Evoking Woodingdean

Woodingdean sign, Racehill.
Polite Welcome: Photo by Paul Gillett and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence.


Local Historian David Cuthbertson of the


Will be wanting your ***WOODINGDEAN WRITING***

He will speak on the importance of


 …writing for future historians…




Free entry. All ages welcome. Under 16’s adult-accompanied

When? Monday November 4, 2019

Time? 4.45pm for 5pm start. Ends 5.45 pm

Where? Saltdean Library BN2 8SP

Parking? Easy-peasy

Such is the online version of the poster for my next talk. Needless to say, it only tells part of the story. The Woodingdean Social History Project was created by Woodingdean historian, Peter Mercer, to hear contemporary experiences of present day Woodingdean – of potential interest to future historians. I offered to speak on his behalf to the Clifftop Writers who had invited us to give a presentation to the group.

And then I quickly found myself pushing my boundaries – not a bad thing in itself – but scary all the same! I am used to giving illustrated talks – the slides providing me the outline of my presentation. However, in Saltdean Library this does not appear to be possible. So this is an opportunity to try something new. And since I am speaking to creative writers, I am attempting to write down what I wish to communicate – creatively – to be performed with the aim of combing ‘education, enlightenment and edification‘, not to mention entertainment!

As far as content is concerned, apart introducing the aims and background of the project, and telling something of the history of Woodingdean, I plan to introduce the subject of evoking the spirit of a place – and in particular – the village or suburb of Woodingdean. I have attended landscape observation classes, and have even led one or two practical landscape observation walks. But I quickly realised I had been, until now, only really concerned with the natural aspects of landscape.

But we are being asked to write about a built landscape. I need to develop new eyes for not only the physical landscape and the natural one which grows in response to it; I need to find ways of connecting with the ways that my fellow human beings – past and present – have effected the physical, man made material structures which confront me; the ways in which that has effected the movements, the rhythm and flow of things, nature and people in that landscape, the ways in which people think, feel, and act in that space. How does is it effect me?

That is a lot to take in. A challenge to communicate – but creative writers do it all the time – invented worlds, reinvisioned realities…

I can do it – and am even looking forward to doing it. It may not be an easy journey for me. But one thing that I know I can manage – it will be fun 🙂 See you in Saltdean – with a piece of writing about Woodingdean? I hope so.

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