Sidlesham Heritage Trail launched

Some of the relatives of the  early tenants outside the hut
Some of the relatives of the early tenants outside the hut

THE Sidlesham Heritage Trail, created to celebrate the development of the Land Settlement Association, has been launched in style.

During the industrial depression of the 1930s, more than 1,000 unemployed miners and shipbuilders from the north-east of England and South Wales were given the opportunity to join Land Settlement Associations (LSA) and begin new lives as market gardeners.

A total of 20 LSAs were set up across England and the largest was in Sidlesham, with 120 smallholdings.

Organiser Bill Martin, a Sidlesham resident, said: “The launch of the trail took place on Saturday at Keynor House, in Cow Lane, Sidlesham, where the managers of the Land Settlement Association used to live.

“In the grounds is Keynor Hut, where the original tenants lived while they were being trained before their houses were built and their families joined them six months later.

“A photograph taken in 1937 shows those original tenants in front of the hut. On Saturday, we replicated that photograph with some of the relatives of those early tenants – Dickie Cowan, John Wilson, John Bailey, Bert Cutler, John Dixon, Bill Littler, Fred Ruckley, Lance Edwards, Karl Holly and Henry Cloud.”

Another photograph was taken on the day, of some of the later ex-tenants who attended the launch event.

The LSA Heritage Trail Project was funded using £6,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund and facilitated through the Manhood Wildlife and Heritage Group.

Mr Martin wanted to create the trail to commemorate the significant historical event, when land was purchased and divided into smallholdings for horticulture and livestock.

With the help of his friend, Val Gatehouse, from Highleigh, he has created a leaflet and map which will enable people to stroll around the village and learn about the development of the LSA at various locations.

The leaflet includes the memories of local people, many of whom are related to the original settlers’ who arrived in 1936.

The LSA became a major employer in the area and when it was closed down by the government in 1983, tenants had the right to buy their property.

Visit the website for more information about the trail.

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