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£42,000 Heritage Lottery grant to secure archive of Surrey’s forgotten artist whose talents were compared with William Blake

A £42,000 National Lottery Heritage Fund ( will help secure the future of a unique archive of more than 800 works of art that have lain quietly in a Surrey village hall for more than 60 years.

The award, the result of a highly competitive campaign by the Sidney Sime trustees, will bring the talents of this extraordinary Victorian/Edwardian artist back into the limelight as they create a sustainable programme of funding and management to ensure that his legacy is preserved for the enjoyment and fascination of future generations.

Appropriately entitled A Gallery Resurrected, the campaign finally met success just before Easter.

Built in 1956 from the proceeds of the sale of the nearby family home, the Worplesdon Memorial Hall ( houses all 800 of Sidney H Sime’s (1865-1941) artworks, as well as letters, books and personal memorabilia in his wife Mary’s possession, as a permanent memorial for future heritage, conservation, enjoyment and interest.

Subsequent acquisitions include personal letters and 36 caricatures of local men who frequented the New Inn pub nearby whom Sime drew.

A career as an artist, caricaturist, humourist, scholar, philosopher and illustrator must have seemed an impossible dream for the poverty-stricken young man from Manchester who spent his early years down coalmines, but his extraordinary imagination and raw talent led to him becoming a renowned illustrator of books and  magazines  following formal training at Liverpool School of Art.

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