Nick Herbert visits local museum

Arundel & South Downs MP Nick Herbert paid a visit to Steyning Museum on Friday morning (11 January).


Mr Herbert was introduced to trustees and volunteers by the Museum Curator, Chris Tod.  He was given a tour of the museum and explored the new extension which opened to the public in June 2006.

Mr Herbert was shown around the museum galleries which hold a combination of permanent and temporary displays telling the story of Steyning, Bramber and Upper Beeding from pre-historic times to the present day. 

The MP came face to face with ‘Steyning Man' who is believed to have been buried around 1000 years ago near a field anciently known as ‘Heathen Burials'. 

The exhibits include a cobbler's bench, made of elm, which belonged to the Searle family of 32 High Street.  Also on display are items relating to Gert and Daisy (alias Elsie and Doris Waters) who lived near Steyning.  Elsie and Doris were radio and music hall stars in the 1920s, 1930s and 1940s.  They were sisters of the actor, Jack Warner, better known as Dixon of Dock Green.

Mr Herbert visited the store where objects and documents are boxed and shelved for their long-term preservation.  Some of the objects will be used in future exhibitions but they are also available for research by visitors to the museum.

The museum was founded in 1983 by the late Harry Ford and a portrait of him hangs in the museum.

Steyning Museum is independently run and admission is free.  It is open on Tuesday, Wednesday, Friday and Saturday (10.30 - 12.30, 2.30 - 4.30) and on Sunday (2.30 - 4.30).  It closes at 4pm between 1 October and 31 March.

The new extension was largely funded by an award from the Heritage Lottery Fund.  Other income for the project was generated by events and donations from numerous local organisations and individuals.  The fundraising effort included a ‘Buy a Brick' campaign which raised more than £8,500 from local residents.

The additional space created by the extension has boosted the museum's ability to mount exhibitions, cater for visits from school groups and store new arrivals of objects and artefacts.

The Friends of Steyning Museum raise money to meet the museum's running costs and organise talks, special events and coffee mornings.  Membership of the Friends costs £5 a year.

Curator Chris Tod said: "It is a nice coincidence that Nick Herbert, who represents the constituency which includes the South Downs, has chosen to visit Steyning Museum at a time when we have just launched an exhibition on ‘The Downs above Steyning'.

"Perhaps he will be able to persuade fellow residents in the constituency that a visit to the display of pictures, poetry and objects illustrating the qualities of the Downs will add a useful perspective to their understanding of the area."

Nick Herbert commented: "I really enjoyed the opportunity to have a look around the museum.  It's a fascinating treasure trove of local artefacts.

"I congratulate Chris and his team for their success in obtaining the funding needed to expand the museum.  They have created a valuable facility for local residents and visitors."

Mr Herbert added: "I was struck by the fact that the museum is run entirely by volunteers and opens throughout the year."

Mr Herbert signed the visitors book and was presented with a Steyning Museum mug as a memento of his visit.



Notes for Editors

1. For the website of Steyning Museum, visit

Alexander Black