Fifty years ago our Museum began in earnest

Fifty years ago the inaugural meeting of the Committee for the Promotion of an Open Air Museum for the Weald and Downland was held at the University of Sussex. The 1966 event formalised the Museum’s foundation – last year we marked 50th anniversary of the birth of Roy Armstrong’s idea for a museum of the region’s vernacular architecture (see the spring 2015 edition of our Museum Magazine).

It originally began as a ‘museum of the Weald’, but by the time of the inauguration the adjacent ‘Downland’ had been incorporated. The committee took on all the groundwork that set the Museum in motion: finding a site, rescuing the first buildings, the initial publicity and fundraising, and setting up a business company acceptable to the Charity Commission. Read more about the early days of the Museum in Building History, published in 2010 to mark the 40th anniversary of our public opening. Copies are on sale in the Museum shop (01243 811020) at £4.95.

Pictured above is one of the earliest buildings to be re-erected at the Museum, the last 17th century treadwheel from Catherington, Hampshire.