The brainchild of our Patron, internationally renowned actor and performer Eddie Izzard, the Bexhill 1940 Winter Wartime Model Railway is the centrepiece of our new Bexhill in WWII gallery – and the second to join the museum’s collection.
Lovingly built by Bexhill Museum’s own team of model railway enthusiasts to Eddie’s design, both layouts feature a score of well-known historic Bexhill and Sidley landmarks, some still with us, others long gone
Eddie’s father, John, was evacuated from Bexhill at the outbreak of World War II aged just 12. He returned during the winter of 1940 to find the town blanketed in snow. Decades later Eddie paid tribute to his father’s wartime experience by designing and funding a marvellous re-creation of Bexhill as it was at that time.
The N-gauge model even shows his late father, who sadly died two years ago before he could see the finished work, as the home-coming evacuee schoolboy outside the family home, 1 Laburnum Cottages, Ninfield Road, Sidley.
Two years of work have already gone into the project with more modelling to come as seafront anti-invasion defences take shape. Visitors are given a presentation about the railway by one of our volunteers in which all the details are explained.
The model includes representations of landmarks such as the Town Hall, the Sussex Regimental drill hall and Bexhill West station, cut off from the rail network on the recommendation of the notorious 1963 Beeching Report.
Long lost landmarks like the Egerton Park Lido are brought back to life, and there is a working model of Hoad’s Mill, a famous painting of which by L.S. Lowry now hangs in the Musuem’s Sargent Gallery.