New plans for Bognor Regis museum unveiled at town anniversary

The Bognor Regis Museum is set to grow later this year after an expansion project received the green light from the town’s Local History Society.

The museum is set to expand into a disused storage area at the back of its current premises on West Street.

Work is set to start in February and the new space will create an all-new exhibition area, where museum bosses will house an original Bognor bathing machine and other seaside holiday artefacts.

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Planning permission to convert the storage space was granted several years ago, the museum spokesperson explained and, since then, museum volunteers have been ‘gradually amassing funds from events, donations, bequests, grants from Bognor Regis and West Sussex Councils and also 106 monies from out of town retail developments’.

The work will cost £50,000 in total and the Bognor Regis Local History Society is asking for a further £5,000 in donations to help meet the final fit before opening its doors to residents and visitors alike.

Society president Greg Burt explained that the new space is much-needed and that the museum is overflowing with valuable artefacts it doesn’t have the space to display.

“The bathing machine is currently being stored by the town council, who are anxious for it to find its eventual home,” he said.

“The plan is to move all seaside and holiday-related displays into the new space, which we have dubbed ‘the beach house’.

This will, in turn, free up some space in the existing museum area to rearrange displays and perhaps create some new ones.”

Mr Burt also suggested that the new area might create some space for a modest catering facility, allowing peckish guests to get their fix.

“We are all very excited to at last start work on something we have been talking about for years,” he said.

Appropriately, for a museum committed to local history, Mr Burt made the announcement at the annual Richard Hotham anniversary event, which took place by the grave of Sir Richard Hotham, in Bersted, on Tuesday (January 18).

The event saw representatives from Bognor Regis Town Council and Arun District Council come together to commemorate the date that Sir Hotham laid the foundation stone of Bognor as a seaside resort, 245 years ago. See page 28