Doris opens Bognor Regis museum

Doris Dibley opening Bognor Museum with David Jennings, curator. C120461-1
Doris Dibley opening Bognor Museum with David Jennings, curator. C120461-1

A RELATIVE of the most famous life-saver Bognor Regis has known has re-opened the town’s museum.

Doris Dibley was the special guest as the improved visitor attraction came to life again in West Street.

Mrs Dibley is the great great grand-daughter of Mary Wheatland.

The 94-year-old Bognor resident said: “I’m privileged to be asked to open the museum this year.

“I do remember Mary Wheatland as I was nine years old when she died. She had an old cottage in Ivy Lane.

“She was a tough old bird and stubborn like all the Wheatlands. But she could swim like a fish.

“I remember she had beach huts along the seafront opposite York Road.”

Members of the town’s local history society hope the museum’s second year in its current building will prove more successful than the first.

Visitor numbers were about 6,500 – compared to the usual 12,000 – after the switch from the High Street.

Museum curator David Jennings said promised improved signage should alert more people to the museum.

Those who go along can enjoy the biggest display of Bognor’s past in decades thanks to the town’s local history society.

“We have gone back to how the museum was in our old building,” he said, “but with four times the floor space.

“That means displays can be spread out instead of being cluttered and on top of each other.”

That approach has seen a re-appearance of the mock early 20th century shop fronts packed with artefacts.