West Hoathly Local History Archive Exhibition
by Dr John Ralph (Archivist)
On Saturday and Sunday February 17th and 18th the Village Hall in West Hoathly was filled with village memorabilia. This exhibition has been held annually since 1996 when the whole collection was on show. It has grown steadily since and now only a selection can be displayed.
This year a special exhibit about Plaw Hatch was prepared. The Plaw Hatch location was recorded as far back as 1139 and “hatch” refers to an entrance to Ashdown Forest. Plaw Hatch Farm and several nearby farms were bought by William Reierson Arbuthnot between 1871 and 1900. He was an international banker and he built Plaw Hatch Hall in 1874. In 1911 he sold the estate to Robert Molesworth Kindersley who was a director of The Bank Of England and became the First Baron Kindersley of West Hoathly for his work introducing National Savings.
Joy Day who lives in a converted bothy near The Hall interviewed Philipa Marshall, a granddaughter of Lord Kindersley in 1989 and again recently. Philipa provided photographs and memories of her family life at Plaw Hatch between 1930 and 1950. Arthur Kay whose father Norman worked at Plaw Hatch around 1930 also donated a large collection of photos taken there. David Evatt, a local estate agent, came up with photographs and documents from more recent conveyances of parts of the estate. The display of all this material proved very popular with many local people particularly those whose families had worked at Plaw Hatch.
Philip Wakeford and Martin Day have both lived on the Plaw Hatch estate and loaned various maps and provided other information.
Jill Rolfe of Dane Hill Local History Society exhibited some of her work on Birch Grove, Chelwood Gate and on the Suffragettes. Antony Smith the Curator of The Priest House Museum also exhibited his research on the topic of the “Suffragette Handkerchief” which was signed by lots of local members of that organisation.
The regular exhibits including about 800 photographs, 550 documents, 100 maps, WI scrapbooks, 1990 Parish Portrait and local archaeology were also on show.
Many thanks to our efficient gang of helpers who set things up on Friday evening and dismantled them on Sunday evening. Thanks also to the all important ladies who provided cakes and served teas.
Contact: The Archivist, Dr John E Ralph
Telephone: 01342 810458