7 November 2013

The people's history of The Level

A display of photos and memories charting a people's history of one of Brighton & Hove's most popular parks will go on show this month at The Level (opening Saturday Nov 9).

The history project has been organised as part of the transformation of The Level in central Brighton, by Brighton & Hove City Council.

The exhibition covers the history of the park over 80 years, taking in everything from  World War Two, when part of the park was taken over by the Royal Engineers, through to the devastation wreaked to the park's trees by the great storm of 1987, and music festivals and skateboarding in the Nineties. The display will be on show in the newly restored Bertie MacLaren Pavilion at The Level, see opening dates and times below.

More than 50 people took part in the oral history project organised by the council's parks team with local historian Dr Sam Carroll. They recounted their memories and family stories about the park to a team of volunteers, digging out photographs, posters and other memorabilia to record the park's history.

Other themes on display include Sporting Activities, among them the game of bat and trap traditionally played at The Level on Good Fridays; Playtime; Protests and Speakers' Corner, highlighting the park's role as a meeting place for rallies, including a women's peace camp in the Eighties; Festival Fun and Bonfire Night; and Roll up, Roll up, with a variety of entertainment, including circuses, pony races and fairs remembered as a great source of excitement.

Councillor Pete West, chair of Brighton & Hove City Council's Environment and Sustainability Committee, said: "The exhibition is the result of two years' work with local residents and it is a fascinating insight into the part the park has played in so many people's lives in so many different ways.

"It really celebrates the life of The Level and shows how important it is, the park is like a back garden for many people in the city who don't have an outside space of their own, and following the restoration of the park is a very fitting way to mark the start of the next chapter of The Level's history."

The exhibition will be open on the following dates:

Saturday       9th November       3pm to 5pm

Sunday        10th November      2pm to 4pm

Wednesday  13th November     2pm to 4pm

Friday           15th November    10am to 12noon

Monday        18th November     2pm to 4pm

Saturday      23rd November     2pm to 4pm

Tuesday       26th November     2pm to 3.30pm

For more information about The Level, including the history of the park, and interviews with two of the participants in the history project visit:

The Level

History of The Level and The Level Restoration Project