November 2017


LATEST ON THE TIMELINE : From Bridge Farm to Westham, the untold story of Pevensey School


ON THE eve of the commemoration of the 150th anniversary of the beaching of the Pevensey Whale, the famous finback whale made a star appearance this evening, seen by audiences of South East Today across the South East of England as well as by audiences of Look East, across the East of England.—Bay Life 12 November 2015

In the broadcast segment, some of which was filmed on the beach at Normans Bay and at Westham and Pevensey Primary School between 3-5 November, people heard about the story of the Pevensey Whale.

Documented by University of Cambridge Museum of Zoology Collections Manager, Mat Lowe, together with sequences about the history of the story, as well as local people offering their views, the segment is one of a number that will be broadcast about the opening of ‘Whale Hall’ in Cambridge in the Summer of 2016.

Whale Hall will see the famous skeleton suspended over two floors in a specially designed atrium. The new museum experience seems likely to become one of the most engaging gateway experiences to any museum of zoology in the country.

In the broadcast sequence, local man, RJ Smith showed some of the unique pictures that have been handed down in his family since 1865.

Children from Westham and Pevensey Primary School were seen reciting a skipping rhyme discovered locally by a volunteer working with the Pevensey Timeline Association. The rhyme was sung by children in playgrounds across the region at the time. In all likelihood the rhyme was also sung by the side of the Whale in November 1865.

In a ‘reveal’ in the final sequence, collections manager, Mat Lowe showed the children at the school a vertebrae of the Pevensey Whale that had been especially brought to the school all the way from Cambridge.

The appearance of the Pevensey Whale story on the BBC this evening (November 12) on the eve of the 150th commemoration of the beaching of the Whale is timely.

The visit by the Look East BBC team to the locality is likely to be one of a number of broadcasts that we will be seeing in the media. Interest in the story of the Pevensey Whale is beginning to build.

How many of the thousands of people visiting the new museum will want to come to the locality to see where the story began?

The extraordinary story, which will make national news when Whale Hall opens, promises to put part of the story of the Bay on the local history map in a new way. Will the Pevensey Whale story become part of the ‘visitor destination’ experience? There are some tantalising possibilities with regard to potential local economic regeneration initiatives.

There are already a series of initiatives being planned to promote the story, primarily being undertaken by the Pevensey Timeline Association. They involve potential exhibitions of the story as it happened here, a sculptural representation of the Pevensey Whale to be sited in the Sea Road car park and licensed merchandise to buy for visitors to the locality.

The broadcast segment this evening marks the latest chapter in the story of the Pevensey Whale. The story looks likely to build in excitement and interest both locally and nationally as preparations continue towards the opening of the £18 million new museum.

The opening of Whale Hall in Cambridge in the summer of 2016 will mark a new set of opportunities for businesses and organisations in the locality to tell the story of the evening of 13 November 1865 when one of the largest finback whales in the world was washed ashore here in Pevensey Haven.

IMAGE CREDIT : University of Cambridge Museum of Zoology. Pevensey, November 2015