Markets, fairs, talks, exhibitions and concerts – all these events, and more, are coming up at Bridge Cottage Heritage Centre this year.
The work of skilled artisans will feature in craft markets and a growing number of exhibitors are lining up to take part in antiques, collectors and vintage fairs, and in food markets featuring local produce.
The centre’s particular interest is in Uckfield’s heritage and one of the exhibitions this year will be part one of a series on the town’s changing High Street.
Volunteers led by Dr Maria Kirk, one of Bridge Cottage’s two education officers, are tracing back the use of buildings, way beyond living memory.
Heritage centre manager Liz Penton says people enjoy talking about shops they remember from childhood or from conversations with parents, but this research goes back further than that.
Efforts are being made to find to find out what happened to people who ran the early businesses. Might they have stayed in town … might there be relatives living today who have no idea that an ancestor once ran, say, a bakery.
Other exhibitions exploring local history include one marking the centenary of women’s suffrage and what happened in Sussex as women fought for the right to vote.
Wealden MP Nus Ghani is involved in that project which is being coordinated by education officer Nicola Stewart.
And in November the centenary of the end of World War 1 will be commemorated with an exhibition about The Fallen of Uckfield.
In and around these exhibitions will be an event during Book Week with children’s authors doing book readings, and associated children’s activities.
A book club will be launched and it is hoped Bridge Cottage will be able to take part in World Book Night with books given out to encourage reading – particularly among those who don’t read regularly.
Heritage centre manager Liz is also hoping to organise two art and photography exhibitions. Her ambition is to find creatives who have never before exhibited their work – perhaps because they haven’t had the self-confidence.
Help and advice will be available on choosing work to exhibit and how best to display it.
Talks coming up range from one about Sussex Gravestones and Graveyards to Talking Machines, a light-hearted look at the record industry and wind-up gramophones, and another about Sussex Agricultural History.
Tony Penrose, the son of Surrealist artist Roland Penrose and renowned American photo-journalist Lee Miller, will be talking about ‘Lee Miller, the mother I never knew’.
Uckfield Preservation Society member Diane Grainger will also be talking about her father’s life as a spy and engineer. He was an agent in the Special Operations Executive in World War 2 and later an engineer involved in bridge design and construction.
There’s much more going on at Bridge Cottage too, including a full educational programme for schools with 60-minute workshops, mainly focussing on the Medieval and Early Modern periods between 1400 and 1700.
Litte Acorns, for under 5s and their adult pals, meet to play and learn on Wednesdays once a month, and there are Uckfield Bygones and Memories coffee mornings, members coffee mornings and events organised during school holidays and half-terms.
Read more on the Bridge Cottage website.
Dates for your diary will be added to UckfieldEvents.com and Uckfield News will carry more information about individual events during the course of the year.
• Contact details for Bridge Cottage Heritage Centre can be found 24/7 in the Uckfield Directory. Look for the name or search in categories for Education, Function Rooms, Heritage, History, Meeting Venues, and Visitor Attractions.