The objective of the Rowlands Castle Heritage Centre is to establish and maintain a museum in Rowlands Castle in order to advance the education of the public in the history and heritage of the village, its former inhabitants and the surrounding area.
Our Mission Statement is to ‘Preserve, Record and Prepare’. We believe this means looking after and cherishing artefacts and archive from the past, while noting and measuring aspects of today, so that we may be more aware of the continual changes going on around us. Both ‘preserving’ and ‘recording’ will encourage us to be more prepared for and perhaps more responsive to future opportunities and threats.
Rowlands Castle is a dynamic community whose residents have expressed a high level of satisfaction with the village as a place to live. They also value and are interested in protecting the surrounding countryside, much of which is now more protected by being in the South Downs National Park.
The Heritage Centre, as with the RCA from which it originates, will contribute further to this important sense of local identity and community.
The Heritage Centre will have the civil Parish of Rowlands Castle, including Finchdean as its main area of interest. The entrance to the neighbouring Stansted Estate, however, is adjacent to the centre of the village. Residents work or are attendants at the House as well as enjoy recreation in the carefully managed grounds of the estate. Licence has been exercised, therefore, to include Stansted and nearby farms within the ambit of the Centre.
How will it develop?
The website represents the first step towards the larger project of forming a Village Heritage Centre or museum. The project has been started under the auspices of the Rowlands Castle Association (RCA). Eventually, the Heritage Centre will become independent, with its own charitable organisation, membership and volunteers, bank account and possibly space to store the archive, hold meetings, and offer displays and presentations.
What is in it?
The website offers the opportunity to integrate and display the embryonic archive – historic, environmental, social and economic – that has evolved. As the community of Rowlands Castle grows, it spontaneously creates material of interest to future generations. At the moment, apart from the archive from larger, well organised groups such as the Rowlands Castle Association or Golf Club, archive material is being assembled by individual residents, is being lost through neglect, or by residents moving away or dying.
Who is it for?
The target populations for the website are, firstly its residents, secondly visitors, thirdly and importantly younger people, fourthly ‘expert’ inquirers, and lastly by linking with the County Archives, wider society.
The Heritage Centre represents a coordinated attempt to provide a ‘one-stop shop’, or single, central home for archive and memorabilia which is of interest and value to the local community.
It will help the community become more aware of its past, to prepare for its future.