Rowlands Castle Heritage Centre
The display of the iconic model railway at Stansted House by a team of some 30 attendants has been a focus of our activities. In parallel, a website has been developed to publicise our activities, and subsequently to become a ‘virtual museum’.
Formally, only the eleven trustees of the registered charity can be its members. The purpose of the Heritage Centre, however, is to serve the whole of the local community and its heritage – its countryside and its community. Our mission is to protect, record and prepare for the future of Rowlands Castle
We have also been seeking a ‘home’ for the museum with one option under consideration being to lease the unused offices in the local Railway Station. This would reinforce our mission by creating a ‘Community Hub’.
Over the last three years, a series of communications have been delivered via our website, articles in the RCA magazine, and at a series of public meetings including a stall at the Village Fairs. Volunteers have come forward for the charitable trust, for the management working group, and for attendants to interpret the model railway. Other Volunteers have offered many articles, photographs and archive material for the website, including undertaking historical and geographical researches.
RCHC ‘Volunteering in Practice’ describes the many ways residents may help:
Rowlands Castle Heritage Centre (RCHC) came into being in 2016, in response to an offer to purchase an iconic model railway of the Village at the time of the D-Day Landings, 1944. The RCA provided an umbrella for initial discussions and formation of an informal group to initiate the project. A Working Group was formed aiming at creating both a real and a ‘virtual’ museum, a home for the model railway and for local archive material about Village. It successfully registered as a Charity in 2017, thus becoming a legal entity which allows us to lease or buy a building for a museum.
The RCHC trust and working group are keen to develop relationships with other local museums and related organisations, including the South East Museum Development service and Hampshire County Archives. It values the opportunity to use the RCA Magazine and ‘Grapevine’ electronic mail service and is keen to co-operate with the Village Historical Society as well as the Havant Spring Museum.
The website illustrates other key local organisations which have an influence over life in Rowlands Castle which are referred to on the website as ‘Local Contacts’.
In the longer term, RCHC looks forward to creating a ‘Community Hub’ which provides a local interpretation centre for the South Downs National Park, Stansted House and Foundation, Staunton Country Park as well as the centre of the Village which is a designated ‘Conservation Area’.
RCHC welcomes the interest of all residents in historical and geographical matters concerning both our environment and the community. The website is intended as a window for viewing and understanding our activities and achievements potentially available in every household.