Interview with former Curator John Roles

Photograph of John Roles | Photo by Zoe Woods
Photograph of John Roles
Photo by Zoe Woods

1. John Roles, Former Head of Collections and Archives at Brighton Museum

“I came [to Brighton] in 1986 as a Curator of Local History and Archaeology in the museum service and have been here ever since. So I’m not a Brightonian per se but I’ve been here for quite a few years now.

When I came the Museum didn’t really cover local history. Part of me being appointed as the first trained local historian was to do something about raising the profile of the town’s history as far as the museum was concerned.

We found fairly soon after I arrived that if you went and asked people ‘Where would you go to find out about Brighton’s history?’ the one place they never thought of coming was the museum, because there was absolutely nothing in the museum that seemed to have any relevance to them at all. So one of the things we set out to do was to raise the profile of the town’s history, and I suppose in a sense the redevelopment of the last few years was the culmination of that.”

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