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Tillingbourne Tales project keen to engage communities

A project co-ordinator has now been recruited to lead on an exciting new project which will reveal and celebrate the industrial heritage of the Tillingbourne Valley. The Heritage Lottery Funded project called ‘Tillingbourne Tales’ will discover more about the Tillingbourne River and the industries it supported, helping to bring local history to local people and preserving it for future generations.

AnneSassin20150710_153818smallerDr Anne Sassin comes to the role with a host of experience, having just completed the successful ‘Finding Farnham Community Archaeology Project’ with Farnham Museum and the Surrey Archaeological Society, which provided an outreach archaeology programme for community members and students and involved test-pit excavation, workshop day courses and seminars.

Dr Anne Sassin comments;
“I’m absolutely delighted to be taking on this exciting project. I will be starting immediately with research and archive work in order to build up a resource of how the Tillingbourne River played such an integral role in our industrial heritage. We know already that leather, iron, gunpowder and corn milling are some of the industries that the water power of the River Tillingbourne supported for centuries – what we really want to know is more about the stories surrounding these. Recording and archiving oral histories is vital to safeguarding our local heritage, and getting the community to engage in this heritage and discover its legacy is what the Tillingbourne Tales is all about”.

Anne will be based at Shere Museum and will be working with the parishes of Shalford, Chilworth and St Martha, Albury, Shere, Abinger and Wotton.  Her work will require the support of these local communities to actively engage them in the project.  In the coming months Anne will work to recruit a team of volunteers to help deliver the project.  Volunteers will not only have the opportunity to help research and archive but also to learn about nature and water conservation, and gain the skills to maintain and improve the beautiful River Tillingbourne.

One of the main aims of the project is to engage young people and make them aware of the historical importance of their local area. The project will bring the history and stories associated with the Tillngbourne to life through workshops using puppets and art.

The Surrey Hills Society, is the principal partner in delivering the Tillingbourne Tales project. The Society is an independent charity encouraging people and families to explore, protect and enhance the Surrey Hills Area of Outstanding Natural Beauty (AONB), a nationally important landscape.

Christine Howard, Chairman of the Surrey Hills Society comments;
“The aim of this project is to engage local people in their local history to hand down what we uncover to future generations. The Surrey Hills landscape has so much unique industrial, cultural and natural heritage, we can’t wait to start telling people all about it”.

This project is also great news for Shere Museum as they will benefit from a new ‘Tillingbourne Gallery’ which will become a permanent source of inspiration and information on the Valley’s industrial history displaying artefacts and research findings developed during the project.

A new website will be created to showcase the project and will be available shortly.  To find out more about the Tales and Trails of the Tillingbourne Valley project click here

If you are keen to volunteer for the project please email Dr Anne Sassin on; asassinallen@gmail.com.