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Past is uncovered in surprise at museum

HIDDEN history has come to life at Bognor Regis Museum.


Local historians have been delighted by the discovery at the venue devoted to the town’s past.


The chance find has restored a piece of Bognor Regis history which had been hidden for decades.


They intend to keep the tiles which denote the building’s previous use as a pub run by the Henty & Constable brewery proudly on display.


Bognor Regis Local History Society chairman Greg Burt: “I was very excited when I was told about the tiles and I have had a lot of positive feedback about them on social media. People don’t want the sign covered and we are certainly going to leave it on display.


“We have the luxury of doing that, whereas a business might want to cover it up. We had an old gas lamp installed on the pavement outside a few years ago and this sign is also bringing the town’s past out into the open.”


“There was a wooden sign for the museum across there. It was starting to fall apart. We got a grant from Aldwick Parish Council to replace it, which we thought was a nice thing to do.


“When our contractor started to take the old sign apart, which must have been put up when we took over the museum in 2011, he saw they had put the sign over what had been there previously.


“When he took it down, he found the original pub sign underneath. I was so excited. It has to be the original sign from when the pub was built in 1933.

“I can’t find any picture of the pub with this sign on it. It must have been covered over in about 1955 when Watneys took over Henty & Constable.”


The site was a pub for decades. It was originally The Wheatsheaf before that moved to its present site in Hawthorn Road. The pub’s old building was taken over by The Berkeley Arms, which moved a few doors along West Street.


“It is fantastic that we have uncovered part of the history of Bognor Regis under our very noses that no-one in living memory can even remember,” said Mr Burt. “You can still see the work that has gone into the tiling all those years ago and it just looks lovely.


“It makes the front of the building look much more realistic.”


The tiling matches the style of the building’s gable, which has always been on show. The display measures about 10m across and each tile is some 30cm high. The letters are in royal blue.

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