MWHG) to create the Sidlesham Heritage Project. A successful application to the National Lottery Heritage Fund enabled the project to begin documenting the development of the Sidlesham LSA and its effects on the local community.
This project is led by Dr Bill Martin, who researches and produces exhibits, guides, films, and presentations, to celebrate the history of the Sidlesham LSA. The profile of the project is also maintained through local museums and a designated website, to bring the story to a wider audience.
Over the course of this project, Bill has been able to connect with and interview 30 relatives of the first tenants who came to Sidlesham in 1936. These conversations have brought the LSA story to life and first-hand accounts are featured throughout the project’s publications.
Materials and presentations are always evolving and updated regularly. Ongoing research has extended to other LSA’s at Crofton in Cumbria, Foxash in Essex, and Snaith in Yorkshire. An LSA Newsletter has a circulation of more than 250 people.
'El-Es-Ay' House on the Heritage Trail
In 2015, the Sidlesham Heritage Trail website was created to host information on the history of the Sidlesham LSA. The website includes photos of the tenants, a map of the key homes and locations, and stories about the settlers’ experiences.
A corresponding Sidlesham Heritage Trail booklet was also released in 2015. Walkers can follow the two-hour route through 15 key LSA locations, while reading personal accounts associated with each stopping point.
Click the image to open the Trail PDF.
An exhibition of the story of the Sidlesham LSA was displayed at the Novium Museum in Chichester, from 2015 to 2018. With the support of the museum, a film ‘A Life From The Land’, was commissioned to showcase archive footage and newly recorded interviews with the children of the first LSA settlers. The 25-minute film is available to watch, below.
An exhibition was staged at the Weald and Downland Living Museum for a month in September 2018, following the relocation of a LSA manager’s house to the open-air museum, in 2017. The house was dismantled by volunteers and museum staff, as it was due to be demolished to make way for a new house on the site. The house is currently in storage at the museum, awaiting funding to be rebuilt - then the LSA story will have a permanent home.
LSA Manager's House
Dismantling of the LSA Manager's House
Sidlesham Heritage Centre
A Sidlesham Heritage Centre was established in December 2020, at Lockgate Road (PO20 7QQ), to display information about the LSA project, as well as other heritage features in the village. The Centre will be updated with new displays, regularly.
Sidlesham Heritage Centre
PARTNERSHIPS & FUNDING
Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group (MWHG)
Funded by your donations, distributed through MWHG.
National Lottery Heritage Fund
Provided funding for the website and heritage trail leaflet.
Supported the production of the ‘A Life From The Land’ film and hosted an exhibition in 2015.
Weald and Downland Living Museum
Hosted exhibitions in 2015, 2016 and 2017. Organised the careful dismantling and storage of the LSA house.