Press Release: Conservation in action, West Dean College students work at the Foundling Museum

Students on the Clocks Conservation programme at West Dean College, near Chichester, have been given a prestigious opportunity to work on a live heritage project at the Foundling Museum, London, as part of their professional training. Students spent the day, Saturday 28 March, in the Public Galleries assessing clocks from the clock collection. Organised into two teams the students dismantled and studied each movement to prepare reports on their condition and suggest options for treatment under supervision of their tutor Matthew Read. Visitors to the Museum were encouraged to talk to the students as they carried out the conservation work. The event built on a previous, successful initiative at the Museum last year.

"The trip to the Foundling museum was incredibly valuable as we were treated like professionals. It was expected that we manage the whole process of surveying, documentation and partial disassembly in teams of three", says Clocks Conservation student

Tabea Rude. "While the day demanded all of my concentration and skill it also taught me a lot about how to communicate with museum staff, with my fellow students and with visitors. It was a valuable experience to help in my future career"

West Dean is internationally renowned for teaching in Conservation (Books, Ceramics, Clocks, Furniture and Metalwork) and Creative Arts (Visual Arts, Making Stringed Musical Instruments and Creative Writing and Publishing*). The full range of qualifications includes Diploma, Postgraduate Diploma, MA and MFA and many are validated by the University of Sussex.

The emphasis for students at West Dean College is time in the studio and at the bench. Conservation students gain hands-on experience working on unique and often rare objects from acclaimed collections. Combined with theoretical and scientific study and collaboration across the disciplines, West Dean graduates are sought-after and many go on to work in some of the world's finest institutions, such as the Victoria and Albert Museum, National Maritime Museum, The British Museum and Imperial War Museum.

The Foundling Museum explores the history of the Foundling Hospital, established in 1739 by the philanthropist Captain Thomas Coram, as 'a hospital for the maintenance and education of exposed and deserted young children'.

"The Foundling Museum is delighted to once again be working with experts and students from West Dean College on our clock conservation day," says Stephanie Chapman, Curator: Exhibition and Displays. "The day gives visitors a unique opportunity to see 'conservation in action' and to better understand the richness of the Foundling Museum's clock collection."

West Dean offers a number bursaries and scholarship to talented students from all walks of life who show potential and commitment to their studies and future career in their chosen subject.

Funding opportunities and study options are in the full time digital prospectus at


Notes to editors

  • West Dean College is part of The Edward James Foundation, an educational charitable trust established in 1964, also comprising West Dean Gardens, West Dean Estate and the West Dean Tapestry Studio. Charity No. 1126084.
  • *Subject to validation.
  • The Foundling Museum
  • All photography is free to use for editorial purposes.
  • Any journalist interested in attending a short course or event for news or review purposes, high res images or information on filming should contact the Media Relations Team.
  • West Dean College is situated on the A286, six miles north of Chichester and within easy access of Portsmouth, Guildford, Brighton and London

Media contact information

For media accreditation or high-resolution digital images, please contact:

Irene Caswell, Senior Media Relations Officer +44 (0)1243 818301


West Dean College and Gardens, Chichester, West Sussex, PO18 OQZ