This blog will explore some of the stories of Eastbourne, have a closer look at the objects in our collections and keep you up to date on what we’re up to!
To start us off, we present our mission statement:
leaves behind traces of their lives; a worn step, a scratched mark in a church
wall, a lost button, a forgotten letter.
these physical traces we recreate past lives and tell lost stories of the
people of Eastbourne.
making tangible links to real people, by walking the same ground, learning
through life enhancing experiences, challenging the way people think and
inspiring and stimulating debate, we explore what it means to be human in
Eastbourne in a different time.
We intend to engage with every school child, every visitor, every resident, using the human experience, in the day to day lives of people in Eastbourne through time. We aim to empower the public with the opportunities to do this within their local environment and also at our exhibitions, through outreach, events and project work.
matter who we are or how long we are lucky to be on this beautiful, flawed,
fascinating, cruel world, we will leave a mark.
feet will wear down our front door step, even just slightly, a millimetre at most,
but I have become part of the story of that threshold, maybe just another
passing shadow, but I and it are now linked.
the physical impact is just a fraction of that story. What about the countless
times I walked in to the house to the sounds of families and laughter, to
disputes and turmoil, mischief and mayhem and sometimes, to lonely silence. If
someone were to visit this spot after I have gone, my mark will be there, worn
on the fabric, but what of the other? All those emotions, actions, interactions,
relationships? My feet left a physical impact, but what made me an individual,
unique, thinking, feeling human being; can that ever be recovered? Can the
story of me really be told? Or is all I leave behind just the casual vandalism
of my feet on part of a structure that was built long before I was born and
will, in all likelihood be standing long after I am gone?
Obviously I hope that my impact on this world will be more than just a slightly more worn piece of liminal wood. In all likelihood, I will leave plenty more marks, digital traces, photos, letters, family memories, stories told to grandchildren, an obscure heirloom or two. But one day, let’s face it, the memory of me will fade to just an obscure footnote, perhaps a story recounted over a drink or two (“No-one can believe he really drank a dead man’s pint.”) changing over time until it no longer holds an ounce of my essence. Then, perhaps, all that will be left of me will be that physical mark, just a trace fossil of a life long forgotten.
that is too tragic. Whoever we are and whatever we do, we lived! Shout that
out! Be proud of it. So far as we know, out of the thirty billion or so planets
in our galaxy, there is only and will be only, one ‘you’. You really are pretty
what of the estimated 107 billion Homo sapiens that have lived on this pale
blue dot over the last 50000 years or so? They too, we can assume, were
pretty special, unique certainly with a story worth remembering and one
deserving to be told. One thing that connects them to you, or me, is that they
too left a mark. Somewhere, somehow, they interacted with the physical world
and affected it. Perhaps like me their clumsy size 11’s abraded layers of
molecules from the fabric of a building or maybe they lost one of their
possessions in a muddy field or roadside ditch? Or was this ghost ‘you’ making
their mark more deliberately, scratching a name on a stone wall or dropping a
painful memory, made tangible in a photograph, down between the gap in the
‘stuff’, these marks have for many, many years been recovered, recorded and
studied. But sometimes I fear, we see them just as they appear to be, physical
evidence of people from the past. Interactions of our ancestors with the world
around them, objects of identity, culture, love and death. We are not always
able, often due to time or financial constraints and the restrictions of
specialisms and professional interest to look beyond the physical and explore
the less tangible. We sometimes fear to go beyond the history and into the more
subtle and less recoverable world of the personal story. But that is exactly
what we are trying to do, albeit on a local and not a global scale. We are only
a small service after all.
you, we want to explore the everyday, the mundane, the stupid, the hilarious
and the terrible, in essence, that which makes us human. And our starting point
for all of this will be that mark carved in stone, that object in a ditch, that
discarded memory and perhaps even, that worn doorstep.
us on this journey, it won’t always be easy. Indeed sometimes we will reach a
dead end, that moment when the story drifts from memory and is lost, but
sometimes, just sometimes, we will find a connection that makes us realise just
how incredibly special we are and have always been.
thanks to Carl Sagan and Robert Macfarlane for inspiration and the occasional
Here at Heritage Eastbourne, we feel it’s important that our visitors have the opportunity to get to know the individual team members, what they do, and what they recommend. This is a great way to provide valuable insight behind the scenes at Heritage Eastbourne and also offers a glimpse at some of the things we do that you might not be aware of.