In 17 pictures: Sussex museum displays Winter Wartime Model Railway commissioned by Eddie Izzard

Modellers at Bexhill Museum have been adding to a beautifully authentic model railway layout that depicts the town covered in snow in 1940 at the start of the second world war.

Eddie grew up in the Sidley area of Bexhill. His father, Harold John Izzard, had built a train set of Bexhill which Eddie and his brother, Mark, worked on and played with. Eddie donated that train set to Bexhill Museum in 2016.

The donated layout inspired modelling enthusiasts to create a new layout that commemorates Harold Izzard and his time as an evacuee. When a young Harold returned home to Bexhill for Christmas in 1940, the heavy snow enabled him to enjoy an extra week with his family.

From the barbed wire anti-invasion entanglements guarding the sea front back to the distant viaduct which then carried the Bexhill West to Crowhurst branch line across the marsh, the layout compresses the maximum number of local landmarks into the available space.

The detailed model even features a military bunker at Galley Hill, where Spike Milligan was stationed during the war, and the Izzard’s family home with figurines of his family outside their house receiving Christmas presents.

Eddie Izzard’s aim was to fund the project and time its official opening for his father’s 90th birthday. Sadly, Harold did not live to see the project but Eddie was able to dedicate it to his memory

Modellers at Bexhill Museum have been working on the layout during an annual three week closure, to give it a revamp.

The Bexhill Old Town element was removed and replaced with a more accurate model of the buildings. Project Coordinator for the model railways Ken Bywater said: “The existing Old Town was done in a

bit of a rush to get the model finished. It was always the intention to go back and do a more accurate job.

“We started working on the new Old Town in the summer. Our team constructed the buildings and pieced them together in our workshop.”

The museum closes for the first three weeks of the year to enable exhibits to be swapped in and out and extra cleaning to be done. It re-opened on Tuesday 23 January.

Other buildings have been added in different parts of the model. Some track has been re-laid and electrical work completed by the team of Steve Chatfield, Colin Bennett, Stuart Pemberton and

David Aldred.

Volunteers have been working in other parts of the museum making sure the exhibits look their best. Some new items have been added to the social history collection including a “Dead Man’s Penny.”

These were plaques given to the families of soldiers killed in the First World War. The museum has been given one commemorating Lance-Corporal Ernest Elphick. You can find out his tragic story in

the Costume and Social History Gallery.

The museum, in Egerton Road, is open every day except Mondays from 11am to 4pm. There are four main galleries covering natural history, costume and social history, Bexhill’s motoring heritage and

the town in World War 2. Admission is £4 for adults, £3 for concessions and £2 for children over five years old. Under fives are