Website gives Worthing’s history a new vitality

Barrie Keech and Ron Kerridge with some of their research. W02602H12
Barrie Keech and Ron Kerridge with some of their research. W02602H12
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A LIVING, breathing history of Worthing as it used to be – that is the way a website which recalls a part of the town’s past has been described.

The product of 18 months’ work, Old Worthing Street brings to life the history of Worthing Street – the historical name for the street that ran from the Teville Gate area to the Warwick Street junction.

Created by local historians Ron Kerridge and Barrie Keech, with the backing of the Heritage Lottery Fund, the website allows people to see all the homes and schools, bar one, which existed along the street, as well as their occupants.

And for those interested in family history, there is a function that allows website users to search by surname to see ancestors and other people who lived in the area at one point or another.

With a large number of houses and buildings long since knocked down, it has taken Barrie and Ron 18 months of trawling through directories, manorial court rolls, deeds, rate books, and countless other historical texts to bring the website to life.

The pair have managed this by including almost 1,000 images of homes and buildings and by showing the occupations of the houses’ occupants.

Now, the pair hope they have created a website that is unique in the way it combines the history of people and the area.

Barrie, 60, of Salvington Hill, High Salvington, said: “It’s a living, breathing history of Worthing Street.

“We both feel Worthing Street reflects the changes that have happened in Worthing – it’s at the core of Worthing history.”

Ron, 73, of Sheridan Road, Worthing, said: “This website is both for people who are interested in the history of the area and interested in the history of families.

“If you want to, you can search your family name and see the house they lived in, or look at the history of the area.

“It’s changed and it’s still changing.

“When you look at Worthing now it’s almost unrecognisable.”

The website is already up and running and is due for completion in May.

To coincide with the website’s completion, a DVD which recalls the history of old Worthing village, made by local historian Chris Hare, is to be screened.

But though the website now nears its formal completion, Ron and Barrie will continue to update it and are keen to develop it further, potentially to include oral interviews that further illuminate the history of the area.

Those who have photographs or historical information to contribute to the website should email barrie.keech@btinternet.com.