Weald & Downland
Open Air Museum
|The thumbnails below are linked to larger pictures
The Weald and Downland Open Air Museum was launched in 1967, by a small party of enthusiasts led by the museums founder the late Dr. J. R. Armstrong MBE. It now covers about 50 acres of beautiful English countryside close to Chichester in West Sussex.
The museum was established to rescue and conserve historic buildings from mainly the 13th to the 19th century. The museum also promotes the retention of historic buildings on their original sites, as only a small number scheduled for demolition (perhaps for new roads or reservoir construction) can be brought to the museum.
The removal and reconstruction of historical buildings is a very time consuming and exacting process. Every brick has to be numbered and colour coded and its position recorded before transportation to the museum, followed by cleaning and an exacting period of reassembly. As the number of bricks and stones in a single farmhouse can approach 10,000 this can be a very lengthy process, in addition to all the timber components.
There are almost 50 buildings on the museum site at present, many of the interiors have been furnished to recreate the way the buildings were used by their original owners centuries ago. To recreate an even more realistic experience there are traditional gardens with herbs vegetables and flowers, together with traditional breeds of farm livestock.
I found my visit very enjoyable and allowed myself to be transported back to the peasant life of centuries past. This unique museum can be found at Singleton near Chichester in West Sussex.
The Bayleaf Farmstead