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Daryl surrounded by exhibits.

Ever since he first started collecting James Bond merchandise in 1979, the majority of Daryl Burchmore’s archive has remained in storage. His continually expanding collection contains a wide assortment of items; from the original Ian Fleming novels to movie collectibles detailing the secret agent’s 38 year screen incarnation. While the eye catching (and rare) poster designs, toys and movie props have remained hidden from view, it has always been Daryl’s dream that one day his collection would be on public display, allowing others to share in his hobby.

The Towner Art Gallery and Local History Museum in Eastbourne gave Daryl the chance to finally realise this ambition. During the mid 1990’s this innovative gallery, housed in a former 18th century manor house, maintained a policy of showcasing local people’s hobbies and collections amongst the more traditional works of art.

It was after a visit to one such display (of Silver Jubilee souvenirs) in August 1995, that Daryl approached the Towner  with the proposal of a 007 exhibition. As a Bond fan herself, assistant curator Catherine Tonge was enthusiastic about the idea and arranged to view Daryl’s collection. Despite his forewarning, nothing had prepared Catherine for the scale of Daryl’s James Bond archive! Until now, the Towner had exhibited individual’s collections in one or two glass cases. Catherine concluded that an entire gallery would be needed for the 007 items!

Towner Art Gallery

The exhibition was set to open in December, coinciding with the release of the new Bond movie, ‘Goldeneye’. This was the first 007 film in 6 years. And since this was also Pierce Brosnan’s debut in the series, there was already intense interest from both the media and the public in the super spy at this time. It was the organizers hope that this excitement would extend to the exhibition. The Towner contacted movie legends MGM/UA (distributors of the Bond films) who sanctioned the staging of the event. The publicity machine then shifted into overdrive. For the next three months press releases were sent to the national and local newspapers, television and radio stations, not forgetting the various James Bond fan clubs. What had started off as a simple suggestion from Daryl had snowballed into a major media event!

Catherine Tonge interviewed for the documenatry

A week before the opening day, Daryl began the careful transfer of over 2000 items from his collection to the Towner. Under the supervision of Catherine Tonge, the gallery’s staff had the unenviable task of arranging the delicate objects for display.

Listen To Daryl’s comments on viewing the exhibition for the first time. (210 kb mono .wav file)

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Exhibition Poster Art

To mark this unique 007event, a Gala opening had been arranged for Saturday 9th December, 1995. The guest of honour was none other than Bond celebrity Desmond ‘Q’ Llewellyn. Desmond lived locally and had previously appeared with Daryl in a James Bond documentary made for French television. Also invited to the opening was Anthony Chamberlain Brothers. In 1962, Tony was Sean Connery’s stand-in on the set of ‘Dr. No’.

Daryl’s family and friends, together with the Mayor of Eastbourne, local councilors and die hard James Bond fans gathered in the Towner’s Long Gallery, surrounded by 33 years of Bond history. Desmond Llewellyn gave the guests a brief insight into the making of ‘Goldeneye’ before declaring the ‘marvellous’ exhibition open

After touring the displays Desmond obliged his many fans at the Towner by signing autographs. Later he joined Tony Brothers and Daryl in posing for the assembled press photographers.

L to R: Desmond Llewelyn, Tony Brothers & Daryl Burchmore

‘From Eastbourne With Love’ proved to be an instant hit with visitors from day one. Popular exhibits included the fibreglass wheel from the ‘Living Daylights’ Land Rover stunt, two mineworkers costumes from ‘A View To A Kill’ (1985) and a  unique (unless you know differently...) pair of James Bond shoes, dating from the release of ‘Thunderball’ in 1965.

For Daryl, one of the highlights of ‘From Eastbourne..’ was meeting with many of the exhibition’s visitors. He was often at the Towner to answer questions about the displays and his hobby.

The gallery’s visitor’s book makes for fascinating reading. Littered with quotes from fans from around the world, it appears that the exhibition, just as the celluloid adventures of Mr. Bond, appealed to a broad cross-section of society.

The Exhibition

For the general public, those who had  grown up with the films of Sean Connery or Roger Moore, the visit to the Towner had been a nostalgia trip.  For fellow Bond enthusiasts the event offered a rare chance to compare and contrast their own collections against that of Daryl’s. And to the youngsters it served as an exciting introduction to the world of Mr. Bond, the  not-so-secret agent who had been thrilling the world since the publication of ‘Casino Royale’ in 1950.

Visitor's book

By the time that the exhibition closed it’s doors in January 1996, over 4000 people had visited the gallery.

‘From Eastbourne With Love’ was the first and only time that Daryl’s collection (in it’s current form) would be seen by the public.

Although Daryl continues to collect 007, a small selection from his archive formed part of the UK’s first major James Bond sale held at Christie’s Auction House, in 1998. 

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