Delve into '˜Sompting Old' at new exhibition this weekend

The villages of Lancing and Sompting have a rich and varied past and some interesting characters have resided there over the years.

There will be lots of old pictures like this one at the exhibition this weekend
There will be lots of old pictures like this one at the exhibition this weekend

Did you know that Anna Sewell, authoress of Black Beauty, lived at Fircroft, Manor Road, or that Lord Alfred Douglas, Oscar Wilde’s “Bosie”, lived at Monk’s Farm House towards the end of his life?

Sir Henry Cooper and his identical twin George were evacuated from London to Lancing and Thomas Henry King of The Trebor Company (remember Refreshers, Black Jacks, Extra Strong Mints?) lived in Trebor Cottage in Cokeham Lane for some 20 years.

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These are just a few of the famous poets, artists, historians, adventurers, cartoonists, inventors and authors who have stayed or lived in and around the two coastal villages.

The road to Church Farm

It is this rich history that often remains hidden under the areas many developments that Lancing & Sompting Pastfinders has been delving into and uncovering for the past 21 years.

The local history group was formed back in 1996 when locals Philip Fry, Mike Prince and Bob Brown decided to start the group which has since then gone from strength to strength.

Over the years more than a thousand historic images have been digitised thanks to a Heritage Lottery Fund award, and memorabilia has been collected, all of which will be part of the new ‘Sompting Old’ exhibition this Saturday and Sunday, July 1 and 2, at The Harriet Johnson Community Centre, in Loose Lane Sompting.

At the exhibition this year you will find :

Hermitage Cottages

• Many new images and school class photos for naming.

• Lancing & Sompting Pastfinders local history displays.

• Second World War display with bombs and sirens.

• Local history books by local authors.

The road to Church Farm

• Local history corner.

• Pastfinders’ booklets detailing the history of the villages.

• The Friends of Sompting Church.

• Family tree research advice.

Hermitage Cottages

• Worthing Archaeological Society display and information.

• Sussex Traditions display and information.

• Did your ancestor work for a local grower?

Entrance is free and refreshments will be available.

More activities outside in the grounds of the centre.

The group is keen to continue expanding their collections and is always grateful for the loan of photographs, old deeds or ephemera for scanning.

All items will be returned to their owners.

A varied monthly programme is run by Lancing & Sompting Pastfinders on the first Tuesday evening of each month, including visits and walks to places of interest.

Visit for up-to-date information and many articles of historical interest.

The exhibition is part of the Sompting Festival taking place on Sompting Recreation Ground on the Friday, Saturday and Sunday where more activities will be going on including an adult football tournament, a Medieval re-enactment, a barn dance, a hog roast, a dog show, an Irish band, a Status Quo tribute band plus many other events.

‘Sompting Old’ is open from 10am to 4.30pm on Saturday and 10am to 4pm on Sunday.