A NEW exhibition opens tomorrow (Saturday) at Hastings Museum tracing the historic links between East Sussex and Normandy in France.
The two areas have a long, shared heritage, from the Norman invasion of 1066 to the growth of cross-Channel tourism over the last century.
These, and lesser known links such as piracy, smuggling and the sheltering of religious refugees, are explored in the exhibition, The French Connection.
The three-month event forms part of the Arch Expo project, an EU-funded partnership between East Sussex County Council and the Département de Seine Maritime, which aims to explore and celebrate the links between the two areas.
Cllr Chris Dowling, county council lead member for community services, said: “Despite being separated by the English Channel, the histories of East Sussex and Normandy are closely entwined.
“Everyone knows about the Battle of Hastings, but through the 1,000 years which have since passed, the two areas have shared social, cultural and economic links, in wartime and at peace.
“This exhibition offers a fresh twist on some of the stories we are all familiar with as well as unearthing a fascinating insight into the lesser known episodes in our history.”
Exhibits on display are derived from the archives of the East Sussex Record office, the Departmental Archives of Seine Maritime and the museum collection.
The exhibition, which includes a programme of events for schools, will be officially opened by Cllr Emily Westley, Hastings Borough Council’s lead member for leisure and amenities.
She said: “It’s very fitting we are working so closely with our French colleagues for this exhibition, which opens at the start of Hastings Week, marking the anniversary of the Battle of Hastings, which took place on October 14, 1066.
“I’m really looking forward to opening the exhibition, and am sure it will prove popular. I’m especially pleased that young people have not been forgotten, with the programme for schools running in conjunction with the exhibition.”
The exhibition runs from tomorrow to Sunday, January 19.
More information is available online at www.hmag.org.uk or by calling Hastings Museum on 01424 451052.