Emery Down Christ Church Graveyard Survey – Sunday 19th August

RTI3 After - Christ Church Emery Down

As part of the Our Past, Our Future, Heritage Lottery Funded (HLF) Landscape Partnership Scheme the New Forest National Park Archaeology Team have been working with Emery Down to survey the condition of, and record the monuments in Christ Church graveyard. The survey will help accurately map and identify monuments that can be conserved using HLF funds and will ultimately create a database for ongoing management of the graveyard. The other ambition is to make the list of burials and monuments within the graveyard available to the public on this site to help people who are researching their family trees.

As well as hard graft from volunteers we have been using technology to help us reveal the secrets of Christ Church; Reflectance Transformation Imaging (RTI). The process involves taking numerous photos of one monument with a raking light and then letting the computer do the hard work to produce some amazing results. If you are interested in learning more about RTI photography you can do: here. The results produced highlighted how valuable RTI is; as the inscriptions that were once illegible have now been legible, providing a greater resource within the overall survey and documentation process.

We will be returning to Emery Down on Sunday 19th August 2018 at 14:00 to undertake the next survey area. All are welcome to come and give it a go and help compile the graveyard record. If you are interested in joining then email archaeology@newforestnpa.gov.uk for more information.

To see what we have been upto in Christ Church Graveyard to date have a read of the this article on New Forest Knowledge: Revealing the secrets of Emery Down Churchyard

Example of RTI Photography at Emery Down

Exhibition – Maps: The New Forest Unfolded

New Forest Gallery Exhibition

21 Jan – 15 Apr, open daily


Discover the biography of the New Forest and its people through maps chosen from the Christopher Tower Reference Library.

These maps of large and small scale, illuminate not only the landscape but the individuals and institutions that shaped the Forest as it is today.


New Forest Centre         

Lyndhurst SO43 7NY


023 8028 3444


Image: Section from Hampshire Sheet LXXXI.I at a scale of 1:2500 from the parish book: ‘Ordnance Plan of the Parish of Beaulieu. Liberty of Beaulieu. In the County of Hants. Surveyed by Captn Sanford R.E. Zincographed under the direction of Captn. Parsons R.E.F.R.A.S. At the Ordnance Survey Office Southampton. Published by Colonel Sir Henry James R.E. F.R.S. & c. Superintendent October 1868.

Hampshire Travels the World

Hampshire Travels the World

Hear John Pilkington speak on The Silk Road and view archives about travellers

Hampshire Archives and Local Studies

12 March 2019, 6:30pm

The Silk Road from Georgia to Afghanistan: join Hampshire’s own explorer and broadcaster John Pilkington in an exciting journey across Central Asia. In 2011 John followed a spectacular branch of the Silk Road, starting in the Caucasus and crossing the Caspian Sea to Bukhara, Khiva and Samarkand. Then, reeling from the beauty of those legendary cities, he turned south-east to explore the High Pamirs of Afghanistan – a region well-known to Marco Polo – before making a dramatic finale at the source of the Oxus in the heart of Central Asia. His stunning photos and some hair-raising stories will make this an evening not to be missed. John is one of Britain’s most experienced adventurers and public speakers. For many years he was a broadcaster with the BBC World Service and Radio 4, making travel documentaries and contributing to programmes such as ‘From Our Own Correspondent’. But it’s for his thought-provoking, beautifully illustrated talks that people know him best. He has spoken to over 1,000 audiences in six countries, and holds the Royal Geographical Society’s much-coveted Ness Award for popularising geography and the wider understanding of the world. More about him at http://www.pilk.net. An exhibition of archive material relating to Hampshire travellers and explorers will be on display, taking you across the world through journals and other items concerning George Marston, Ernest Shackleton and others. 6.30pm-9pm. Tickets will include a drinks reception and nibbles.

  • Cost £14, early bird deal £12 before 26 February
  • Contact Hampshire Record Office
  • Phone 01962 846154

Click here for more information.

Lepe into History Festival

Explore Lepe’s fascinating history over one fun-packed weekend!

1 June 2019 10:00am to 2 June 2019 3:00pm

Lepe Into History Festival Poster

Explore Lepe’s fascinating history over one fun-packed weekend! With: A Parade and Big Band, Period Music, Theatre Show, Exhibitions, Displays, Remembrance Service, Face Painting, Children’s Trails, and Guided Walks.

(Parking charges apply)

The New Forest National Park Authority, CITiZAN and the Maritime Archaeology Trust will all be in attendance sharing the history of Lepe and celebrating the key role in played in D Day 75 years ago.

You can find out more about the role the New Forest played in D Day on this site here

Library Open Day, Sat 13th Oct

The New Forest’s past can be discovered at the Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library’s Open Day on Saturday 13 October. Situated on the first floor of the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst, the facility was opened in 2004 following the building’s renovation funded by the Heritage Lottery and the Christopher Tower Foundation.


Christopher Tower, who was educated at Eton Christ Church, Oxford, was the author of nine poetry books and travelled extensively in the Middle East. He spent his later years in Athens and the New Forest.


The Library contains one of the largest collections of books, maps, photographs, reports and ephemera on the Forest, available to the public in a single location. It is also home of the Ecademy Project, one half of the team behind New Forest Knowledge.


On Saturday, new acquisitions will be in focus including a sample of the Crosthwaite-Eyre archive and sheet music by the Lymington-based early twentieth century composer, Herbert George Wooldridge.


Staff and volunteers will be on hand to help with enquiries in the Library between 10am and 4pm when members of the public are invited to drop in. There is no need to book.

New Forest Tavern Signs

The Christopher Tower New Forest Reference Library is always on the lookout for relevant additions to its collections. This morning the team was very pleased to receive an album of 1980s photographs of New Forest pubs and tavern signs. Highlights include the Morant Arms, Brockenhust; the Fleur de Lys, Boldre; the Rose and Crown, Brockenhurst; the Royal Oak at Downton with the oak emerging from the Inn’s foundations; and the Ship in Distress, an old pub once run by ‘Mother Sellars’ and figuring prominently in local smuggling history around Fisherman’s Bank. We will endeavour to keep you updated with information about new acquisitions as they arrive.

Snapshot of Historic Postcard

Cataloguing old, indeed new, postcards is both a fascinating and instructive process. It gives one an insight into peoples’ views/opinions/feelings, and the older the postcard, the more interesting it is.

One example is that entitled “Views of Brockenhurst”, featuring five contemporaneous aspects of the village. It is dated the 17 June 1917 and when looking at the scenes one is immediately struck by the absence of both crowds and traffic.  If those scenes were to be photographed today (assuming they can all be replicated), no doubt they would be that much busier.

The writer does not leave us his name, but the card is addressed to “Dear Kate” – perhaps his sister in that there is a reference to his having written a long letter to “Mum” the previous week. We then learn that the writer is at an auxiliary hospital and in a “lovely marquee” enjoying a comfortable bed.  One imagines that he was a member of the armed forces and suffered injuries whilst on active service in that, poignantly, there is then a reference to his wounds healing up but “altogether too fast for my liking”, implying that he was due to be posted back to his corps somewhere in France.

He next refers to his having received Kate’s letter dated some two months earlier, the 17 April 1916. She seems to have suffered from appendicitis, though not badly.  We know all of this detail because of the clarity of the writing, almost akin to copperplate.

The card ends mid-sentence implying that it was accompanied by a second card, or perhaps a note. We shall never know.

One can only hope that our correspondent did indeed make a full recovery and was ultimately restored to his loved ones in full health after the Armistice.

You can find out more about the activities, sites and stories associated with the hospital by clicking here: No.1 New Zealand General Hospital


Southampton Excel Internship, 2017

In the summer of 2017, we were again lucky enough to have an Intern work with us from the Excel Southampton Internship Programme at the University of Southampton.

Hugo Manning came to work with us for four weeks during July and August as a photographic intern. He has written a blog post about his experience with us which you can read here…

Being part way through my Mechanical Engineering degree and having spent time working for engineering companies, I thought it was time for a change. I wanted to explore a bit of my creative side for a summer. Photography is a passion for me, I usually take my camera along to sporting events and occasionally enter competitions. It was a big surprise to me when the New Forest Centre gave me a call to say I had the placement.

There are effectively 3 different techniques I expanded my knowledge on while I was with the New Forest Centre. Firstly was to take high quality photos of items on display in the museum, secondly I explored the realm of photogrammetry, and lastly was to develop a method of scanning large scale maps.

In the first instance, I set up equipment to take photos that were on display. I made a makeshift lightbox and set up lighting appropriately to prevent hot spots on objects and to fill in shadows. Part of this was also setting up a large photography makeshift studio where I could take photos of larger scale objects. This allowed me to further play around with lighting. The larger set was more susceptible to lighting problems so constant tinkering was required to achieve shots like the one below. This made the actual photography and processing relatively simple.

While photographing some objects I found parts of them would appear out of focus even when I was at small aperture so a few of the photos I used a technique called focus stacking which results in a much sharper image across the entire object. Due to the computing power I had at my disposal at home, it was decided that it would be best if I just did the processing from home. This was also a benefit for me as I wouldn’t have to cycle 2ish hours to and from work. In total, I took well over a 1,000 photos and processed near to 500. This all resulted in photographs of 300 items.


Ornamental hunting horn, NF1989.57 – example of focus stacking technique

I said at interview that I was interested in scanning objects to explore letting the user interact with them in 3D space. So, in my second to last week, I spent time learning about photogrammetry, or the dark art of converting a series of pictures of an object into a 3D object. This turned out to be more time consuming a process than I previously thought as I had a lot to learn about photographing the objects in a specific way as well as tinkering with settings to get the best output. Not to mention the time it took to process each file. I left my computer on multiple nights in a row to process them, I think they have turned out great and it was a worthwhile endeavour.

Finally, in the list of things that I was tasked to do and completed, was taking photographs of the New Forest maps. In the collection there are in excess of 5,000 maps. I didn’t get around to doing all of them during this period. I had two different sessions of photographing maps and after each session I learnt an increasing amount. The initial session was a preliminary expedition into the methodology. Some of the results came out looking very good others however did not.

The second session I learned from some of the tribulations of map scanning. Although I was now tasked with producing an incredibly high resolution digital copy so that it could be reproduced, thus the 81-photograph panorama came about. I mention this only due to the fact after a morning and most of the afternoon stitching the photos together, I had two halves that would not meet for all the want in the world. So, after another couple of hours or so trying multiple software packages I found one that would do what I needed. Had I have gone to it immediately I would have saved a day’s work.

Hampshire Sheet LXXII.II – example low res map image

Through all of this I have been supported by the staff and volunteers at The New Forest Centre. It has been a great working and learning environment. It has been great to meet all the people who have a real passion for what they do as it is something rare to find in the world. Given the opportunity to come back and work here again I would.


University of Southampton Excel Internship Programme, 2016

In the summer of 2016, we were lucky enough to have an Intern work with us from the Excel Southampton Internship Programme at the University of Southampton.

Liz Hall came to work with us for a month during August as a Graphic Design and Illustration intern. She has written a blog post about her experience with us which you can read here…

Having graduated from The University of Southampton this summer, I was lucky enough to gain a placement based at the New Forest Centre in Lyndhurst. I worked with the New Forest Knowledge’ project, which is one of a variety of projects that are part of the ‘Our Past, Our Future’ landscape partnership scheme. This project is focused on digitising the collections of information and material held about The New Forest in order to make this accessible online to a wide audience of viewers from many different backgrounds and professions. The majority of my time was spent on the drawing and design of a new logo for the New Forest Knowledge project, producing illustrative documents to ensure the continuity of the project’s visual identity and other creative tasks that cropped up along the way.


As a Graphic design, Illustrator, and Photographer Intern and otherwise all-purpose creative person for the project, my main priority was to get the ball rolling on how the new logo might look.

Working from predefined boundaries and guides of what I needed to incorporate into the design, I came up with a variety of different possibilities. In discussion with the team, the design below was picked as our initial favourite.

This idea incorporates multiple thoughts we had about how the logo should look, and we felt it may present a more modern and academic focus.

The design still uses the integral tree visual, used in the New Forest Centre logo, as the basis of the design; however, these branches shape themselves into the form of a brain. This uses some of the desired themes we aimed to illustrate within the logo design involving knowledge and learning as well as nature. The graphic itself has the potential to be eye-catching and thought provoking, whilst still maintaining a classic and simple aesthetic.

I created different variations of this design, seen below. The version below left shows a thicker more rounded design of the ‘brain tree’ which is perhaps a bolder and more defined variation of the original version. I also drafted a version that included horses, to show a closer link to the original New Forest Centre logo. A final design will be produced following discussion with the rest of the team.

Display cabinet

Using the currently preferred draft for the logo design, I created a graphic to be used for the new display, aiming to inform and explain to the public what the project is about.

The graphic aims to catch the eye of passers-by and spark their interest, bringing them in to read and learn about the project. The words emerging from the roots (Share, Research, Future, Community, Preserve, Heritage, Nature, Inspire) are key aims and aspects of the project, and will correspond to other materials included in the display.


I also spent a week working with members of the New Forest Knowledge team at The National Park Authority in Lymington. The work carried out here was to be used both on the New Forest Knowledge website and for a booklet, giving information on important archaeological sites and showing how and why it is important to preserve and maintain these monuments.

I created simple, understandable watercolour and ink illustrations to show the most common sites that occur in and around The New Forest. These illustrations show reconstructions of the archaeological sites and how they might have looked when they were in use. The hope is that in viewing these reconstructions it will enable people to visualise their initial appearance and therefore understand the importance of the sites in question.

The Centre has been a great environment to work in. Working mainly in the Christopher Tower New Forest Reference library, I have been surrounded by information both old and new, and by colleagues and volunteers who are excited and knowledgeable about the work that is happening and that lies ahead with this project. The wonderful team both at the New Forest Centre and The New Forest Park Authority offices have made me feel very welcome, and it has been a pleasure to work alongside such an enthusiastic and friendly group of people.

Welcome to New Forest Knowledge

Hello and welcome to the New Forest Knowledge blog!

We are delighted to introduce our project which is supported by the Heritage Lottery Fund and part of the Our Past, Our Future landscape partnership scheme led by the New Forest National Park Authority.

You can learn more about us and the project from the About pages, or by visiting our Facebook page

We will be blogging all about our work and what we are up to over the course of the project. We hope you will get involved