Air crash tributes preserved for years to come

Thousands of tributes to the Shoreham air crash have been preserved for future generations

A unique archive of the thousands of tributes left following the Shoreham air crash last year is now available to the public and to view online.

The Shoreham Community Archive, conserved by West Sussex Record Office, contains over 1,900 messages catalogued from Shoreham Tollbridge, which became a focal point for tributes following the crash last August.

The archive also incorporates the books of condolence and other items, including local and national newspaper reports from the time.

The digital archive will be available to view online from August 22.

Louise Goldsmith, Leader of West Sussex County Council, said: “A year on, our thoughts remain with the families of the 11 men who died.

“The Record Office is the guardian of the county’s history and this unique community archive is history in the making not just for now, but decades and centuries to come.”

Archivists and conservators spent months drying out and cleaning the thousands of cards and messages left at the tollbridge.

A group of volunteers then helped to catalogue the archive. They assigned a unique reference number to each item, along with a description.

As well as preserving and cataloguing the collection, each message of condolence was scanned so that a digital record of the items could be created to view online.

All of the messages are kept in archival film which will help to preserve them in the future. They have been bound into large volumes, enabling people to look through the messages whilst ensuring they are protected.

Wendy Walker, County Archivist, said: “We think it is the first time that an archive of this kind has been preserved in this way.

“It is the role of the West Sussex Record Office to keep the records and preserve the history of all events in the county to ensure the preservation of as complete an archive as possible for future generations.”

For more information contact the Record Office on 01243 753602.