Message from the Editor

Welcome to the Horsham District Heritage Forum Message Board.

This is an area where members can post notices and messages that they think will be of interest to other organisations in the forum.

They can be notices of upcoming events, suggestions for forum-wide collaborative projects or requests for help on existing or planned projects within your own society/group.

All you need to do is to email Mike Burt at:

with the notice/message, together with any images, so that they can be uploaded to the site.

Topic: Forum Publications page

Originator: Mike Burt

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 22 February 2018

A Publications page has now been added to the Forum web pages. This enables Forum members to post details of books or other published material that have been produced, for the information and benefit of other members. Where appropriate details are provided of the cost of the book or other publication and from where this can be purchased. At the moment the page carries publications by  the Cowfold Village History Society,  the Rudgwick Preservation Society, the Rusper History Group, the Steyning History Society, the Southwater Local History Group and the Bramber and Beeding Local History Society.

Please send me by e-mail at: any publications that you would like to advertise on the Publications page including a narrative about the subject of the publication, and where relevant, the cost  and from where the publication can be obtained.

Topic: New Forum member                                                        

Originator: Mike Burt

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 23 August 2019

I am delighted to welcome Nuthurst Local History Society as the newest member of the Forum. The contacts are Nick Cowley, Secretary on: and Derek Bradnum, Speakers Secretary on: Derek is the main contact for Forum members.

The Forum’s membership now stands at 22 organisations and covers most of the Horsham District geographical area and most of its heritage interests.

Topic: Upcoming Talks and Events for September 2019

Parham House and Gardens

Sunday 1 September to Sunday 15 September 2019

“Accents on the Landscape”- Gordon Rushmer One man exhibition.

Steyning History Society



Secrets of a Sussex Market Town, 1547-1947

Sunday, 15th September 2019 10 am – 12.30 pm with Dr Janet Pennington

Meet at the Steyning Centre car park (NOT the Library car park), opposite the church of
St Andrew & St Cuthman, Church Street, Steyning, BN44 3XZ

Discover who did what, where and with whom! Steyning’s attractive timber-framed buildings
and flint cottages hide many secrets from the past – come and discover some of them if you dare. We will be exploring the streets and twittens of Steyning with many scandalous stories, all researched through local documentary sources. There are plenty of stops, and dogs on leads are welcome. If you are easily shocked, this is not the walk for you.

Fee payable on the day – £5.00.


West Grinstead Local History Group

Tuesday 17 September 2019

“The Gatwick story” by John King

Horsham District Archaeology Group

Wednesday 18 September 2019

“Minepits, Mud and Mayhem: recent archaeological work at Horam, East Sussex” by Simon Stevens.

Cowfold Village History Society

Friday 20 September 2019

“When the lights go on again: the story of Cowfold in WW2” by Michael Burt

Nuthurst Local History Society

Friday 27 September 2019

“Teaching the heathens Part 11- the schooling of Mannings Heath’s children in the 19th and 20th centuries” by Howard Malleson.


Topic: Collaborative Projects

Originator: Mike Burt

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 3 August 2019

Horsham Year of Culture 2019- “Horsham District Heritage in 100 objects” update

All thirteen chapters of the book have now been drafted and edited and we are going through the proof-reading and polishing stage as well as bringing together all of the 100 objects’ photographs. The book will be published by the beginning of October. Its launch will be held at Parham House on 7 October, kindly hosted by Lady Emma Barnard. Invitations will be going out during September.

The 100 heritage objects exhibition at Horsham Museum opened on 3 August and runs until 12 October. This is an excellent exhibition, put together by Jeremy Knight and his staff, featuring as many as possible of the moveable objects that have been selected to tell the story of Horsham District’s heritage, with accompanying contextual narrative for each of the chapters covered in the Heritage in100 objects book ranging from Ancient History to Transport.

Do take the opportunity to visit the exhibition and get up close to the Bronze Age skull, the Christ’s Hospital uniform, the mummified cat used to ward off evil spirits, Alfred Shrubb’s running shoes, the fragment of the Victorian copy of the Bayeux Tapestry, the model of the execution by pressing of John Weekes and many more objects.


Topic: Exhibitions

Originator: Christ’s Hospital Museum

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 6 May 2019



Current Exhibition at Christ’s Hospital  Museum: Brangwyn’s Cartoons at Christ’s Hospital

23 April 2019 – 27 April 2020

This ground-breaking exhibition is the culmination of Horsham District Council’s Year of Culture 2019 project to restore seven beautiful cartoon drawings for the mural cycle in Christ’s Hospital Chapel.
Brangwyn’s Cartoons at Christ’s Hospital also feature on Horsham District Council’s Year of Culture Events webpage:


Cartoon Drawing for CH Chapel Mural 1, c.1912-1923. Chalk on paper

Brangwyn Tour & Talk

To book a Brangwyn Tour & Talk visit:

Alternatively email:

Or call 01403 247444.

Booking is essential as places are strictly limited.

Christ’s Hospital Verrio Tours

Tours of the school, known as Verrio Tours after the famous painting in Dining Hall by Antonio Verrio, are offered to visitors to the school by prior appointment. Tours are guided by pupils, and provide a chance to look at the wonderful paintings, buildings and grounds as well as visiting the museum for a talk and a look at the permanent exhibition. A full afternoon tea is provided in the magnificent Dining Hall.

How To Book:

All tours need to be pre-booked and we welcome groups of
up to 30. If you are a smaller group or individual we can
combine you with other groups.
* Please note that Band Parade and the pupils marching into
lunch does not occur if it is wet or icy and we apologise for
any disappointment this may cause.

Contact Us
For further information or to book a tour please contact our
Verrio Tour Team.
Christ’s Hospital, Horsham, West Sussex, RH13 0LJ
T: 01403 247407

Topic: Conferences

Originator: Janet Pennington

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 12 March 2019



Topic: Exhibitions                                                                         

Originator: Horsham Museum and Art Gallery

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 4 September 2019


Below the Belt- Costume Exhibition

This event runs from 4th February 2019 to 14th September 2019

Our new costume display, ‘Below the Belt’, is an eclectic selection of the many types of clothing worn below the waist, taking in underwear, footwear and most layers in between!


Ladies first started wearing knickers, initially called drawers as they were ‘drawn on’, in the 1800s. They were generally worn by girls, rather than adult women, and were usually made of white cotton. As late as the 1880s, Cassell’s Magazine recommended that closed drawers rather than flannel petticoats be worn, indicating that even at this late date, drawers were not worn by everyone. Drawers came in different guises, some with open crotches (easier to handle when worn under large skirts!), and some closed. Petticoats were worn in layers with additional cages to support the fashionable skirt shapes, such as the 17th century farthingale, 18th century panniers, and the steel-ringed crinolines of the 1850s. By the end of the 1800s the cages and petticoats became much smaller and were worn only at the rear, forming the bustle.

As fashions changed, so did underwear. Women’s suspenders were invented in the 1880s. At first they were attached to a belt and later, to the corset itself. Suspenders were recommended by the National Health Society as a healthier option than constricting garters. By the 1920s knickers had become shorter, along with skirts, and by the 1930s both knickers and stockings were made from Rayon – a fibre made from wood pulp that mimics silk. The introduction of the synthetic fabric Nylon in the mid-1930s, alongside the development of new elasticated and rubberised fibres, saw underwear beginning to look like the items that we would recognise today!


Until recently men had worn a form of stocking, or hose, since the Middle Ages. Hose were worn under tunics, padded hose and later, under breeches. Typically hose were tied onto the wearer’s over-garments, or held up by garters. In 1589 William Lee, a clergyman from Nottinghamshire, invented the first knitting machine. This impacted on the quantity of hose and stockings that can be produced as prior to this they were hand knitted and only 6 pairs could be completed by a competent knitter in a week.

As machinery improved fashions began to change rapidly. Cotton lisle, a finely-spun and durable fabric, was first produced near paisley in Scotland in the mid-1850s. Cotton lisle allowed manufacturers to produce finer stockings with a shiny texture. These were the forerunners to the fine nylon stockings that were introduced by DuPont in 1939 in America. Nylons immediately proved extremely popular, so much so that during the Second World War when Dupont turned their factories over for the manufacturing of parachutes, there was a world shortage of nylons that saw them traded illegally on the Black Market. The first appearance of tights, or panty hose, was in the 1940s when film and theatrical costume designers sewed stocking onto underwear in order to the modesty of their dancers. Commercially produced tights and panty hose were introduced in the 1960s alongside with the introduction of miniskirts.


Until the Middles Ages footwear tended to be simple and functional, but by the 13th century fashionable shoes were being produced for nobility. These shows tended to be fairly impractical, for example in the case of the modish poulaines, the longer the toes the higher the wearers social rank. The toes of these shoes could reach 18ins in length, and the ends were attached to a fabric loop so they could be held up for ease of walking. The fashions of the 18th century saw the nobility wearing highly decorated shoes made of sumptuous fabrics such as velvets, satins and silks. It was more common for 18th century men to wear heels, often painted red, than women. This was due to the belief that men’s shapely legs were a sign of beauty. Women did also wear beautiful and elegant shoes, but they were hidden beneath many layers of skirts.

Mass production of boots started at the turn of the 19th century during the Napoleonic Wars. The engineer, Marc Brunel, developed machinery for the British Army that automatically nailed the shoes’ soles to the uppers, greatly speeding up production. However, the most significant breakthrough in shoe production came in from America in 1883, when Jan Ernst Matzeliger invented a machine which could make up to 700 pairs of shoes a day.



Heritage of the District in 100 Objects

This event runs from 3rd August 2019 to 12th October 2019

A major exhibition that will use objects to explore the fascinating and largely unknown heritage of the District. Ranging from a silver desk set awarded for the best sheep, a symbol of the agricultural revolution, the flag of the Unknown Warrior, to a Saxon buried without Christian symbols. Combining objects, photographs and paintings, it will be a real eye opener even for those who think they know the District well.

The exhibition is based on the accompanying book by the Horsham District Heritage Forum and Curator, Horsham Museum, which will be published by the beginning of October.

Splashes of Artistic Excellence Alison Ingram & Cherry Parsons

This event runs from 3rd September 2019 to 3rd January 2020

Small, bright, vibrant Splashes of artistic excellence are on show this year in the temporary exhibition space on the ground floor. Showcasing recent work by:

Alison Ingram: 3 September – 28 September

Cherry Parsons: 8 November – 3 January

A Collector’s Passion – Scottish Oils in a Private Collection.

This event runs from 7th September 2019 to 26th October 2019

Every now and then the opportunity occurs when Horsham Museum & Art Gallery can showcase work that you will never get the opportunity to see again. This is one such event; a private collector is very kindly lending the best of his collection of Scottish oil paintings. It is different, interesting and colourful and not what you would expect in a Sussex museum – but that is what makes the exhibition exceptional in this Year of Culture.

Be Surprised – the Multi-Coloured District by Sarah Duffield

This event runs from 28th September 2019 to 14th December 2019

One of the highlights of the year will be the beautiful exhibition by Sarah Duffield whose paintings have captured in her unique way, the colour, vibrancy and picturesque scenery of Horsham District. Showcasing in public for the first time will be the four specially commissioned views of the District along with paintings and prints for sale. It follows the very successful debut show in 2017 at Horsham Museum & Art Gallery.

Post War Euphoria

This event runs from 9th November 2019 to 11th January 2020

Post War Euphoria?

2019 marks the centenary of the end of World War One. Using dress, paintings, posters, photographs and objects this exhibition looks at how Horsham District marked the end and look forward to a new beginning. Was the hope realised or crushed?

This unusual exhibition will help answer the question by revealing what went on when the bullets stopped and peace had a chance.

Alongside the exhibition a new book will be launched by local author Gary Cooper: Collyers Horsham Grammar School casualties in two World Wars. It will be sold at Horsham Musuem and a book signing event will take place, with dates to be confirmed in due course.

A Flock of Sparrows – celebrating the life of Dr Geoffrey Sparrow; a comic genius

This event runs from 21st December 2019 to 22nd February 2020

Dr Geoffrey Sparrow arrived in Horsham 100 years ago, setting up in practice. Along with his medical skill he brought great artistic talent and flair for capturing life as lived in the District in the 1930-60s. His genius was capturing in a few strokes, on the back of napkins, envelopes and the more formal painting, the humour of life. He follows in the tradition of Rowlandson, but without the cutting edge.

Dr Geoffrey Sparrow was a well liked and respected doctor in the Horsham area and a devoted huntsman – in his autobiography Foxes and Physic he states “in such an atmosphere of red coats, horses, hounds, terriers and old sporting prints on the wall I became thoroughly soaked in the tradition of fox hunting and have always held old Jorrocks’ opinion that all time not spent in hunting is wasted”; he was also a talented caricaturist.

Sparrow was born in Devon in 1887. He studied medicine at Cambridge and St Bartholomew’s Hospital, London. He said that going into medicine was “something had to be chosen…I was offered the law, medicine or the church: didn’t like an uncle who was a solicitor, so that was out; our parson was rather stout and greasy and preached long and dull sermons, and away with that, so there remained medicine.” Sparrow served with distinction as a Surgeon Lieutenant in the First World War. He was awarded the Military Cross along with a number of other medals; although he wrote about his military experiences, he never gave the reason why he was awarded the MC. After the Great War, he moved to Horsham and at the age of 53, served again in the Second World War in both Europe and Africa.

In the post war years Dr Sparrow was a prolific sketcher, caricaturist, print maker and watercolour artist, his subjects largely involved hunting scenes. His fame as an artist spread, and though people knew of his medical background, few knew about his war record and achievements. The Imperial War Museum, London now has his First World War diaries in their collections illustrated by Sparrow with comic sketches. Dr Sparrow died in 1969.