Memories of Monkey Island will kick-start archive of Hayling life

This is a picture of Monkey Island, an attraction that was in Hayling Island boating lake (which no longer exists) in the 1930s.  Picture: Hampshire Library and Information Service
This is a picture of Monkey Island, an attraction that was in Hayling Island boating lake (which no longer exists) in the 1930s. Picture: Hampshire Library and Information Service
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DO you recognise these cheeky monkeys?

This photo was taken on Hayling Island in the 1930s at the boating lake on the seafront.

The Dot to Dot art group has been awarded £41,000 from the Heritage Lottery Fund to put together a social history of Hayling and it is using this quirky photo as a starting point to get people talking about the past.

The project is one of four in Havant which have been awarded grants totalling more than £140,000 from the fund.

Melanie Stow, from Dot to Dot, said: ‘My colleague remembers it and I have a vague recollection of going there in the 1960s.

‘We managed to dig out this photo but we know little else about it.

‘That’s what we’re hoping to find out and we’re using Monkey Island as I’m sure there are other people out there who do remember it from day trips or holidays to Hayling. We want to know why it was there, how they got there, how long they were on the island for and when and why they left.’

Volunteers working alongside professionals will record the memories of local people who have witnessed the changes to the popular seaside resort during the past 70 years.

Working with local schoolchildren, college students and elderly residents, the project will create an archive of recorded interviews.

An exhibition at the end of the project in a year’s time will feature recorded memories accompanying small replicas of the beach huts which are a familiar sight on Hayling Island.

Information-gathering days will be held on August 18 at Hayling Island Community Centre from 10.30am to 3pm and September 15 at Hayling United Reformed Church at the same time.

Also awarded a grant was the Acorn Community Centre, in Wecock.

It got £77,000 to transform a 10-acre piece of waste land close by called Billy’s Lake.

After consultation with local children the centre came up with the idea of creating an outdoor area for the whole community to enjoy.

Project leader Ann Waters said: ‘One of their great passions was that those who don’t have a car can still go out for the day together’

The project will improve access to the site.

Workshops will be run teaching fish handling, species identification and bird and bat box construction.

The youngsters will discover the history of the area and test their conservation maintenance skills.

They will also be able to get involved in a range of hands-on tasks including clearing undergrowth, cutting paths and planting new trees.

A grant will also go to creating two new stained glass windows at the Gothic library at Staunton Country Park and research into its history by young people with learning difficulties.