The Lancing and Sompting area has a rich and varied past: a Saxon church, a Roman temple, and a house lived in by the author of a popular children’s novel are just some of the historic gems the area contains.
It is this rich history, which often remains hidden under the many developments the area has experienced, that Local History Group Lancing and Sompting Pastfinders has been delving into and uncovering for the past 19 years.
Lancing and Sompting Pastfinders Local History Group was formed in 1996 when Mike Prince, Philip Fry and Robert Brown set up the initial meeting.
Initially getting together in private houses, the group progressed to a small community room and has gone from strength to strength, now meeting in the Harriet Johnson Centre, in Loose Lane, Sompting, on the first Tuesday of each month.
Over the years hundreds of old photographs and memorabilia have been collected, and these will be part of an exhibition called ‘Sompting Old’, to be held at the Harriet Johnson Centre on Saturday, June 27, from 10am to 4pm and, Sunday, June 28, from 10am to 2pm.
Admission is free, although donations are invited.
There is much more to Lancing and Sompting than meets the eye when driving along the A27.
The exhibition is part of the annual village fête on Sompting Recreation ground where more activities will be going on, including a dog show on Sunday, June 28.
Also at the ‘Sompting Old’ exhibition you will find:
n A Second World War display with bombs and sirens in the air raid shelter.
n Local history books by local authors.
n The Friends of Sompting Church.
n A representative of Sussex Family History Group to answer any questions and demonstrate how people can start researching their family tree.
There will also be a display of Lancing ‘Then and Now’ photographs and other items of interest.
Pastfinders has also produced a large number of booklets detailing the history of different parts of the villages, and has gained a Heritage Lottery Fund award to digitise the many historic images which form the ‘Sompting Old’ exhibition.
The group are always grateful for the loan of photographs, old deeds or ephemera for scanning with permission and return to the owner.
A varied monthly programme is run, including walks and visits to places of interest locally and, in September, we have a guided tour of Lancing College Chapel.
Visit www.lancing-sompting-pastfinders.org.uk for up to date information on our programme and many articles of historical interest.