Bridge from old to new brings Uckfield to life

Cllr Ian Smith (Uckfield Town Mayor). unveiling the murals
Cllr Ian Smith (Uckfield Town Mayor). unveiling the murals

The grey builders’ hoarding around Bridge Cottage has a new look thanks to a range of murals created by artistic pupils from eight local schools.

Inspired by Sussex artist John Piper to create landscapes to a theme ‘a walk through time,’ each school has generated panels that reflect their school in a local setting using logos, old photographs and local objects.

To link with the 2015 Uckfield Festival, a border has been placed around some of the boards to recognise Charleston’s Art centenary.

Claire Summons, from Uckfield Community Technology College, organised a teachers’ art workshop to co-ordinate ideas but it was the children themselves who have created each unique image.

In some schools every pupil contributed in some way to their mural so that almost 1,000 pupils were made aware of their heritage, this historic building and its links with the community.

Eight schools created murals helped by an art workshop facilitated by Claire and her arts awards students from UCTC while the whole project was organised by Natalie Katona, the schools project co-ordinator.

The eight schools involved were Rocks Park; Manor; St Philips; Framfield; Blackboys; Fletching; and Bonners primary schools and Skippers Hill Manor Preparatory School.

Today Bridge Cottage is shrouded in a scaffolding cocoon while restoration work is carried out. However it will emerge later in the year as a facility offering a wide range of heritage events including those that support local schools.

Uckfield Mayor Cllr Ian Smith performed the unveiling ceremony and congratulated schools on their magnificent achievements. The murals are the latest event in a programme to make people aware of Bridge Cottage during its restoration to a community building.

The next date in the information programme for the entire restoration project is May 8 when Mick Harker will give an illustrated talk on what has happened since work started in September. Information from the Bridge Cottage website: or the High Street charity shop.

The Uckfield and District Preservation Society (UDPS) was founded in 1968 to encourage interest in the local history and environment of the parishes around Uckfield.

It is an independent charity and company limited by guarantee with membership for a small subscription.

More pictures on page 16