Project startup and HB50 Events

 Introduction

In Mid 2011, Hayling’s Best (a community group set up under the Market Towns Initiative) agreed to accept the Hayling Billy Project and support it under the Hayling’s Best banner.

The Project was run in two separate strands;

  • To commemorate the 50th anniversary of the closure of the branch line, 2 Nov 1963, which was appropriately labeled Hayling Billy 50. This was a community based part of the project that delivered a fantastic program of events from July 2013 through to December 2013. Central to the project, the Hayling Billy 50 website was created to capture memories and reveal the railway history. The events are described below.
  • The second strand included Hampshire County Council, Havant Borough Council (the land owners) and Hayling’s Best to plan much needed improvements to the Hayling Billy Trail (the former railway alignment) and in particular, the restoration of the signal on the southern bridge approach (since closure some members of the island community had repainted the signal post and fitted a tin plate signal arm to replace the original which was removed when the line was demolished). For two years the team worked hard to develop improvement proposals and submitted an application for funds to the Heritage Lottery Fund. It was agreed that, if funds were awarded, the working party would form the Hayling Billy Heritage Partnership Project to manage the delivery of the project.
Derelict signal on southern bridge approach. Image Peter Drury

Derelict signal on southern bridge approach. Image Peter Drury

 HB 50 Events list

Overview

Events that took place during 2013 to commemorate the 50th Anniversary of the closure of the branch line.

These were planned and organised by each of the Community Groups against a simple criterion: Commemorate HB50 and target all the family.

HB50 bunting and helium filled HB50 balloons were provided at all the locations hosting the events. This provided a corporate image.

The Groups can be justly proud, all events were extremely well attended and definitely met the objectives we agreed.

 HB50 Events – 2013

July Events

HB50 Poster v2

Summary

The weekend events were extremely successful and all events were well supported by residents and visitors alike with many going from one event to another. It was a great pleasure to see that there were many family groups were involved.

ITMA sketch within Station Theatre variety performance 6 July 2013. - Image Mike Beel

ITMA sketch within Station Theatre variety performance 6 July 2013. – Image Mike Beel

The Station theatre hosted the Hayling Billy exhibition, presented by the HB50 team, which was planned to run from the 6th July to the end of August. This was extended to the end of September due to it’s popularity.


August Event

Railway Journey by HIADS

Railway Journey by HIADS

Summary

A second theatre production was performed for a week (Aug 17 – 23, 2013) in support of Hayling Billy 50. Laurie Noble produced and directed two one act plays. The first act was ‘Still Life’ by Noel Coward (immortalised as the basis for the classic railway film ‘Brief Encounter’) and the second of the evening’s performances was ‘The Railway Siding’, by Jonathan Holloway. This was the first time these plays had been performed together. Jonathan Holloway attended one showing to see for himself how the theatre production was received.
The theatre audience was close to capacity for the full week, including visitors from well outside the normal area and for many the first visit to the Station Theatre. A wonderful performance, appreciated by all, and a great credit to all involved.


October Event

The Spring exhibition 13 October 2013 to 8th November 2013.

Summary

We successfully reached agreement with the Museums service to display a section of Alan Bell’s model of the Hayling branch line. The section we chose portrayed the Train Ferry from Langstone tho the Isle of Wight. Something that had been lost in the mist of time. This formed the centre point of the exhibition at the Spring, Havant. It was located on the upper Mezzanine together with the HB50 history display panels that had previously been displayed at the Station theatre.
Members of the Brighton circle provided superb O gauge models of locomotives and coaches depicting railway items used on the branch, Roger Nash brought a live steam Terrier locomotive that his father had built which was displayed until December. Many others contributed other items for display which, together with the museum display items, provided a very interesting set of exhibits.

November Events


Open Day poster - The Spring November 2

Summary

This event drew almost 1000 people through the door. The Spring worked very hard in planning the event and a credit to all. With so much going on it was little wonder that it was such a great success.


Model Railway exhibition

Summary

Another great success story. This exhibition was well attended on both days. Lots of very interesting layouts were on display including one of the Hayling Viaduct in N gauge, specially constructed for this exhibition. There were also many trade stands to tempt you!

It was a great touch to run a vintage bus between the exhibition and the Seaside Railway where a train hauled by a steam locomotive awaited you for a trip on the railway to Eastoke.


 In Conclusion

After 2 years of very hard work, planning and delivering the events, we were rewarded with The Best Exhibitiom of 2013 award for the exhibition held at The Spring October 2013 to November 2013. A real triumph of community groups. working together, for the community and visitors.

The website was extremely popular and had a worldwide audience. It was responsible for ensuring we had visitors attending the events from most parts of the UK and also some from continental Europe.

 Formation of  The Hayling Billy Heritage Partnership Project

We also were awarded funding, from the HLF, which allowed us to set up the Hayling Billy Heritage Partnership Project. Hampshire County Council, Havant Borough Council and Hayling’s Best had been working together for 3 years planning and preparing our HLF application.