“Fire doesn’t heed history. It doesn’t care about posterity or culture or memory. Fire consumes everything and anything, even if that thing is the last of its kind. On Sunday night, it came for the National Museum of Brazil, burning for six hours and leaving behind ashes ….” [Wired September 7 2018]
The destruction of Brazil’s Natural Museum with its collection of 20 million scientifically and culturally invaluable artefacts has been an eye-opener for many curators around the world. And that includes Southwick, Sussex.
A fire in upper rooms of the Homestead building, part of Southwick Community Centre, would destroy not only Wick Theatre’s archive but material gathered by the Southwick Community Association since its own inception in 1945.
The cultural heritage of people is bound up in their memories whether tangible – documents and photographs, or intangible – memories and anecdotes.
When one of Wick Theatre’s founder members, Betty Dawes, died in May 2016, a trove of papers was unearthed giving a valuable insight to Wick Theatre’s formative years. By digitising this material and recording the memories of early members, the company’s heritage would be protected.
The Heritage Lottery Fund became our only source of funding to build that protection.