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: 22 March 2018

I am delighted to welcome Slinfold Local History Group  as the newest member of the Forum. The contact is Hilary Sherwin-Smith  at

The Forum’s membership now stands at 20 organisations and covers most of the Horsham District geographical area and most of its heritage interests.

Topic: Upcoming Talks and Events for May 2018


Horsham District Archaeology Society

Sunday 20 May: A walk around Church Hill, Findon with David Dunkin visiting some pre-historic sights

Parham House and Gardens

Sunday 27 May: “The Midnight Gang” a play performed in Parham’s Pleasure Grounds by Heartbreak Productions.


Topic: Collaborative Projects

Originator: Mike Burt

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 20 March 2018

Horsham Year of Culture 2019

I’m delighted to announce that the Heritage Forum project “Horsham District Heritage in 100 objects” has received approval from Horsham District Council.

A small project board has been set up to take forward the work on overseeing the identification and selection of the 100 heritage objects and the production of the book and associated publicity and public exhibition between now and the middle of 2019. I am very grateful to the following for agreeing to be members of the board: Jeremy Knight, Laura Kidner (Chris’s Hospital Museum); Roger Nash (Rudgwick Preservation Society), Claire Searle (Shipley History Society); Robert Gordon (Friends of Henfield Museum); I am also a member.

The board met for the first time on 16 March and agreed the definition of an object and the criteria for identifying and selecting them. These have been issued to all 20 members of the Forum under cover of my e-mail of 18 March with a deadline for response of 15 May. Members have been asked to submit a maximum of 10 objects, with a photograph and short justification for making the nomination from which the project board will select the 100. The intention is to complete the selection by September this year. The board meets again on 8 June when it will start to assess the nominations made by Forum members.

I am the liaison point for the nominations and am available if Members need to discuss their nominations or the process in advance of submission.

Topic: Projects                                                       

Originator: Roger Nash

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 23 October 2017

Rudgwick Preservation Society Great War Project

We are seeking any information on any serviceman/woman who may have been born in the parish of Rudgwick, and/or educated there, and/or lived or worked there, or their parents did, before during or after the 1st World War, including photographs. We already have much information which we can share and try to improve our number of those who served, or the accuracy of our information, whether they survived, or died in, the war. Please contact us via our website contact page at . We intend to publish a book in time for the centenary of the Armistice.

Topic: Exhibitions

Originator: Christ’s Hospital Museum

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 3 April 2018

 Christ’s Hospital in the 20th Century

29 April 2017 – 29 March 2018 -extended by popular demand until 29 March 2019.

The 20th Century saw dramatic change for Christ’s Hospital as it moved from its small London site of some 350 years to its current extensive grounds in Sussex. This exhibition explores the art, artefacts and stories behind the school, reflecting the huge social, economic and cultural changes that went on in this period.

While such a display cannot be considered a definitive guide to Christ’s Hospital in the 20th Century, it serves to highlight a modern take on the collections it holds. With so much history around us, and such rich collections, the last 100 years can easily be overlooked. The exhibition showcases recent acquisitions from this transformative era including fine art, social history, costume, photos, ephemera and personal artefacts reflecting the everyday life of pupils and staff.

While acknowledging the impact on Christ’s Hospital of two World Wars, the focus is more on the remarkable historic collections that illustrate the school’s key developments and on-going Old Blue achievements.

What was valued by the staff and pupils at Christ’s Hospital in the 1920’s? How were the school’s main events documented in the 1960’s? Why do we collect a loud hailer and which famous celebrities are associated with Christ’s Hospital in this century? The exhibition celebrates and commemorates the scope and diversity of a truly unique, and at times quirky collection, that boasts some 40,000 objects.

Christ’s Hospital in the 20th Century invites us to consider art works by two of the most significant Modern British artists of that era: Keith Vaughan (1912–77; pupil here 1921-29) and Frank Brangwyn (1867-1956; commissioned to paint the Chapel murals 1912-23) beside the work of lesser known artists Donald Towner (1903-85; art teacher here during WWII) and Nell Todd (1909-76; Head of Art here 1950-69). Equally accomplished drawings by Philip Youngman Carter (1904-69; pupil here 1916-21) of the First World War poet Edmund Blunden (1896-1974; pupil here 1909-14) make an insightful comparison with the battlefield pen and ink sketches by Second World War poet Keith Douglas (1920-44; pupil here 1931-38).
This exhibition offers a rare and intriguing opportunity to enjoy a range of objects across varied disciplines – what is often not seen and in storage – is revealed and not to be missed in this remarkable gathering!

Contact Christ’s Hospital Museum for more information:        01403 247444

Topic: Exhibitions                                                    

Originator: Steyning Museum

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 24 November 2017

Special Exhibits

On Show from 10th November 2017

“Childhood Past”

The exhibition looks at various aspects of Childhood within our catchment area including the Workhouse, Creative Activity, Posing for the Camera (some scary Victorian adults with their kids!) and a creation of a Toy Shop window display which includes Victorian Toy Theatres.
This exhibition will run until mid May.

Coming Soon!

“Pox and Pest”

The leper colony and the former Pest House in Newham Lane will be under investigation by the Exhibition Team.

Topic: Exhibitions                                                                         

Originator: Horsham Museum and Art Gallery

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date:  2 April 2018

The Victoria Years – A Dress from Each Decade of Victoria’s Reign

The years of Victoria’s reign 1837-1901, saw many changes in fashion. Just as the 20th century saw rapid changes in styles often in a single year, so did the Victorian era. There were a variety of changes with no one Victorian style dress. However due to the Queen’s mourning for Albert’s death in 1861 of typhus fever, black, half mourning of purple and grey dominated the later years of her reign.

In her early years the Queen was seen as an attractive young woman and whilst there was not the mass magazine and fashion press that we have today, she was seen as a leader of fashion. This was a role she continued to play for many years of her life even when she grew old and rotund – hence her influence of wearing black. Allied to that the advances in the chemical industry in the 1840s and 50s meant that there was a riot of colour brought about through artificial dyes. Today such dyes are a curse because the very dye eats away at the silk and cotton making them very fragile, but that is our concern, not the ladies of the time.

The Victorian era also saw the influence of other countries particularly in fashion. Recent research has shown how the Indian textile producers were ruined by English textile manufacturers, who copied their Mogul inspired “paisley” design, produced it in bulk in Paisley and then sold it back to the Indian people.

The British Empire became producers of raw material such as cotton and silk. British mills converted them into textiles and garments and sold these finished articles back to the Empire leading to chronic poverty abroad and prosperity at home.

At the same time, the fall in the price of paper and stamp duty combined with the rise of education and literacy meant that there was a proliferation in magazines and particularly those aimed at middle class women who had time on their hands. The magazines would illustrate the next seasons colours and fashions. The more expensive the magazine, the fashion plate were hand coloured, the cheaper version a detailed black and white engraving – both explaining the cut, the look and the accessories. As wealth increased so did the rules of society leading to a culture of formality, decorum and cult of good manners. So it would not be uncommon to change outfits two or even three times a day with maids assisting.

However before we get carried away with romantic images of Downton Abbey, millions of people wore the same clothing until they fell apart, they were then were sold on to the rag and bone man or remodelled into children’s clothes. That is why so few working class clothing survives –better to reuse or get a few pence than keep in a drawer.

On a very basic level white cotton clothes were kept white by washing in stale, human urine which acted as bleach! When artificial soap became available people complained about the pleasant smell.

Men’s fashion also changed through the Victorian period, but very gradually.

This event runs from 30th November 2017 to 6th June 2018




Harry Price RI: Reflected

Amazingly complex but also beautiful, Harry Price’s paintings capture the distortions and reflections caught when looking out at a scene through glass. We can see through these distortions to the scene beyond and do not lose the strange beauty of the reflections, which would be flattened in another medium, such as photography.

Harry’s paintings also explore reflections on water and capture its magical and dynamic reflective power. The paintings have an emphasis on light effects and surface translucency. The distortions and reflected images in glass and mirrors often create tensions with the flat surface of the paper itself and find expression in the natural sparkle and surface sheen of the watercolours.

Harry’s painting, as much as possible, tends to be done directly from the subject but the cityscapes have to be developed in the studio using many return visits, colour notations, photographs and sketches as a basis for information.

Harry Price’s work is a masterclass in painting, honed through many years of experience. Harry studied fine art at Hereford School of Art and The West of England College of Art. At Middlesex University he gained an MA in Design History. He has achieved a number of awards for his watercolour paintings including the prestigious Winsor & Newton/Royal Institute of Painters in Watercolour award for the most outstanding group of paintings.

Harry has exhibited widely at various significant galleries and has written articles for several art industry publications. A selection of his artworks are currently held in international collections. Having taught extensively at Coventry University’s School of Art, Harry has now retired and been able to devote himself to painting full time.

Harry has previously exhibited at Horsham Museum as part of the Royal Institute of Painters in Water Colours exhibition. It was clear during this show that his work warranted further display. Horsham Museum is therefore delighted to be able to hold a solo show of work by an artist who is undoubtedly at the top of his game.

Meet the artist Harry Price on Saturday 24 March 11am – 3pm to discuss his work in person. Free admission.

This event runs from 24th March 2018 to 26th May 2018

Metal: The Wonder Material

Metal is all around us. Many of the items that you use, touch, and wear throughout your day will contain metal. Without metal – and the skills to shape and manipulate it to make tools, weapons, and machinery – our world would look like a very different place. Metal truly is a wonder material.

The Museum’s collections are full of items made from, or incorporating, metal. These range from everyday objects such as iron cooking pots and sets of keys, through to artworks, beautiful jewellery, and deadly weaponry. Humans have learned to use the incredible versatility and different properties of metals to create tools, engineer structures, and travel the world.

This exhibition will use some of the key properties of metals, both the common and the more unusual, as a lens through which to view some of the interesting and varied ways that humans have made use of this versatile material.

This event runs from 30th March 2018 to 8th June 2018

Love & Marriage

Never known to miss an opportunity that worldwide media events create, Horsham Museum will embrace royal wedding fever as a great excuse to bring out its fantastic collection of bridal wear and will tell the fascinating story of love and marriage from a Horsham District perspective.

From stunning hand woven silk shipped from China in the 1860s to the flamingo pink wedding dress of a fashion conscious young woman some 110 years later.

This is an exhibition that will appeal to the romantic at heart and for those interested in the rich history that this seminal event in peoples lives creates.

This event runs from 21st April 2018 to 7th July 2018

Averting a Catastrophe – the Story of Kosovo

This major artistic event tells the story of Kosovo through the eyes of award winning artist Gordon Rushmer.

Using the delicate medium of the watercolour, Gordon travelled to Kosovo as a guest of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines to record the military operations and the plight of the people there. Now 20 years on in this unique exhibition Horsham Museum & Art Gallery are celebrating what is undoubtedly a major achievement. It is a powerful, moving but also deeply human story that should be seen.

This event runs from 1st June 2018 to 28th July 2018

RA: 250

Art galleries and museums across the country are joining the Royal Academy to celebrate 250 years of making, debating and exhibiting art at the Royal Academy

Arts institutions across the country are joining the RA to take a look back at their history, and celebrate the artists and architects who have shaped the RA. Horsham Museum & Art Gallery is delighted to be a part of this celebration.

This exhibition at Horsham Museum & Art Gallery will explore the historic and at times uneasy relationship between the Royal Academy and the medium of watercolour, showcasing watercolour paintings by Royal Academicians past and present.

Watch this space for more information closer to the exhibition

This event runs from 20th September 2018 to 17th November 2018


Topic: Information request   

Originator: Mark  Scott

Posted by: Mike Burt

Date: 27 January 2018

Have you any stories about Wiggonholt Common?

The Heathlands Reunited team, at the South Downs National Park Authority, is looking for interesting stories about how our ancestors used the heathland, what life was like in the past and any events and happenings that took place there.

As well as Wiggonholt, the team is also focusing on Black Down, Woolbeding, Iping and Stedham, Lavington, Graffham and Shortheath.

If you have a story, from any era, or know where one can be found, please contact Mark Scott on 07780 991913 or at and he will feed back to the project for all the focus areas.