All Our Stories Project
Roy Bishop’s Legacy
This history and accompanying DVD would never have come to fruition had it not been for the enthusiasm and resolve of past Chamber of Commerce President, Roy Bishop. It was Roy who began collecting archive material relating to the Chamber’s history and ensured that the oldest surviving minute book was given over to the safe keeping of Worthing Museum. Roy sadly died in 2013 at the grand age of 94. He was active to the last, and had only recently completed working on the funding application to the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) which made this project – the booklet and DVD - possible.
This history is a result of research that Chris Hare has undertaken, using the Chamber’s minute books and newspaper cuttings as the source. The final section is a personal memoir of the Chamber’s recent history from 1995 – 2009, written by the current Chamber President, Peter Bennett. Chris Hare undertook the oral history interviews that appear on the DVD which can be viewed below with a team of
Worthing Chamber of Commerce officially came into being following a meeting held in the town in 1920, it is rather extraordinary to reflect that Roy Bishop first became a member in 1950 and remained actively involved in the life of the Chamber until his death 63 years later – no one else could claim such a longstanding involvement or could speak with such authority about its history. Roy recalled that when he came to Worthing in 1950 to open a branch of Hector Powe the tailors, “Chapel Road seemed to have a village atmosphere.” He remembered that in those days the town was dominated by family-run businesses and that “life was [lived] at a slower pace.” Cars could park without restriction in Chapel Road and everyone took at least an hour for lunch! However, Roy was not stuck in the past. As Chamber President in 1960, he established an annual business fair that brought all the latest technology and innovations to the businesses and people of Worthing.
Writing just before his death, Roy celebrated the big increase in the number of businesses run by women. Indeed woman now account for a large part of the membership, something that would have seemed implausible in 1950.
This booklet can only give a taste of the Chamber’s eventful history, but hopefully it is one that will whet the appetite for more research in the future. Chris Hare, History People UK April 2015. Roy Bishop 1918–2013
A short version of the Video can be viewed below. For more snippets & interviews a full version of the DVD is available from Worthing & Adur Chamber Office, 17 Liverpool Gardens, Worthing
Thanks to the following who made this project possible: