<div style="display:inline;"> <img height="1" width="1" style="border-style:none;" alt="" src="//googleads.g.doubleclick.net/pagead/viewthroughconversion/1028731116/?value=0&amp;guid=ON&amp;script=0">
6 ISSUES FOR £6 Subscribe to Sussex Life today click here

Bexhill artist Louise Kenward on travelling around the world to visit... Bexhill

PUBLISHED: 11:34 28 July 2015

Louise Kenward on the Great Wall of China

Louise Kenward on the Great Wall of China


Bexhill artist Louise Kenward has travelled the world, visiting towns of the same name as far afield as Australia and Canada. Paul Davis caught up with her to hear all about it

A Trail of Breadcrumbs at Lake Baikal A Trail of Breadcrumbs at Lake Baikal

more than a year after leaving Bexhill in East Sussex to travel – as far as possible, by train – to Bexhill in Australia and Bexhill in Canada, Louise Kenward, an installation artist, has returned home.

“The intention behind my journey was to make connections and links between the three Bexhills. It was to see what unifies us and the things we share around the globe, irrespective of culture, creed, race or language.” New experiences began on her way to Ashford. “I discovered the Marshlink, a beautiful rail journey along the shoreline, and then up into marshes and wilderness.”

Louise’s art installation encircles the globe: “Trail of Breadcrumbs is an ongoing series of small scale works plotting my journey around the world. Temporary, transient pieces placed at regular intervals as in Hansel and Gretel. Pebbles are collected and covered in crochet before being replaced. Emerging from the desire to make work as I travelled between places called Bexhill, this became a great way of meeting people and inviting comment.”

Accompanied by her copies of Annie Brassey’s A Voyage in the Sunbeam (1878) and Lillias Campbell Davidson’s Hints to Lady Travellers (1889), Louise recalls “the influence of women on my trip cannot go without comment. Annie, whose eclectic collection is housed in Bexhill Museum, is a huge influence, as is Kate Marsden (who left England with only ‘a fur coat and a whistle’), who also came from Bexhill. “I tried, unsuccessfully, to find traces of Kate and her quest for a cure for leprosy while travelling through Siberia, but she remains present in her connection with the museum.”

Bexhill, Australia Bexhill, Australia

The longest single train journey Louise experienced was on the Trans-Siberian Railway, where she spent five days “bartering and sharing goods, trading information about timetables, and platform stops, and sharing in the delight at discovering there was toilet roll and hand towels!” She travelled on through China before arriving in Hong Kong: “I was treading in Annie’s footsteps and following up a mission from Bexhill Museum. Annie’s Hong Kong (formerly Victoria) was entirely mountainous; Victoria Harbour remains, albeit a bit further out to sea than it was in 1877. Another link with Bexhill is the statue of Queen Victoria, which was made in Pimlico by a founder of the museum, and which I was duly sent to look for. She has had an eventful time having been relocated from Statue Square, painted red as an act of protest, and ending up at the entrance to Victoria Park, hopefully there to remain.”

Louise journeyed through South-East Asia and Indonesia before arriving in Bexhill, Australia. The town used to be called Beck’s Hill and “has nothing to do with early English settlers from Sussex. Originally known as ‘Bald Hill’, the surveyor, Mr Ewing, recruited a Mr Beck to assist him for a time. Mr Beck must have been particularly good at assisting!” The town developed through the logging industry and, when no cedar trees remained, became a centre for the dairy industry. Louise worked with TarpSpace, a critically-acclaimed travelling art project and, having made a crochet cover from a torn tarpaulin for an old brick, replaced it at the town’s abandoned brickworks. A smaller ‘breadcrumb’ was created for protest group The Knitting Nanas, “who successfully stood against drilling for coal seam gas a short distance from Bexhill. They, and many others, have subsequently participated in an exhibition of art works relating to Bentley and the ‘Lock the Gate’ campaign. They included the pebble I gave them.”

The next stop was Bexhill, Canada, little of which remains. It was originally created because of a grain elevator (the name was just the next one on Canadian Railway’s methodical list of stations) and, as with the other Bexhills, the railway was the key. Surrounded by farms, the small settlement faded away after the elevator – which also served as a community hub – closed in 1976.

Louise is now artist-in-residence at Bexhill Museum (www.bexhillmuseum.co.uk). Thanks to a recent £10,000 grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund, she plans to develop a “dialogue with local heritage”. It is entitled In conversation with Annie and is based on her travels, in an innovative exhibition at the museum. She also intends to continue to develop links between the three Bexhills – especially through the oral history project she carried out in Australia and Canada, which she hopes to continue in East Sussex.

Louise’s further artistic adventures can be followed at www.bexhilltobexhill.com

Bexhill, Canada Bexhill, Canada



New BBC drama Life in Squares - on set at Charleston - Life in Squares, a BBC drama based on the lives of Virginia Woolf and Vanessa Bell, will come to our screens this summer. Jenny Mark-Bell visited the set at Charleston, near Firle, to speak to the actors

20 stunning photos of Sussex on Instagram - A quick search for #Sussex on Instagram gives you an abundance of amazing pictures of our beautiful county. Here are a selection of some of the very best we found...


Welcome , please leave your message below.

Optional - JPG files only
Optional - MP3 files only
Optional - 3GP, AVI, MOV, MPG or WMV files

Please log in to leave a comment and share your views with other Sussex Life visitors.

We enable people to post comments with the aim of encouraging open debate.

Only people who register and sign up to our terms and conditions can post comments. These terms and conditions explain our house rules and legal guidelines.

Comments are not edited by Sussex Life staff prior to publication but may be automatically filtered.

If you have a complaint about a comment please contact us by clicking on the Report This Comment button next to the comment.

Not a member yet?

Register to create your own unique Sussex Life account for free.

Signing up is free, quick and easy and offers you the chance to add comments, personalise the site with local information picked just for you, and more.

Sign up now

More from Out & About

Friday, January 19, 2018

10 of the most beautiful, inspiring and simply stunning photos of Sussex shared on Instagram over the past week...

Read more
Thursday, January 18, 2018

Whether it’s taking a look along the seafront on a sunny day or across the downs from Ditchling Beacon, Sussex is not short of stunning views. Here are some of our favourites...

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

A brand new year is the perfect time to learn a new skill or embrace new experiences. Jenny Mark-Bell finds plenty of inspiration, from traditional crafts to working with animals

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

We’ve journeyed through Sussex from A to Z to show how great this part of the world is…

Read more
Tuesday, January 16, 2018

At this time of year it is all to easy to slip into bad habits and elasticated waistbands. So the idea of rebooting one’s system at one of the area’s spa and detox retreats has appeal

Read more
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

Sandwiched between East Sussex’s coastal towns and Ashdown Forest this Wealden town may have been overlooked for too long

Read more
Tuesday, January 9, 2018

The Bell in Ticehurst on the Kent/East Sussex border is a charming 16th century inn with rooms – and a lively programme of events

Read more
Monday, January 8, 2018

We round up some of the best events and things to do across Sussex this month

Read more
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

What could be nicer than a sleepy Sunday afternoon in one of our beautiful Sussex pubs? Here are some of our favourites...

Read more
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

Hazel Sillver visits three old churches and a castle ruin on this circular riverside stroll

Read more
Tuesday, January 2, 2018

With the South Downs, quaint villages and coastal trails, Sussex is a great place for a walk. Here we round up some of the best

Read more
Thursday, December 21, 2017

There’s not much more invigorating than a Sunday stroll across our countryside on a crisp winter afternoon. Here we round up some of our favourite Sussex walks to enjoy this winter

Read more
Thursday, December 21, 2017

It may be packed with antique shops and dominated by the stately home, but Petworth is more than a tourist stop as Duncan Hall discovers

Read more
Tuesday, December 19, 2017

Clive Agran explores Shoreham-by-Sea, which once threatened to oust Chichester as county town of West Sussex

Read more
Great British Holidays advert link

Newsletter Sign Up

Sign up to the following newsletters:

Sign up to receive our regular email newsletter

Latest Competitions & Offers

Topics of Interest

Food and Drink Directory

Subscribe or buy a mag today

subscription ad
Sussex Life Application Link

Follow us on Twitter

Like us on Facebook

Local Business Directory

Sussex's trusted business finder

Job search in your local area

Property Search