Sussex Blazing Saddles Heritage Project

Sussex Blazing Saddles is a new project by KP Projects CIC, exploring the pioneering heritage of women & cycling since the 19th century. The role of cycling in the suffrage movement and the transformation of clothing and society across Sussex & the UK as a result.

In 2023-24, we’re delving into local stories, creating story maps & cycle routes, running sewing workshops & free, outdoor performances in Worthing, Brighton & Hove, Newhaven & Bexhill.


Have a read of our winter newsletter – early ladies cycling clubs, Heritage Open Days Festival events & how to get involved

Our summer newsletter is out now – – forthcoming events & workshops, 1890s fashion transformations & opportunities to get involved

Welcome to our First Newsletter delighted to share updates, news & events so far here –

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SBS Events for Heritage Open Days Festival Sept 2023 – for info on these, check out our winter 2023 newsletter above

9 SepBlazing Saddles performances in Pavilion Promenade, Worthing as part of Spin Out Festival, presented by Worthing Theatres & Museum & Sussex Blazing Saddles. Shows at 11.30 & 1.30

10 SepBlazing Saddles performances Heritage Bandstand, Bexhill, as part of Sussex Blazing Saddles, in partnership with Bexhill Wheelers at 1pm & 3pm

16 Sep – Blazing Saddles & The Bicycle Ballet Co Taster Workshop, The Sidings Newhaven, as part of Sussex Blazing Saddles, in partnership with SCDA & the Active Travel Hub 10.30am – 12.30pm Limited tickets, more info & booking


Have a listen to SBS Creative Director, Karen Poley, talking about SBS on Radio Reverb 22.8.23. Starts about 13.25 HERE


First Archive Discoveries June 2023

SBS volunteer Irena, has uncovered The First Brighton Ladies Cycling Club set up by Tessie Reynolds in 1894. Find out more HERE

Skirts vs Knickerbockers A surprise for one of our new volunteers when she discovered her grandmother’s role in the cycling rational dress movement.… more HERE


SBS’s Volunteer Call Out is out! We’re looking for history detectives to help us uncover evidence of the impact of bicycles on women in Sussex from 1890s to 1928. This was an important time of revolution for women, when bicycles spurred the suffrage movement, transformed women’s clothing & cause media sensations. More info HERE


We’re delighted to share Sussex Blazing Saddles’ project logo, featuring Brighton’s own Tessie Reynolds who cycled a record, & taboo, breaking Brighton-London-Brighton ride in 1893.



Announcing Sussex Blazing Saddles Heritage Project

A new project by Brighton-based KP Projects CIC explores the pioneering heritage of women and cycling since the 19th century, the role in the suffragette movement and the transformation of clothing and society across Sussex as a result.

Blazing Saddles will aim to reveal untold stories of Sussex’s women’s cycling history, such as Tessie Reynolds, the 16-year-old Brightonian who set new records in 1893 whilst wearing bloomers. Or Bexhill’s pioneering ‘bicycle boulevard’ and bike hire chalet, which opened in 1896, led by Muriel Brassey, wife of landowner Gilbert Sackville, 8th Earl De La Warr, which provided women cyclists a place to exercise their new hobby, despite disapproval.

With support from National Lottery Heritage Fund the project will run from 2022 to 2024, with activities based around four main locations— Bexhill, Newhaven, Worthing and Brighton & Hove.

The project will explore cycling history from 1890s, capturing the later voting rights for women over 21, to present day, addressing issues such as environmental sustainability and the shortage of women cycling— 50% fewer women than men cycle regularly, according to charity Sustrans, stating fears about appearance and concerns about safety.

Blazing Saddles will engage local people in this exciting heritage through participatory public events, open access workshops, bike rides and heritage cycling routes and maps, volunteer archival research sessions and training, online exhibitions and digital resources and more.

KP Projects CIC is a creative company developing national and international outdoor arts projects including cycling, sustainability, healthy living, environmental issues.

Local partners include The Keep, 1066 Cycling Festival, Cycling without Age, the BMWs (Brighton Multicultural Women’s Cycle Club) Bexhill Museum, Sussex Development & Community Association, Worthing Theatres and Museum, South East Dance, Rother Boroughs Council and Newhaven Festival.

The project will provide activities to support women getting into the saddle, from signposting learning to ride & bike repair workshops, to group bike rides stopping at sites including meeting points for suffragette rallies and places of historic relevance, giving cyclists chance to discover more about key figures past and present, and their mark on Sussex.

Costume, sewing and making workshops will also help to bring the past to life for all ages including:

  • Banners
  • Suffragette cycling sashes
  • Bloomers

The Blazing Saddles project will run from 2022-2024. More information soon.

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Thanks to National Lottery Players