Wicked Little Letters: Follow the libel trail with Littlehampton Museum and see where the real drama happened

Littlehampton is at the centre of the real-life story behind Olivia Colman's new film Wicked Little Letters, due to be released on Friday.

You can even read some of the libellous letters, if you open the little postbox that has been secured from the eyes of little ones.

To complete the story, pick up a copy of the trail map and see for yourself the key sites around Littlehampton that relate to the fascinating and bizarre series of events, involving libellous letters, false accusations and prison sentences in the 1920s.

Edith Swan, played by Olivia Colman, was the youngest of nine children. She lived with her parents, Edward and Mary Ann, and two brothers at 47 Western Road.

Rose Gooding, played by Jessie Buckley, moved in to 45 Western Road with her husband Bill and children Dorothy and William just before Christmas 1918. The rented property was at the end of a passageway, next door to the Swan family.

West Sussex Constabulary owned 49 Western Road and PC Albert Russell was living there with his wife Edith and six-year-old son in 1920. PC Russell was the subject of some of the letters and later occupants PC George May and his wife Violet also received some of the letters.

Groombridge School, which was at 57 Norfolk Road, is where Rose's sister Ruth Russell was employed to do housework. The Langfield sisters, who ran the school, were able to provide Ruth with a crucial alibi during the investigation.

The Marshalls ran a florist shop at 29 Norfolk Road and behind it was a flower garden, which extended to the back of the houses in Western Road. A disused shed at the end of the garden provided the perfect place for WPC Gladys Moss to carry out police observations.

The Hillyers was a hotel on the corner of Norfolk Road and South Terrace. Edith worked here during the war while painting and decorating for builder Snewin's and was paid £20 in compensation after claiming she fell down some steps.

Edith had also worked as a day domestic at 45 South Terrace, an apartment house run by Jane Gibbs, but she was dismissed after being suspected of theft.

Two of Edith's brothers worked as porters at The Beach Hotel, which was where Beach Crescent is now, and they both received defamatory postcards at work.

The Beach Post Office, at 6 Norfolk Road, was where the letters were posted and it became the target of a Post Office operation to identify the culprit.

The town magistrates used to meet every Monday at the Urban District Council offices, in Beach Road. It was here that Rose had her first hearing in September 1920 and, a year later, Edith had her first hearing.

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