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History / Victorian Buildings at the Museum

This school building was originally an 18th Century open ended cart shed, which was converted into a school around the late 1820's. The school is a good example of the ad hoc provision of elementary schooling in the early 19th Century. A charitable trust called the Oliver Whitby Foundation paid 1 shilling per week for a school dame and 7s. 11d. to provide books for six poor children.


A pair of workmen's cottages originally built in 1860's at Ashtead Common in Surrey. The cottages are timber framed with weather board cladding, a brick chimney and slate roof. The right hand cottage has been left unfinished so that the building materials and construction can be seen. The left hand cottage has been furnished to represent living conditions for a family with 4 children in 1890's.


Toll cottages were built and used during the 18th and 19th centuries to help private Turnpike Trusts to maintain the roads. Toll houses were built an average of 3 or 4 miles apart, and a toll was demanded for vehicles and animals using the road. This system was inefficient and could not cope with the increasing traffic in the 19th Century so therefore Parliament wound up the Turnpike Trusts in the 1870's.


This building contained a plumber's workshop on the ground floor and a glazier's workshop on the first floor. It was made in sections which were bolted together on site. The workshop formed part of the premises of W.R. Fuller, Plumbers and Decorators. The interior is set out with plumber's tools and equipment. 


This workshop is typical of the small workshops commonly found in towns and villages in the late 19th and early 20th Centuries. The workshop came to the Museum with the benches, tools and equipment of the last carpenter to use the premises. 


This smithy was built in the mid 19th Century using mostly timber with a wall of brick to protect the wall nearest the forge. Smithing was an essential craft to any village economy and the work included making and repairing tools and farming equipment, as well as shoeing horses. 


Pugmills were used from the 19th Century onwards to prepare clay for use in the brickmaking trade. The pugmill has an upright barrel with blades inside connected to a shaft. This shaft is turned by a horse and the clay is churned and mixed into the correct consistency for brickmaking.


The main use of the shed was to provide a cover for the bricks to dry before firing. The drying process took 3 - 6 weeks after which the bricks were fired in either a kiln or a clamp, which consisted of layers of bricks interspersed with fuel and set alight to burn for several weeks. The shed also has a brickmakers bench at one end with all the essential equipment. An exhibition on Brickmaking in Sussex has been set up inside the shed with some free hands-on activities.


Saw pits have been used since the 16th century as a method of cutting wood. This 19th century pit is typical of the permanent buildings erected. The pit was often built near a carpenter's workshop and covered over with a shed and one side open in order to roll the logs down. Two men were needed to operate the saw with one standing in the pit, the underdog, and one standing on top of the log - the top dog!.


This mill was used to grind flour until the 1930's. The water driven wheel provides power for two pairs of mill stones where the wheat is ground, a grain cleaner and a sack hoist to raise the sacks of wheat to the top of the mill. The mill is always in use and the mill staff are available to talk to groups of all ages.


This is an excellent example of a wooden wind pump common in Sussex in the 19th century. This pump was used to drain excess water from clay extraction works. The wind powers the sails which then turn the shah driving the two iron pumps used to raise the water.

THE CHARCOAL BURNERS' CAMP Charcoal was made in a kiln constructed from wood and covered completely in earth and foliage. The kilns burned night and day for several days and had to be watched constantly. Charcoal burners therefore had to live on site in huts with their families. Charcoal was very important to local industries such as iron works as it gives off twice the heat of wood.
LURGASHALL, KIRDFORD AND GOODWOOD CATTLE SHEDS These sheds are all open-fronted sheds which provided shelter for cattle kept in the farmyards in the 19th century. The cows were kept in fold yards surrounded by barns or walls and were able to feed from stalls in the sheds. The shed from Goodwood contains a shepherds room, which may indicate that sheep were also kept in the yard.