New exhibition introduces a four-year war project

Shops in Albion Street 100 years ago, all now demolished
Shops in Albion Street 100 years ago, all now demolished

GLIMPSES of life in Southwick before the outbreak of the first world war are included in a new exhibition at Manor Cottage Heritage Centre.

The Last Summer of Peace introduces a new ‘rolling exhibition’, Southwick’s Great War, which will open in August and cover events over the four-year period of the war, changing month by month, as things happened.

Southwick Society secretary Nigel Divers will be giving an illustrated talk at Southwick Community Centre on Monday at 7.30pm to support the exhibition.

He said Southwick was about a third of its present size, with only about 4,000 inhabitants, in 1914 and there were two distinct communities.

There was no development north of Old Shoreham Road and much of the town consisted of fields, farms and market gardens. The hamlet of Fishersgate was separated from Southwick by fields.

South of the railway was a dense area of terraced houses, shops, pubs, chapels and industry, nearly all long since demolished. Many of the people living here were workers on the harbour, seamen, industrial workers and shopkeepers.

North of the railway were farms and market gardens and many were employed in these manual industries.

There were some new roads, which tended to be occupied by professional people and skilled craftsmen.

The exhibition includes pictures of many of these areas and events and newspaper cuttings recall cricket matches and a campaign to deal with speeding cars – the speed limit was 10mph.

Mr Divers, who organised the exhibition, said: “The Great War happened to real people and it is important to remember them as individuals with lives of their own.

“In this way we can pay tribute to them and ensure that they and their sacrifices are always remembered.”

The Last Summer of Peace runs at Manor Cottage, in Southwick Street, Southwick, on Saturdays until August 16, from 10.30am to 12.30pm. Admission is free.