Chance to tell your stories in globe-trotting Bexhill project

Louise Kenward in Bexhill, Canada
Louise Kenward in Bexhill, Canada

An artist is urging people to take part in the final stage of a long-running project featuring the world’s three Bexhills.

Louise Kenward visited Bexhill in Australia and its namesake in Canada after being spurred on by 19th-century travel writer, collector and philanthropist, Lady Annie Brassey.

There are displays at Bexhill Museum on Louise’s project and Lady Brassey and a new exhibition will be installed at Bexhill Library on Monday (November 23).

Photographs from Bexhill, Australia and Bexhill, Canada have also been installed at Bexhill railway station and will be there until the end of the year.

Lady Brassey penned a journal about her experiences called Voyage of the Sunbeam (1876-1877).

Louise found out about the other Bexhills in the world as a result and decided to visit them herself.

She went on an 11-month-long trip, collecting souvenirs and memories.

Louise said: “Returning to Bexhill-on-Sea, I am interested in meeting and talking to people from Bexhill about what it is like to live there and their connections with the town. This is in the context of having completed similar story collecting in Bexhill, Australia, and Bexhill, Canada, over the last two years.

“I will be publishing stories, memories and photographs in a book that brings each of the three Bexhills together.

“Postcards inviting you to share ‘What connects you to Bexhill?’ are available throughout Bexhill.

“They can be collected from different locations, including the museum and library, and returned to dedicated post boxes at Bexhill Museum, Bexhill Library, or electronically at admin@bexhilltobexhill.com.”

Lady Brassey was born in 1839 and was married to MP Thomas Brassey, of Normanhurst in Catsfield.

The Brasseys travelled with an entourage of five children, pets and staff.

They were hugely wealthy, making their money from railway construction and the steam yacht, Sunbeam, was fitted out in luxury.

They boarded Sunbeam in Hastings, travelling first to Russia where Annie collected her first treasure, an emerald, in St Petersburg.

Lady Brassey’s last destination was Darwin in northern Australia.

Never strong, she died of malaria in 1887 and was buried at sea.

Louise has spent time at Bexhill Museum as artist in residence working with Lady Brassey’s objects brought back from places she visited.

More information about Louise’s project can be found at www.bexhilltobexhill.com

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