A new photographic exhibition at Michelham Priory, Renovation and Repair, has brought in an unexpected donation in the shape of a 1920s fireman’s helmet.
The exhibition, currently on display in the picture gallery, explores the changes made to Michelham Priory in the 20th century, both before and after the major fire which destroyed much of the Tudor wing in December 1927.
Carol Cope from Middlesex saw details of the new exhibition on the internet and made the journey to see the pictures and to bring along a fireman’s helmet and medal that once belonged to her grandfather, Hedley Charles Gosden.
He was Hailsham’s Chief Fire Officer at the time of the Michelham fire in 1927 and was the ‘intrepid fireman’ who jumped in and broke the ice in the moat to get to the water, as mentioned in the local newspaper report the following morning.
Both his sons, Norman and Reginald, followed in his footsteps and became volunteer firemen for Hailsham Brigade in the 1930s.
Mrs Cope said, “Our family have always been very proud that my grandfather and his team helped to save this beautiful building.”
Marketing officer Jo Grocott said, “Michelham Priory has been somewhere that local people have visited, worked at and lived in for 800 years, and we love it when visitors tell us about their personal connections to the property.”
“The helmet makes a fantastic addition to the exhibition and we thank the family for their kind donation”.
For more information, call 01323 844224, e-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or visit th website at www.sussexpast.co.uk.