Artist Louise Kenward is following in the footsteps of Victorian adventurer Lady Anne Brassey, whose family’s influence is still felt around Bexhill.
She travelled to different Bexhills around the world and Louise is now immersed in the same voyage of discovery.
She writes: “I’m currently halfway through my journey, linking with each of three places called Bexhill. Travelling mostly by train, and overland as far as possible, I have travelled through 17 countries and 13 time zones. Many UNESCO World Heritage Sites and Wonders of the World have been seen, endangered animals encountered and stunning landscapes travelled through. I have hiked, biked, flown, caught ferries, buses, trains, taxis and trams, and ridden a Mongolian horse.
The journey is in part inspired by the discovery of how far it is possible to travel by train, partly by the Victorian travel writer, Annie Brassey, and partly sheer curiosity that there are places so far away called Bexhill.
Nearly of equal distance apart, Bexhill in Australia lies in the north east of New South Wales, close to Lismore and Byron Bay. There are about 400 residents. Bexhill in Canada sits in the heart of prairie land, and is not close to anything very much at all. The nearest city is Regina, Saskatchewan. Nobody lives in Bexhill, Canada. It is for this reason that I became all the more intrigued. Three such different places with the same name, it made me wonder.
I will spend time at each Bexhill learning what I can of its history and it’s people, and how it came to be named so. Seeking to make connections, my train journey (and my crochet) is a physical sense of this. It will also allow me to grasp a greater understanding of the context of each place, it’s distance from elsewhere and it’s place in the world.
The connection with Annie (Lady) Brassey is one of time and place. A Victorian travel writer, collector and philanthropist, she lived in Catsfield (near Bexhill). Along with her husband (Lord Thomas Brassey), her children and often pets too, Annie sailed the world several times, collecting and writing along the way. I am following in her path where I can and write to her at junctions in our travels.
As I make my way around the world I am collecting stories and photographs, researching the links and history of Bexhill and Annie. Documenting this through the blog and website I invite you to join me on the next leg of my journey.”
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