Bognor Regis historians prepare for permanent museum

David Jennings and Kay Fall at the new museum premises
David Jennings and Kay Fall at the new museum premises

Local historians in Bognor Regis are looking forward to the future.

The volunteers are preparing the town’s first permanent museum for its opening.

At least six of the local history society members have been busy for most days of the past fortnight in the former pub which will become the home of the past.

Their efforts are focused on April 2, when the ceremony to declare the new museum open will take place. Sandra Daniells, the town mayor of Bognor Regis, and Arun District Council’s chairman, Dudley Wensley, are among those invited to the 12.30pm occasion.

Museum curator David Jennings said: “The new museum will give us the chance to put items on show which have been held in our storeroom for years.

“There is a lot of material there which even I have not seen. The extra space we’re going to have will allow us to rotate our displays much more easily.

“It will also allow those items we did have on display to be seen in a different perspective so that they can be noticed more.”

The museum has resulted from an extraordinarily generous donation by Bognor resident Jenny Jones.

She bought the former Berkeley Arms on West Street for £270,000 and donated the building to the society.

That deal was completed in December, 2009, after it had been closed for about seven months. Conversion work has since been carried out.

It has provided the local history society with modern surroundings with about five times the amount of space it had for exhibits in its former High Street museum.

The new building has a ground floor of 288 square metres.

They will be filled by plenty of new and old displays of words and photographs about fascinating aspects of Bognor’s past. They will be arranged around the bar which has been left in recognition of the building’s previous use.

The museum will retain its usual opening days of Tuesday-Sunday, plus bank holiday Mondays.