Work on the Steyning Museum Extension began on Monday, July 26, 2005. Our builders were quick and efficient. Their work was substantially done by October and by November we were able to begin installing the fittings for new displays and facilities. Our dream is finally coming true!

We chose late July to begin building work because our neighbour, Steyning Grammar School, had just started its summer holiday. The major part of the work was carried out during the school holiday so as to create minimum interruption to the normal life of the school.

The archaeologists dug a trial trench on the site of the extension, but little of importance was found. They came back, however, to maintain a watching brief while the contractors started the first building excavation. To everyone's amazement, a boundary ditch and some waste pits came to light. The archaeologists worked for four days and extracted many finds of pottery and animal bones. These are, at first sight, of a late Saxon to early Norman date.

The support of the local community has been wonderful. The Buy a Brick fundraising campaign and our special events attracted generous contributions towards the cost. This enabled us to prepare a Heritage Lottery Fund bid with confidence, to make up the difference.

It was back on 19th March that the Fund decided the fate our extension project. After months of preparation and nail biting, we became the relieved but exhausted winners of £107,500! The Fund agreed that we could have 69% of the total cost. We always knew that we had to provide part of the funding ourselves, as well as showing that the local community was behind the scheme. We have been able to achieve both. Viridor Waste Management granted us £25,000 under the government's tax relief scheme, and the Buy a Brick campaign exceeded all expectations in showing that the people of Steyning are wholly behind us. The total contributed stands at over £8,500.

Museum Extension Design

Our thanks are due to the small team behind the hours of work needed to prepare the Lottery bid. The Management Committee has been talking for years about the need for more space, but it was the arrival of Lawrie Smalley as our Chairman, that moved affairs from talk to action. He master-minded the project and brought in Peter Meanley and Tony Kitson. Together they carried the project through the early stages of design and planning approval. Peter spent many hours using his expertise to produce a design and specification for the extension, and Tony co-ordinated all the documentation needed to satisfy the requirements laid down by the Heritage Lottery Fund. He was also our contact man, building up a good relationship with the Lottery personnel.

The three of them, however, needed the knowledge of the Museum which only our Curator, Chris Tod could bring to the project. Chris spent many hours producing the numerous statistics and reports which were an essential part of the application. It was the thoroughness of work put in by this team of four which contributed so much to the good impression gained by the Lottery officials.

They posed many searching and thought-provoking questions before they were satisfied that a grant towards our project would be well spent. One of the major factors in our favour was the degree of local support that we could demonstrate. They were impressed that we have over 370 Museum Friends and that our Buy a Brick appeal collected an average of over £1 per head of the total population of the town.

There are still tasks for us to carry out to satisfy the Lottery. We need to organise focus groups in Steyning to tap into local feeling about how the Museum can be developed to serve the community. We were also advised to offer training to Museum personnel to enhance the education services we offer. We will keep you informed about both these developments.

Thanks to everyone who supported our
Buy a Brick Campaign

Bricks Graphic
You donated more than £8,500 towards a Museum extension.


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Page last updated
16th August 2021