What is the South Downs Schools Living History Project?

Over the next two years we are embarking on a unique partnership between The Friends of the South Downs and four West Sussex Primary schools. This project has been made possible by a £10,000 contribution by the Friends of the South Downs and a £48,700 grant from the National Lottery Heritage Fund.

Our knowledge of how people lived on the South Downs is being lost. A generation who remember the South Downs prior to the introduction of intensive agriculture, hastened by the food demands of the Second World War, are now in their late 80s and 90s and these precious memories will be lost forever if they are not recorded now...

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More tales of Old Sussex

I am delighted that we have now uploaded two new interviews, both with men whose Sussex memories go back to the 1940s in one case, and the 1930s in another. The men in question are Bob Philips of Shipley and Christopher Passmore of Applesham Farm at Coombes. These interviews are some of those fascinating we have done to date as ...
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Jack Upperton: 250th anniversary event

On Tuesday 6th April, The Friends of the South Downs marked the 250th anniversary of the death of South Down's highwayman, Jack Upperton, by hosting an online event, hosted by South Downs Generations project manager, Chris Hare. There were guest appearances by well known folk singer, Martyn Wyndham Read, Jonny Mott, and traditional singing group, the Duck Pond Sailors. If ...
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Highdown Memories

In 2016, Chris Hare interviewed people who had worked at Highdown Towers and Highdown Gardens from the 1930s till the 1970s. This was during the time when the gardens and the house were owned by Sir Frederick and Lady Sybil Stern. Others who didn't work for the Sterns, still remembered them and the role they played in the local community ...
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More News here

Chris’ Blog

John and Bernie Hills

John and Bernie Hills are two true sons of Sussex. Not only have they lived in the village of Stedham (near Midhurst) all their lives, you can still hear their Sussex accents. So rare is the old accent now, that some people have asked the brothers what part of the country they are from - not realising theirs is the ...
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Remembering Oliver Hare and his shanty singing

On 14th February 2017, Chris and Ann lost their wonderful son, Oliver, to suicide. A charity, Olly's Future - www.ollysfuture.org.uk - has been set up in his memory. You can see Olly in happier times singing shanties from a boat on the River Ouse at Lewes in July 2015. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hwnyYWiBLBI Olly takes the lead in singing 'A Rovin'' at 5:35 ...
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Lord Egremont at Petworth

It was a hot summer's day last July last year when we interviewed Lord Egremont in his garden at Petworth House. A link to the full interview can be found under the Oral History section of this website. The following very short video contains some highlights from the interview - we hope it will entice you to listen to the longer ...
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More Chris' Blog here

Mystery Photos

(click on photos for a larger view)

Mystery Building 1

Who can identify this little building and the water gushing out beside it? Where is it? What was it for?


Mystery Building 2

Chris was walking with his brother, Jonathan, on the Downs this week and came across this building. Chris can think of no other building on the downs that looks like this one. What was it for? When was it built, and why is there a 'double wall' on the south side? We would really welcome your ideas and suggestions.

If you think you know the answers Email Chris Hare

View previous Mystery Photos here


Interactive Map of the South Downs

Click on the squares in red to learn more about a location