Unlocking Eastbourne’s lost memories at new exhibition

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A brand new Heritage Eastbourne exhibition opens on March 19 at The Pavilion, unlocking extraordinary memories from the past and revealing lost pieces of time spanning more than 2,000 years.

The Eastbourne Remembers exhibition uncovers the memory triggers of nostalgic childhoods, heirlooms and commemoration of loved ones, exploring how we create memories – both true and false, and how we choose to remember, or in some cases, even forget.

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Running until November 4, the free exhibition includes a never before seen Roman tombstone, the unearthing of a medieval cooking pot abandoned at a time when Eastbourne’s population nearly halved, and a variety of retro toys, badges and memorabilia.

From the Second World War orphaned Czech refugee who only revealed her moving story at the end of her life, to the last ever letter from a World War One soldier in the trenches, many fascinating stories are revealed, while a unique brass striking clock, carved in ancient Eastbourne Elm, ticks away the sands of time.

Eastbourne council’s tourism boss Margaret Bannister said, “We have many different ways of remembering our past, and this thought-provoking exhibition explores our heirlooms, remembrance of loved ones, and offers a fun glimpse into nostalgic pop culture and changing technologies.

“Just as interesting though, is our desire to forget, which we discovered to our surprise when sifting through the many decades of discarded photo frames at the bottom of Motcombe Pond.

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“Some of these will be on display, along with an impressive set of Second World War medals from an Eastbourne war hero, rescued unbelievably from a skip in Inverness.”

From a beautiful 1940’s wedding dress to holiday diaries of the 1800s, today’s youth can also marvel at changing technology, from a typewriter and vinyl records to a giant 1980’s mobile phone.

In a year which sees the centenary of Armistice, the exhibition includes a Tower of London poppy and touches on both world wars.

Stories range from the final entry in the log book of Orville Wulff, co-pilot of the doomed USAAF Ruth-Less liberator bomber, which crashed into Eastbourne’s downland in 1944, to a touching wooden memorial to those who died in combat, made up entirely of workers from the Eastbourne Gazette and Herald.

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Eastbourne Remembers SUS-180313-164854001

Demonstrating the twist of false memory, a rare Napoleonic commemoration medal will be on display, celebrating the invasion of Britain that never happened. The medal was bizarrely made 15 years after Napoleon’s defeat.

Throughout 2018, Heritage Eastbourne will be working with local schools at the exhibition, to tell some of the town’s fascinating history, while the ‘Your Memories’ project enables those with memory loss to experience the exhibition, triggering memories and encouraging engagement and communication.

An additional project, ‘Recording Your Story’, will also see Heritage Eastbourne recording and collating stories of Eastbourne from residents and visitors for the Oral History Collection, as a resource for later exhibitions and future generations.

Eastbourne Remembers opens March 19 to November 4 at The Pavilion, daily from 10am to 5pm entry is free and includes a café.

For more information or to arrange a school/group tour visit www.heritageeastbourne.co.uk.