Fresh hopes for Eastbourne’s local museum

The Redoubt on Eastbourne seafront
The Redoubt on Eastbourne seafront

Exciting plans to create an entirely new museum and include Eastbourne’s history at the Redoubt are moving forward.

A recent consultation event organised by the Eastbourne Heritage Service saw almost 200 people give their views on what they want to see at the seafront landmark in the years ahead.

The plan’s development stage is being funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund with a view to making a further application in March next year for £1.2 million to actually see the plans to fruition.

The project, backed by the Arts Council and Historic England as well as by local schools and residents, is looking to completely refurbish the Redoubt, a unique Scheduled Ancient Monument, and create a totally new entrance with, for the first time ever, a lift to provide access for all.

At the same time the exhibits will be changed and the entire story of Eastbourne will be told from geological times to the present day and beyond using all of the collections in their care and providing the visitor with, what Heritage Service manager Jo Seaman described as “an immersive, emotional and thrilling experience”.

Results from consultation questionnaires carried out in 2014 showed that over 98.1 per cent of those consulted strongly agreed that local history and archaeology should be on show at the Redoubt.

Jo Seaman said themes would include ancient elephants and hippos grazing where shoppers now stroll down Terminus Road and the mysterious and enigmatic structures found at Shinewater likely to have been built by hundreds of workers around 3,000 years ago.

“Who these people were and why they built them are just one of the mysteries that the museum will try to explain,” said Jo, who said maritime and military history would also be included.

“Parts of the Redoubt will also be restored to C19th glory and visitors will be able to interact with objects and exhibits. What will be on show will be better presented and form part of major exhibits that would be seen, appreciated and understood by far more people than currently see them. Also a completely new store, research and discovery facility would be developed.”

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