It has been a glorious day, the sun shone on Worthing, Sussex and much family and local history was to be found at Field Place in Durrington.
There were only a small selection of stands at the Sussex Family History Society’s Family and Local History Day, but it has to be remembered that it was only a small local event. There were several groups and organisations which are not usually to be found at family history fairs along, with some more familiar faces (see the SFHG website for more details).
Despite the glorious weather outside it appeared to have been well attended and the car park was already full by the time I arrived (on foot) about 11am. Naturally I headed straight for the two postcards dealers in attendance, but only came away with two postcards, one of which was only bought because it brought a smile to my face and for that reason alone deserved to be in my collection.
I didn’t really have time to attend any of the talks or hang around to see the miniature stream engines because I had left my wife shopping in Worthing and couldn’t afford to leave her alone too long. Although I am a fine one to talk because as well as the two postcards I came away with four new data CDs from the Parish Register Transcription Society.
Around lunchtime I headed back to central Worthing to catch up with my wife and have something to eat. The promenade at Worthing was pretty busy with people out enjoying the sunshine, although there were not many people actually on the beach and I don’t think we saw a single person brave enough to set foot in the water. It may have been warm and sunny on dry land, but I bet the water was still pretty cold.
To make up for the lack of a family history fair at Worthing this year (see my post on last year’s fair) the Sussex Family History Group have organised a Family and Local History Day to take its place.
The event takes place on Sunday 17th April 2011 between 10.00am and 4.30pm at Field Place in Durrington on the outskirts of Worthing, West Sussex (see the map below). It is conveniently located five minutes walk from Durrington-on-Sea railway station, alternatively there is apparently free car parking and probably on one or two bus routes as well.
Entrance is free but there is a charge for tickets for the talks (£2 per talk), which brings us on to what is actually going on during the day. There are a selection of stalls from family history societies, local record offices and other related organisations as well as a few commercial stalls selling family history material and a couple of postcard dealers.
There are four talks listed on the website (although the first two are on at the same time in different parts of the venue):
- Worthing in the ’30s and ’40s with Chris Hare (11am to 12pm)
- Looking at Original Documents: Sources for Family History with Sue Millard of the West Sussex Record Office (11am to 12pm)
- Searching the Internet for Free with Alan Stoner (12:30pm to 1:30pm)
- Research Family History in the 21st Centurywith Martin Hayes and Jane Dore (2:30pm to 4pm)
As an added bonus and perhaps something to keep the non-genealogist amused the Worthing & District Society of Model Engineers will be offering train rides on their model railway in the grounds of Field Place.
All in all it sounds like it is going to be an excellent day and given the excellent weather we have been having it could be a great excuse to head for the seaside. I have been checking out the SFHG publications list in preparation for the day and think I could be spending quite a bit money on data CDs.
Sometimes the simple things in life are best. Like yesterday morning when my wife and I visited Worthing, West Sussex. We took the bus and it was busy, getting uncomfortably crowded and warm, so by the time we got to Lancing we had enough and decided to escape and continue the journey on foot. That was the best decision day.
It was only a couple of miles and for the first stretch of the walk the busy road was within sight and earshot, but we soon picked our way across the pebbles and down to the sandy beach, and we could easily have been miles away.
For a mile or so we almost had the beach to ourselves, only the occasional dog walker and a trio of fishermen hauling their boat ashore. The sun was shining and although it really isn’t that warm yet, for those few minutes the sun shone upon us and warmed our hearts. The promise of spring and summer was in the air.
All too soon our beach ran out, the incoming tide making it harder and harder to find a dry path. It was too cold to think of paddling so we reluctantly made our way back up the beach to civilisation.
After that the day never recovered, the crowds, the shops, the traffic and the cloud blocking out the sun. Our brief moment of pleasure gone, but leaving us with a taste of what we can look forward to.
The Pavilion Theatre, Worthing, West Sussex played host to the South Coast Family History Fair today. This is one of the smaller regional fairs that are held around the country.
There were the usual selection of exhibitors at the fair, a couple of national societies, several local societies (Sussex Family History Group, Hampshire Genealogical Society and West Surrey Family History Society) and the West Sussex Record Office.
There were several dealers of family history “stuff”, such as books, maps, accessories, CDs and software. There were also three postcards dealers as well, and I came away with four more postcards for my collection.
The attendance seemed down on last year, by virtue of the fact that it was not as crowded as last year, but I could be wrong. Looking at the photo above you might think that everyone was outside enjoying the sunshine, but despite appearances we have had some rain and there was quite a strong wind, so it wasn’t quite as nice as it looks.
There wasn’t really anything that I was after at the fair today, I really just went to have a look around and see if there was anything new on offer. I did feel that there was not really anything new there to make it worth my while. I think I will need to move outside my Sussex research “comfort zone” and head to the Kent Family History Fair on Sunday 6th June 2010 to get a greater benefit.
Last week I was a bit of a genealogical magpie, gathering all sorts of information from various places (mainly local libraries) and taking loads of photos. The problem is that I have taken all this “shiny” information back to my nest and not done anything with it.
This week I really need to get this information sorted out, transcribed and where necessary entered into my family tree. This week I am going to try not to gather any more information until I have sorted out all the new stuff that I have recently acquired.
- Sort out all the information I have gathered. Scan documents, transcribe my notes, update Family Historian and sort out the digital photos.
- Continue working through my digital files updating Family Historian and sorting out folders and standardising my filenames.
- Email East Sussex Record Office to find out which of the GEERING records I want to view are held onsite and which I need to order in.
- Attend the South Coast Family History Fair on Sunday 25th April 2010 at Worthing, West Sussex.
That should be enough for this week. I really need to get my notes sorted out, and will be happy if I can complete that this week.
Searching through the postcards at Haywards Heath last weekend I came across a postcard of Worthing Pier that reminded me that I had some postcards of the pier in my collection. As I was down at Worthing last week and showed you a photograph of the pier as it is now, I thought I would show you an earlier postcard of Worthing Pier from my collection.
Wrecked Worthing Pier
There picture really speaks for itself, the pier was partially destroyed in a storm on the night of the 22nd March 1913. According to the National Piers Society website Worthing Pier was re-opened a little over a year later on the 29th May 1914 by the Lord Mayor of London.
The news of the destruction of the pier was reported in The Times on Monday 24th March 1913:
Shortly before midnight on Saturday about 200 yards of the pier at Worthing was swept away. During the winter work has been in progress on the pier, the intention being to enlarge the shore end of the structure preliminary to the erection of an arcade leading into a shore-end pavilion. It was the swaying of a big crane used for lifting the ironwork into position that gave the assembled crowds on the front the first indication of danger. A few minutes later loud reports were heard above the noise of the gale, and three-fourths of the pier disappeared, isolating the pavilion and landing-stages at the far end. The electric arc lamps were extinguished by the severing of the supply, and the lamps on the parade and in the town were extinguished.
The pier was built in 1862 and represented a capital outlay of something like £17,000. Only the pavilion and the landing stages at the far end now remain, and the damage done is established at about £10,000.
At daylight the beach for a distance of nearly a mile was strewn with timber planking, iron seats, and other wreckage from the pier. The roadway along Worthing Parade and the adjacent streets were yesterday flooded to a depth of from one to two feet.
One of these days I am going to take a day off work and not get up the same time as I would if I was going to work. Still it gave me the opportunity to confuse the bus driver by going in the opposite direction to the way I would normally be going.
I know I was supposed to be heading to the East Sussex Record Office at Lewes, East Sussex, but I needed to do a couple of look ups in Worthing as well. So instead of jumping on a bus heading east out of Brighton, I jumped on one headed west.
Worthing Pier in the sunshine
Worthing Library was featured in the latest series of Who Do You Think You Are? and for good reason. In my opinion it has the best local studies collection of any of the West Sussex libraries and today it was more convenient (cheaper and quicker) for me than visiting the West Sussex Record Office at Chichester.
Not only did I find the two entries in the parish registers I was after, but I also came away with a copy of Wills and Other Probate Records by Karen Grannum and Nigel Taylor. This book published by The National Archives in 2004 had been withdrawn for sale for some reason (perhaps it has been republished since) and cost me just £2, a real bargain and something to read on the bus heading back to Brighton and Lewes.