Weald & Downland Blog


“It is very satisfying to swing your scythe smoothly through a good stand of grass and then to look back at your work and see a neatly mown area.” Vic, museum volunteer. The Museum team is keen to promote historic skills and crafts, and we regularly demonstrate those that would have been carried out by... (read more)

50 years ago… 1968 was a busy year for the Museum

In 1968 the Museum was not yet open to the public but its collection was building rapidly By the end of 1968 the Museum had been formally established as a charitable trust. Edward James’ generous offer of the site on West Dean Estate on a peppercorn rent of £1 had been accepted and outline planning... (read more)

An Anniversary-Packed 2018!

2018 sees many anniversaries at the Museum – from the arrival of our first exhibit building in 1968 to the establishment of our endowment fund. 1968 (50 years ago): Arrival of first building on site – the timbers of Winkhurst farm (later revealed to be a Tudor kitchen) Sites & Buildings Committee established to agree... (read more)

Learn a new skill: Timber framing from scratch workshops

If you like discovering how timber frame buildings were made you will love our timber framing from scratch workshops, as they take you from the raw timber to the “reared-up” carcass of a structure.             Learning from the past is at the heart of the Museum’s course programme. In terms... (read more)

May Day Farm Barn Update: January 2018

Report by Joe Thompson, Museum Carpenter-in-Residence. Reconstruction of our new exhibit, May Day Farm barn, is underway and the carcass of the barn has now been successfully raised with the structural timbers in place.  Originally built in the late 18th to early 19th centuries this three bay threshing barn (span 16’ and length 34’) with... (read more)

Land Settlement Association House: dismantling complete

The Museum is working on a project which will tell a unique story about our local history in the 20th century, enabling us to increase our focus on the rural heritage of the last 100 years. The building at the heart of the project is a house on one of the Land Settlement Association’s (LSA)... (read more)

Land Settlement Association house safely stored at Museum

About The Land Settlement Association The Land Settlement Association (LSA) was a Government supported initiative of 1934, the height of the depression, established to provide rural smallholdings in England and Wales for the unemployed from industrialised cities. The programmes were for 5- to 10-acre smallholdings throughout England and Wales for horticulture and livestock, particularly pigs.... (read more)

Saving a Land Settlement Association House

The Museum has begun work on a project which will enable us to tell a unique story about our local history in the 20th century, increasing our focus on the rural heritage of the last 100 years. The building at the heart of our new project is a house on one of the Land Settlement... (read more)

Swedish Open Air Museum colleagues visit Singleton

Colleagues from Sweden’s open air museums spent five days at the Weald & Downland Living Museum, job-shadowing and sharing expertise. Here, Ulla Fåhraeus of Sweden’s Vallby Friluftsmuseum, speaks of her experience during her visit. “We visited the Weald & Downland Living Museum for five fantastic days, to learn about our colleagues’ work on site, with building... (read more)

Global Master Thatchers Gather at our Granary

On Tuesday 19 September 2017 our Littlehampton granary became the centre of attention for a huge group of thatchers – around 90 in total – from around the world. They were attending an international conference, organised by the National Society of Master Thatchers, here at the Museum. Delegates from Germany, Holland, Japan, Sweden, South Africa... (read more)