England’s largest festival of history and culture, Heritage Open Days, is back this September.
This year’s theme is Astounding Inventions – a celebration of the cutting-edge creations that make our lives easier as well as the imaginative inventors behind them. Alongside stories of wonders, the festival will highlight some of the blunders, fads and outright failures that pepper England’s rich history of innovation.

Here in Shoreham-by-Sea, the Shoreham Society and our partners are putting together a fascinating and fun weekend on Friday, Saturday and Sunday, 16th-18th of September for all to discover our amazing local history of innovation.

And as we all know, Shoreham-by-Sea has never been just a sleepy little beach town by a meandering river! So what can you find out when you look around Shoreham? For example…

Did you know* that:

  • Shoreham Fort was once the home of a pioneering film studio?
  • motor cars with a brand-new patented engine design were once built here?
  • the founder of the company that designed the Spitfire WWII fighter plane was born and went to school here?
  • the last light aeroplanes to be produced in Britain were developed and manufactured in Shoreham?
Picture Making at Shoreham (thanks to the Sussex Archaeological Society and The Friends of Shoreham Fort)

Uncovering places, people, and stories that traditional history has overlooked or forgotten has always been at the very heart of Heritage Open Days. Shoreham’s pioneering spirit has led to some amazing successes (and its fair share of failures too!) throughout its rich history of invention and development.

Over the Heritage Open Days weekend in Shoreham we’re going to offer a taste of that diverse and inventive heritage. There will be a visit to Shoreham Airfield, a talk on one of the houseboats about their history, a Guess the Gadget trail around town, an exhibition and Gadget Gameshow in the Shoreham Centre.

Watch this space for more information in the weeks leading up to the Heritage Open Days weekend on 16th-18th September and get the latest updates on the Heritage Open Days Shoreham-by-Sea website page.

*It’s quiz time!

For the aspiring Brains of Britain amongst you, can you name:

  1. the film production company that operated at Shoreham Fort?
  2. the model of the motor car that was once built here?
  3. the person who founded the company that designed the Spitfire?
  4. the light aircraft that was developed and made in Shoreham?

Add your answers to the comments below, to show off what you know! Sorry, no prizes, just kudos!

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Last modified: August 4, 2022