A film, to be made in New Zealand and starring ‘an international cast’, is to feature the life and work of pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe.
Called The Guinea Pig Club it will be directed by Roger Donaldson with a script based on extensive interviews with surviving members of ‘the world’s most exclusive Club’ – McIndoe’s former patients whose faces, and lives, were restored by the charismatic surgeon.
The movie has been eight years in the planning, but with casting currently in progress, filming is expected to start later this year.
Photo top: the statue of Sir Archibald on Remembrance Sunday last November
Posted in Entertainment and Arts, History, News Tagged with: film, Sir Archibald McIndoe, statue, The Guinea Pig Club
In the last of her regular history columns for East Grinstead Online Caroline Metcalfe finds out a little more about Sister Ann, the founding Mother Superior of St Margaret’s Convent, who is remembered in the naming of the new road at Meridian Village.
THE name for the new road to the Meridian Village estate built on land formerly owned by the Old Convent is Sister Ann Way and honours the first Mother Superior of the Sisters of the Society of St Margaret.
The sisterhood was founded in 1854 by the Rev John Mason Neale who was Warden of Sackville College from 1846-66. Sister Ann Gream was the daughter of the Rector of Rotherfield, already used to parish and nursing work, and in her forties when Mason Neale approached her.
Some of the first Sisters lived in rooms at Sackville College and nursed sick residents there, but Sister Ann’s father was elderly and needed nursing, so Mason Neale rented a house in Rotherfield for the Sisters, allowingSister Ann to nurse her father and be the Mother Superior of the small community. The house was called St Margaret’s.
The Sisters led a life of prayer but also had some nursing training so that they could go out into the community and assist the sick, especially the sick who were very poor – there was no State health service in the 1850s.
John Mason Neale himself suffered from ‘serious lung trouble’, which was probably tuberculosis, and at that time incurable. Yet when he felt well, he had great energy and regularly walked to Rotherfield and back, some 14 miles each way, to see the Sisters.
Sometimes he went by horse and cart, and once the horse fell, trapping Neale, who was lucky not to be killed, in the reins.
In 1856, Ann Gream’s father died and Neale rented the first of several houses in Church Lane for the Sisters, putting them right next door to Sackville College. Neale wrote of an idea to turn the house at Rotherfield into a ‘cottage hospital’ – I do not know if this ever happened but the comment shows his continuing concern for the sick and the poor left behind.
The setting up of the new sisterhood coincided with Florence Nightingale’s work at Scutari during the Crimean War, and Neale wrote in search of nursing recruits to Mrs Sydney Herbert who sometimes sent him suitable candidates to become Sisters.
The work was very tough – one Sister wrote that where she was staying, the family’s pig had better accommodation than she did – but despite the harsh conditions the nuns did a huge amount of good,setting up a soup kitchen in East Grinstead for the poor, and running a school and an orphanage.
Work on the Convent buildings began in John Mason Neale’s lifetime and he saw the foundation stone laid before his death in 1866, aged only 48, probably of tuberculosis.
Designed by Neale’s friend, the architect G E Street, the Old Convent buildings are considered some of his finest work, and since the departure of the nuns have been divided into private houses.
The work of the Society of St Margaret lives on – in Chiswick, Colombo, Sri Lanka and in Duxbury, USA. And there are autonomous, independent communities of the Society of St Margaret at St Saviour’s Priory, Hackney and The Priory of Our Lady in Walsingham.
So next time you go past Sister Ann Way remember the first Mother Superior of the Society of St Margaret – and all the good women who worked with her for the good of East Grinstead.
Photo top right Bonx Trigwell
Posted in History, News Tagged with: Meridian Village, St Ann Way
MID Sussex District Council has been asked for planning permission for a commemorative plaque to be mounted on the front of Broadleys in the High Street, to commemorate East Grinstead’s Three Martyrs who were burned at the stake.
Thomas Dunngate, Anne Tree and John Forman, who all lived in or near East Grinstead, were arrested in 1556 for refusing to abandon the reformed faith, Protestantism.
At the time ‘Bloody’ Queen Mary was on the throne and wanted the country to revert to Catholicism, the faith that had been practised in England until Henry VIII’s Reformation.
Queen Mary’s wish to eradicate the new religion saw many persecutions of those who would not abandon their new faith, and 284 people are known to have been burnt at the stake as heretics during her ten year reign.
There are already three memorial stones (top) commemorating the East Grinstead martyrs outside St Swithun’s. These are not graves, as the ashes of heretics were not interred in consecrated ground.
The stones were refurbished ten years ago but the incriptions are now worn, and it has been suggested that a heritage-style plaque should be added to the High Street to mark their deaths – although the exact spot where the stake was erected is not known. However the martyrs did spend their last night on earth locked in the cellars below Broadleys.
“Much like the placing of the VC commemorative paving stone, it is suggested by officers that a stone or plaque be commissioned and placed within the Market Square.
“This is a central spot where many people pass, and where groups can safely congregate during tours or educational outings.”
The official unveiling of the plaque will take place this summer which will be the 460th anniversary of the Martyrs’ deaths.
Posted in History, News Tagged with: Broadleys, martyrs, plaque
THE photo above by Simon Kerr shows what is probably East Grinstead’s only example of a type of window known as a Panoptican, set on the building which sits between the town museum and the Sportsman Pub, in Cantelupe Road.
The Panopticon was designed by the English philosopher and social theorist Jeremy Bentham in the late 18th century, and consisted of a circular structure with a watchtower at its centre.
From this ‘hide’ a watchman could observe a large number of inmates without them ever being sure whether or not they were actually subject to scrutiny at any particular moment.
This “see all” approach meant inmates had to behave as it they were being observed, even if they were not. The design proved useful for many institutions including hospitals, asylums and schools, but the use which most interested Bentham was Panopticon prisons which he described as “a mill for grinding rogues honest”.
Simon rightly points out that the point of East Grinstead’s panoramic Panoptican is not immediately apparent as the main object of its view point is the public lavatories in the street below…
Posted in History, News Tagged with: panoptican
WE asked readers on Friday if they could suggest any previous residents of the town who might deserve a Blue Plaque and Simon Kerr of the Town Museum has suggested Mabel McIndoe, the mother of Sir Archibald McIndoe and a distinguished artist in her own right.
Mrs John McIndoe, who exhibited under her maiden name, Mabel Hill, was born in Cox’s Creek, in Auckland, New Zealand on 3 March 1872, and died in East Grinstead on 18 November 1956, aged 84.
The youngest child of Charles Hill, a hatter, Mabel was one of nine children. She attended primary but not secondary school, going instead to the Wellington School of Design in 1886 where she studied art.
Her studies completed, she remained on as a teacher until 1897, the year before her marriage to printer John McIndoe with whom she set up home in Dunedin – where Sir Archibald was born.
The newly-built family house included a small studio and Mabel, who joined the Otoga Art Society, continued to paint throughout her married life despite the birth of her four children.
She principally painted portraits and flowers, and following the death of her husband in 1916, she took over the running of his printing business.
Over the next 20 years, as her children left home, she travelled extensively, including visits to Sir Archibald in America and England.
After WWII she decided to leave New Zealand and settle permanently in East Grinstead where Sir Archibald arranged a home for her in St John’s Road which they called Aotearoa – the Maori name for New Zealand.
See this link for Mabel’s portrait of Sir Archibald as an eight-year-old: http://www.mabelhill.net/picture.jsp?number=1908-08
Posted in History, News Tagged with: artist, Mabel Hill, new zealand, Sir Archibald McIndoe
by Caroline Metcalfe
TODAY the Church celebrates Palm Sunday and the entry of Jesus into Jerusalem, riding on a donkey and acclaimed by crowds who laid palms on the road before Him.
Gospel readings today and this week will tell the story of Christ’s Passion on the journey towards Crucifixion, commemorated on Good Friday and Easter’s Resurrection.
Some of the windows in St Swithun’s church illustrate two of these scenes. Two in the clerestory on the north side have roundels showing The Agony in the Garden of Gethsemane and Christ Bearing the Cross.
(If you enter St Swithun’s from the High Street, stand by the south door and look up. Ahead and to the right, you will see the ‘Agony’ picture, and next to it, above the Choir stalls, the ‘Bearing of the Cross’.)
These north clerestory windows are thought to be late 19th century work, but the roundels may date from the 1940s. A sentence in the 1946 Guide to St Swithun’s Church tells us that ‘the centre quatrefoils are being filled with scenes from the life of Our Lord’.
In the Chapel of the Nativity, to the left of the main altar, the picture on the top right hand side also depicts Gethsemane.
This beautiful blue glass was obtained in 1935, when this Chapel was created, following the removal of the organ to the gallery. Two windows were created in the east wall, and the stained glass was put in. The glass, it is believed, originally came from Ballina, County Mayo, from a mansion burnt down in an Irish rebellion.
The glass was bought ‘with the proceeds of the sale of the second edition of the 1946 Church Guide’, and ‘through the kindness of a cousin of the late Bishop Gore’, who ‘had the glass in his studio for many years’.
These beautiful windows enhance our worship and prayers. The subjects depicted seem particularly poignant during the lead up to Easter. Parishioners and clergy in the past have chosen and paid for these unusual and lovely features in our church.
Posted in History, News Tagged with: Hiostory St Swithun's Palm Sunday
ST Patrick’s Day this week reminded AboutEG’s Roy Henderson that 17 March, 1684 was the occasion for a dramatic event in East Grinstead.
In his 1906 History of East Grinstead, Wallace Henry Hills recorded the story of the East Grinstead Assizes, starting his tale with the reassuring words that “very few, if any, crimes of world-wide notoriety had been associated with the town” – a claim which still stands good today.
The Assizes were generally held in East Grinstead and Horsham during the winter thanks to the the deplorable state of the Sussex roads, and in Lewes during the summer months, although there were variations to this custom.
The Court House stood in the High Street, but at the Lent Assizes in 1684 the floor of the building suddenly gave way while the court was in session and plunged everyone bar the judge himself into the cellar, an event described by a Mr Bachelor, a surgeon in the town.
“On the 17 March, 1684, the second day of the Assizes, a jury being sworn, consisting mostly of Knights and gentlemen, on a trial between Lord Howard and another person of distinction, the floor of the Nisi Prius Court fell down, and with it all the jury gentlemen, counsel and lawyers into the cellar; yet no person received any considerable injury except one witness, who was cut across the forehead.
“The bench where the Judge sat fell not, but hung almost to a miracle. The rest of the trials were held in the Crown Court, and the Sessions House was soon after quite pulled down.”
The building was however immediately rebuilt and used until the last East Grinstead Assizes in 1799.
Posted in History, News
THE footage below is a short film about Sir Archibald McIndoe and his Guinea Pigs and ends with a mention of the Blue Plaque on his London home.
The piece prompted AboutEG’s Roy Henderson to wonder who in East Grinstead deserves a plaque. The Welsh poet and write W H Davies perhaps? Sir Archibald himself or maybe the astronomer Sir Patrick Moore?
We do have one plaque already of course – the one dedicated to the memory of Private Sidney Godley VC which is on the front fact of East Court as seen in the photo above by Jon Game.
Posted in History, News Tagged with: Blue Plaque, Jon Game
ABOUTEG’s Roy Henderson has been taking a look through the archives and come up with these two photos of the East Grinstead Post Office staff taken in about 1910 – 1912. But he wants to know if any of our readers can ID the location above?
Posted in History, News Tagged with: 1910 - 1912, Archive, post office
A new road on the Meridian Village estate, built on land formerly owned by the Old Convent, is called Sister Ann Way.
Sister Ann was the first Mother Superior when the Society of St Margaret was started by John Mason Neale to care for the poor of East Grinstead. So we wrote to Sister Mary Angela at the Order’s Walsingham convent to find out what she knew about the former Miss Ann Gream.
In a collection of Letters of John Mason Neale DD, Selected and Edited by his Daughter published by Longmans, Green and Co. London in 1910 there is a reference to Miss Gream as “the very exact person” Neale had been looking for to run his new order.
A letter to Rev Benjamin Webb written from Sackville College on 1 February 1855 gives a detailed account of the various steps Neale (pictured left with his family) had taken in the formation of the St Margaret’s Sisterhood in 1854.
He had been thinking about the possibility for five or six years and gradually worked it out, having had contact with three persons interested in joining a Sisterhood.
He wrote: “I went to Clewer twice (the Community of St John the Baptist) and learnt all that I could there, and had a long correspondence with the Superior, who is one of the most sensible women I ever saw.
“Before I could do more, it was necessary for me to have a Superior for my future Sisterhood. Her I found in Miss Gream, the very exact person of all others that I could have chosen, just about the right age – forty-five; used all her life to parish work; used to nursing, and most anxious to be employed in some such way.”
The letter continues with plans for a Rule based on that of Clewer, getting nursing training for the ladies and sending them out to parishes to nurse people in their own homes. It also refers to various people he contacted for possible candidates – including Mrs Sidney Herbert whose husband was a close friend and confidant of Florence Nightingale.
And in a second letter to Rev J Haskoll dated 13 March, 1855 Neale was pleased to report “The new Sisterhood gets on famously”.
“Sister Ellen is now training at the Westminster Hospital; Sister Alice is attending to the people here (at Sackville College), but will go to the Hospital after Easter; and one is with her Superior at Rotherfield.”
The Rev Gream was the Rector at Rotherfield and was elderly and frail. His daughter Ann looked after him until his death, so the first gathering of the Sisterhood was in Rotherfield with Ann as the Superior.
And there is a further reference to Ann in Memories of a Sister of St Saviour’s Priory published by Mowbray & Co. Ltd. London & Oxford 1912.
The Sister who wrote the memoir was Mother Kate who started at East Grinstead in August 1858 at the age of 18, and was trained by Neale and Mother Ann. St Saviour’s Priory is at Haggerston in Hackney.
“In the winter of 1854-5 two of his friends offered themselves to the Warden of Sackville College, to engage in any work of mercy, and to devote their lives to it.
He explained to them the plan which he contemplated, and which he presently set down at length, and it was determined, with God’s help, to commence a Sisterhood on the principles there laid down.
A few weeks later the daughter of the venerable Rector of Rotherfield, who had devoted her life to parish work, offered her services, so far as the attendance necessary for her father would then permit it; it being understood, with his full and cheerful acquiescence, that whenever it should please God to call him to Himself, his daughter’s partial offer should be changed into the devotion of her whole life.
Things being in this state, a circular was pretty widely distributed in the spring of 1855. It was received with very considerable favour; contributions flowed in, if not lavishly, at least sufficiently to warrant the commencement of actual operations, and on February 15 1855, one of the future Sisters went for her training in Westminster Hospital.
Till the end of 1855 the sisters did not live in community. One was accommodated in Sackville College, the others in various ways at Rotherfield; and a second Sister having been trained in Westminster Hospital in the May and June of 1855, in the July of that year the operations of the Sisterhood began.”
The above is described as Dr Neale’s account of the Sisterhood’s beginnings. The sisters living in Community from the end of 1855 suggests that the Rev Gream died at that time, and thus Mother Ann and her Sisters finally lived all together in East Grinstead – when not out nursing the sick poor in their own homes.
Photo top Bonx Trigwell. Photo top right Roy Henderson
Below: drawing for the convent dating from 1868
Posted in History, News Tagged with: Mother Superior, Old Convent, Sister Ann
IT will be 460 years this summer since Anne Tree, Thomas Dungate and John Foreman were burned to death in East Grinstead High Street for their belief in Protestantism on the orders of Catholic monarch “Bloody” Queen Mary 1.
But although more than four-and-a half-centuries have passed since they died at the stake for their faith, East Grinstead has never forgotten them, and today fresh flowers had been laid on their memorial stones outside St Swithun’s.
Posted in Church, History, News Tagged with: flowers, martyrs, memorial stones, St Swithun's
THE Town Clock, which was removed for repair work on 21 December 2012, was purchased by public subscription in 1890 to commemorate the 80th birthday of Thomas Cramp and the work East Grinstead’s Temperance movement.
The clock was originally placed on a building in London Road, but in 1955 it was installed on the purpose-built brick tower which still stands at the northern entrance to the town on the London Road.
Thomas Cramp was born in 1810, in Lewes. His father was a veterinary surgeon and Thomas spent his boyhood in Bexhill before coming to East Grinstead as an apprentice to Mr Palmer, the bookseller, stationer and Royal quill pen manufacturer.
In 1837, Cramp decided to abstain completely not just from alcoholic liquors but from tea and coffee too. He drank only water.
He married Miss Jane Pretty, the daughter of a Wesleyan minister, on 25 June 1841 and subsequently fathered five children – Thomas, born in 1843; Mary Jane, born in 1845; a son, Jury, born in 1847; and daughters Harriet, born in 1850 and Sarah Ann, born in 1851.
A diary entry for 1842, written by him, but rather strangely in the third person, suggests the happiness of this marriage, and the pride taken by the couple in their abstention from alcohol:
‘1842 June 5th. The wedding anniversary of Thomas and Jane Cramp’s wedding day. Their wedding was celebrated on the teetotal principle: they have neither tasted, given nor kept in the house any intoxicating drinks throughout the year; they have been preserved in health – no doctor has been near; in peace – no quarrel has arisen; in comfort – no want has been unsupplied.’
To spread the word, Thomas founded the East Grinstead Temperance Society but his fellow townspeople proved stubbornly reluctant to renounce the demon drink and the movement met with violent opposition.
Members were hit with stones in the streets, and Thomas was suspended from the Zion Church and removed from his post as Superintendant of the Sunday School.
The pastor of that church preached a public sermon, to a crowded chapel, strongly condemning ‘the new-fangled craze’ – and as if to affirm his wise words, many of his congregations adjourned to one of the local inns to consider his sermon over a pint.
However eight years later, use of that same chapel was granted for a Temperance meeting. The cause grew, and East Grinstead eventually boasted of one of the strongest Temperance Societies in the county of Sussex.
In 1887, the Society’s Jubilee was celebrated with a public meeting to congratulate Thomas Cramp on reaching his 80th birthday, on 21st April 1890.
He was to celebrate one more, before he died on 18 August 1891.
In addition to his Temperance work, Thomas gave considerable public service to the town.
He was High Bailiff of the County Court, founded the Penny Bank in East Grinstead and was one of the founders of the first Gas Company and its Secretary for 25 years.
Photos Roy Henderson/research Caroline Metcalfe
Posted in History, News Tagged with: Archive, thomas Cramp, Town Clock
THE support of the Town Council for their plans to develop the site of their town centre department store, means the Martell family is now one step closer to moving their business across the road to the old Whitehall building in the London Road.
But as they make plans for the building, they want to know more about its past and what lies behind some of the long hidden parts of the Whitehall.
In particular, they would like to know who rebuilt the Whitehall after the bombing in WWII and whether any original plans exist which show exactly was done to bring the building back in to use.
It is thought the work was carried out by County Council sub contractors as the building was, in part, used as an emergency food centre, but with building supplies short, and skilled workers scarce as a result of the war, it is likely to have been a rough and ready job.
If you know anything about the rebuild, and which local firms were involved, please contact Margaret Martell at the shop.
Posted in Business, History Tagged with: History, Martell, rebuild, Whitehall
TODAY’S archive photo, shared by AboutEG’s Roy Henderson, is of the demolition of the town’s last railway station, taken on 15 Jan 2013.
Below: we’ve had a station or two in our time
Posted in History, News, Travel Tagged with: demolition, Railway station
Mary at the foot of the Cross
TODAY is Mothering Sunday in the Church Calendar and there are some beautiful images of Mother figures in St Swithun’s church.
One is a statue of the Virgin and Child in the Chapel of the Nativity. And the five round windows in the clerestory on the south side of the church all contain images of the Virgin Mary: The Annunciation, the Visitation, when Mary and Elizabeth met, both unexpectedly pregnant, so we have two mothers here; the Nativity; Epiphany and the Presentation of the Baby Jesus at the Temple.
In the Chapel of the Nativity window there are pictures of the Nativity and Epiphany, with Mary and Joseph.
On the right hand side of the church, there is the window depicting the Wedding at Cana. Mary is the kneeling figure on the left, with her head and neck covered by white material, in a medieval style.
In the East window up at the main altar, there is a picture representing Mary at the foot of the Cross, at the end of her Son’s earthly life.
Over the south door, from the High Street, is the window with the picture of St Cuthman wheeling his mother in a cart.
According to legend, Cuthman (pictured top) took his mother east, from the west of England, towards the rising sun, until the willow straps or withies, harnessing him to the cart carrying his mother, broke.
This happened at Steyning, where he founded the church.
A number of the windows or monuments were given in memory of donors’ parents – including the East window. So there is much to think about in St Swithun’s church, this Mothering Sunday.
The Three Kings
Marriage Feast at Cana
The birth of Christ
Posted in History, News Tagged with: St Swithun's
Amy Foulds – who writes Standen’s behind-the-scenes blog – has chosen the stuffed birds in the billiard room as her ‘artefact of the month’.
THIS month I’ve chosen an object I would love to take home and have in my own home – these taxidermy birds which are in the Billiard Room alcove and belonged to the Beale family.
They are brightly coloured, tropical quetzals from South America and their name means ‘large, brilliant tail feather’ in the Aztec language Nahuatl. They’re admired so much in Guatemala that the currency is even named after them.
The Beales’ glass dome of quetzals has a label, so we know it was made by Henry Ward, when he had a shop on Oxford Street at 2 Vere Street.
He only used this address between 1857 and 1878, so it must have been made long before the Beales moved to Standen.
Henry Ward trained one of the most famous taxidermists in the world, his son, Roland Ward (right).
He specialised in big game and had a shop called The Jungle in London where his famous clients included Winston Churchill, Walter Rothschild and Edward VII.
You can see some of his most famous work at the Powell Cotton Museum at Quex Park in Kent.
Winston the mouse on my mantelpiece
Taxidermy was very fashionable in the Victorian era for remembering beloved pets and displaying hunting trophies as well as showing off.
Rich travellers and explorers also brought back exotic species that they had stuffed to teach people about other parts of the world in the days before photography and holidays abroad were common.
But it was very difficult to preserve specimens as fur and feathers are a favourite meal of insect pests, so the art lost its popularity.
People also began to consider the ethics of killing wild animals for decoration.
Nowadays artists like Polly Morgan are using taxidermy for modern art installations and there is a trend not to use animals that have been killed for the purpose of stuffing.
I even have a few small pieces myself – one of which is Winston the mouse, who was originally destined to be snake food!
Article and photos courtesy of Amy Foulds/Standen
Posted in History, News Tagged with: blog, favourite things, Standen
In his latest article Bob Marchant, Museum Trustee and Secretary of the Guinea Pig Club, remembers the Guinea Pig Pub.
MANY of the Guinea Pig Club members have fond memories of places and buildings which have been associated with the Club over the years, one of which was the Guinea Pig Public House which stood on the corner of Quarry Rise and Holtye Avenue (now known as Guinea Pig Place).
Designed by Harold Marsh of Kings Lynn, who had played football for East Grinstead some 20 years previously, and built by Messrs Honour and Sons for Flowers Brewery, the public house was opened by Sir Archibald McIndoe on Tuesday 11 June 1957.
At the opening, before pulling the first pint, Sir Archibald said “In the course of a fairly long career, during which I have done most things, this is the first time I have opened a pub.
“But I would certainly do it again and how delighted I am that the pub has taken unto itself the name The Guinea Pig, as there is no other pub in the country with a similar name, just as there is no other club quite like the Guinea Pig Club.”
Being the only public house in the country, if not the world, to bear this name, and being so close to the Queen Victoria Hospital, it become very well known and attracted many visitors, not only from the UK but from overseas as well.
It had many pictures and photos decorating the walls with reference to the Club and its members, and, standing proudly on the pleasant grass verge in front of the pub, was the pub sign, designed and painted by traditional signwriter P J Oldreive which depicts a symbolic winged guinea pig rising from the flames of a burning aircraft.
Following its opening until the closure in 2007 the pub played an important part of the Club‘s Annual Reunion which was always held during the last full weekend of September. It became known as the Lost Weekend for obvious reasons as it lasted over three days. Members made their way to the pub following the church service at St Swithun’s on Saturday, for a buffet lunch and drinks, sponsored by the Brewery, and hosted by the in-house landlord, the first being Mr Fred Smith and his wife Dora.
For many years a challenge dart match was played for the Max Aitkin trophy between the Guinea Pigs and the Directors of the brewery and this was also the time for the members and their wives or girlfriends to meet up again with old friends, and relax and reminisce over a few drinks before attending the AGM at the Felbridge Hotel at 4pm, prior to the official dinner in the evening.
Like other things in East Grinstead, the Guinea Pig Club Members regarded the pub as theirs, and for those who are surviving, and for those who have sadly passed on, they are honoured that the club’s name has been recognized once again and preserved for the future within the new housing development.
East Grinstead Museum is proud to have within their collection now some of the artefacts from this unique building, including the trophies from the well-fought darts matches, many of the pictures and other memorabilia, and taking pride place over the reception desk as you enter the museum, the well-preserved pub sign.
Photos courtesy of the Town Museum
Posted in History, News Tagged with: Bob Marchant, Guinea Pig Club, guinea pigs, McIndoe
PHOTOGRAPHER Frazer Visser has been going through his archive and come up with this view of the High Street when his studio belonged to Malcolm Powell, and was next door to the quaintly named TEEKOFF Cafe – which was presumably a misguided play on tea/coffee – and Barclays Bank.
Posted in History, News Tagged with: Barclays Bank, High Street, Malcolm Powell, Teekoff cafe
Above: Wallace Hills’ original history of East Grinstead and its surrounding village will finally get a second, illustrated edition. Below right: the old Swan pub which was on the present site of the New York Coffee Shop
A history book first published more than a century ago is to be reprinted.
Its author, Wallace Hills, published the first detailed History of East Grinstead, – which covered the town as well surrounding areas including Forest Row, Ashurst Wood and Felbridge – in 1906, and had intended to publish a second illustrated edition.
Photographs of local scenes were commissioned from Arthur Harding but unfortunately the planned second edition never made it into print.
With the original book now over a century old, a faithful reprint of the text is being re-published which will include all 133 of the illustrations Wallace had selected to appear in his Hills Illustrated History of East Grinstead.
The new hardback book has over 450 pages and a comprehensive index with both original text, photos and illustrations all together for the first time.
The book will be on sale at the High Street Book Shop at the end of March at £30, but pre-orders received before mid-March can be made at the special price of £26 (pay only when you receive the book).
To find out more call Jeremy Clarke on 01342 715830 or email firstname.lastname@example.org to pre-order a copy.
Posted in History, News Tagged with: history of the town, Wallace Hills
Above: McIndoe’s Guinea Pigs arriving in the town for the unveiling of his statue
EAST Grinstead has been a second home for the Guinea Pig Clubs since it was first founded 75 years ago.
But with the remaining members dwindling – there are now just 31 left worldwide – this will be the last year that they assemble in the town for their formal AGM when they meet on 20 May.
The Guinea Pigs usually hold their meeting at the Felbridge hotel, but this year the Town Council has offered to host a reception for them at East Court.
After they have had lunch with the mayor they will go up to the High Street to see the flower beds, one of which will be planted up to mark their 75th anniversary, before going on to the town museum to see the plans for the new permanent Guinea Pig exhibit which will keep their memory alive in the town.
Below: The McIndoe statue keeps the memory of a remarkable man – and his remarkable patients – alive.
Posted in History, News Tagged with: AGM, guinea pigs, last meeting
by Caroline Metcalfe
NEXT week, on 27 February, it will be 108 years since the former Vicarage of St Swithun’s church burnt down.
I have not found a record of the cause of the fire, but once the flames took hold, the water pressure, in the days before the water tower in the Chequer Mead car park, was so weak that efforts to put out the fire were ineffective.
The dramatic photograph of the family and staff (top) standing watching the fire was taken by Arthur Harding (1869-1947), who climbed the Church tower to take it.
The pictures below show people still at work on the rubble, and watching from a hedge in the Vicarage garden.
The Gas and Water Company were blamed for the inadequate water pressure and invited to contribute to the rebuilding, but they declined.
The Vicar at that time was the Rev Douglas Blakiston, who was also an artist.
He had been the Vicar of St Swithun’s since 1871, and was married to Sophia Matilda, nee Dent. They had six children, and in writing about the eldest son, Herbert, biographer Clare Hopkins commented that in their household there was ‘an atmosphere of impoverished respectability’.
Three of the boys had already died, in sudden and early deaths, by 1908.
After the fire, Douglas Blakiston retired: he had lost possessions of his own, and was badly shaken by the experience.
He, his wife and their two daughters all died between 1910 and 1914, leaving only one son, Herbert Blakiston, who lived until 1942.
This building was at least the second version of a Vicarage house on the site.
The older Vicarage was ‘nearer the church’, according to the 1946 Church Guide.
Michael Leppard, in an article in the Bulletin of the East Grinstead Society, wrote that when the Vicar, Christopher Nevill, died in December 1847, Earl and Countess Amherst, as patrons of the living, commissioned extensive additions and alterations for the new Vicar, the Rev John Harward.
In a surveyor’s report, a Mr Back wrote on 28 February 1848 that ‘It would be highly desirable that there should be fire places in three at least of the attics in case of infection and sickness. One might then be used as a Hospital’.
It is not known if this idea for an early hospital in the Vicarage was put into place.
The Vicarage rebuilt in 1848 and destroyed in 1908 was a brick and stone building, with massive internal beams, built mainly at the expense of Countess Amherst (1792-1864).
Countess Amherst was born Lady Mary Sackville, the eldest daughter of John Frederick Sackville, 3rd Duke of Dorset.
She married the 6th Earl of Plymouth in 1811. After his death, she married William Pitt Amherst, 1st Earl Amherst of Arracan, in 1839.
Both marriages were childless. Her brother, the 4th Duke of Dorset, died in his 20s, in 1815, in a hunting accident in Ireland, unmarried and without heirs.
He is buried in the Sackville Chapel at Withyham, where an inscription reads:
‘His premature death was by two Nations deplored as a publick calamity’
Countess Amherst and her sister, Countess De La Warr, became co-patronesses of Sackville College, the almhouse off Church Lane, founded by their ancestor.
Countess Amherst and her second husband lived at Knole, the Sackville family house and estate. The Sackville family appointed the clergy for St Swithun’s after the Reformation.
A new Vicarage was built in 1909, but this, in turn, was pulled down in the 1960s to make way for a new car park. So the Vicarage of today was built in the 1960s, and is at least the fourth version of the Vicarage building here.
Amongst the ruins of the Vicarage that burnt down in 1908, a very old iron graveslab, dated 1616, was found. It had been used upside down, as a hearth slab, in the house.
It was rescued and you can now see it on the floor inside the church, near the lectern.
M.J. Leppard, ‘The Pre-History of Our Hospital’, in Bulletin of the East Grinstead Society 108 (Winter 2012-13), 7-8
Robert Sackville-West, Inheritance, (London: Bloomsbury, 1910)
Guide to St Swithun’s Parish Church 1946.
Two photographs of the Fire given to me by Mr Peter Hunter
http://www.sussex-opc.org (sussex online parish clerks) [accessed 15/2/2016]
http://www.sussexpostcards.info/publishers. [accessed 15/2/2016]
Posted in History, News Tagged with: 1908, Caroline Metcalfe, Vicarage fire
ON 14 August 1929, the Geraldton Guardian and Express recorded that Mr Orlando Thomas Kinsey of East Grinstead, and the oldest of the Metropolitan Police’s pensioners, had recently celebrated his 100th birthday.
He had joined the Mounted Police Force 70 years previously and at that time, had been a pensioner for more than half a century.
One of 21 children, he had been born in Suffolk and stood “over six feet tall” – which was perhaps why he had been chosen for special duty to welcome Princess Alexandra when she had arrived in England for her proposed marriage to King Edward.
He was also the first mounted policeman to be charged with directing traffic through Hyde Park.
But Orlando was not the only Kinsey of note in the town. His son, Edgar Orlando Kinsey, was a photographer based in Railway Approach who took many views of the town and its surrounding area.
The 1901 census found the Kinsey family living in South Wimbledon. Orlando was retired and Edgar was living with his parents and earning a living as a self-employed photographer.
Orlando, by then a “patriarchal figure with a flowing white beard”, moved to Moreton Road in East Grinstead just before WWI.
Edgar was already well-established in the town having bought a picture-framing business at 24 Glen Vue Road (now Railway Approach) of which he was in charge by 1906. There he took up portrait photography and began recording life in the town around him.
Many of his picture postcards were views but others recorded town events such as fetes and fairs, and some of his cards were delicately tinted.
He remained at his studio in Railway Approach until about 1930 when the building was burnt down. But in the meantime he had set up in a second premises in Middle Row where he was still working as a picture framer until the outbreak of WWII, when he moved to Tunbridge Wells.
But by 1950 he had moved back to East Grinstead where he lived until his death in about 1970.
To read more about Edgar, and his father, see the site for Sussex Postcards, which is a great resource for anyone interested in postcards from around the county: http://www.sussexpostcards.info/publishers.php?PubID=167
Posted in History, News Tagged with: Kinsey, photographer, photos, postcards
Words and pictures below by Caroline Metcalfe
VALENTINE was probably a Christian martyr in Ancient Rome, but there may have been two Valentines.
One was a priest put to death on the orders of the Roman Emperor on the Flammian Way at Rome in the 4th century, another was Bishop of Terni, in Umbria in Italy and it is possible that their two stories have become combined.
There is also a female St Valentina, a virgin martyred in Palestine on 25 July AD 308.
But these legends do not explain the link with the custom of choosing a partner and sending ‘Valentines’.
The Dictionary of Saints concludes that this tradition apparently arose from the old idea that birds begin to pair on 14 February, but admitted there may be ‘a more remote pagan significance’.
In the 1380s, Geoffrey Chaucer wrote The Parlement of Fowles, about birds looking for love. The story includes these lines:
‘For this was on seynt Volantynys day
Whan euery bryd comyth ther to chese his make’
(For this was on St Valentine’s Day
When every bird comes to choose his mate).
St Valentine was not necessarily commemorated on 14 February in the 14th century. Chaucer may have written this tale to celebrate the marriage of King Richard II, who ruled from 1377 to 1399, and his first wife, Anne of Bohemia. Both were aged 15 to 16, when Richard II married Anne in Westminster Abbey on 20 January 1382, where they were both crowned 2 days later.
In St Swithun’s church, there are many monuments to couples who wished to be remembered together after their deaths.
The oldest is the monument with rescued fragments of the fifteenth-century monument to Dame Kathryn Grey and her two husbands, Sir Thomas Grey, knight and banneret, and Richard Lewkenor Esquire of Brambletye.
Katherine’s second husband gave lands to pay for a chantry priest to sing masses for the souls of the dead, and requested the founding of an almshouse for three poor men. Katherine wished the almshouse to be completed and wanted her monument to display her own coat of arms with those of her two husbands.
Two very old iron grave slabs commemorate two wives and their late husbands. One reads: HERE LYETH ANNE BARCLAY SOME TYME WYFE UNTO HENRY BARCLAY DOCTOR OF LAWE DECEASED THE 12 OF MAY 1570.
The other: HERE LYETH BURYED FRANCIS HASELDEN LATE WYFE UNTO JOHN HASELDEN OF HAL YE DAUGHTER UNTO HUMFRY COVERT ESQVYRE WHO DYED AUGUST 26 ANNO 1616.
The Sackville Compton funeral hatchment (the first by the south door) commemorates Charles Sackville, (1643-1706) 6th Earl of Dorset, and his second wife, Lady Mary Compton, who died before him, after only six years of marriage, in 1691.
The next funeral hatchment on the south wall of St Swithun’s church commemorates George Neville, 1st Earl and 15th Baron of Abergavenny, who died in 1785, aged 58, and his wife, Henrietta Nevill, nee Pelham, who predeceased him and died in 1768, aged 38.
The least ‘romantic’ monument is the old gravestone, mounted near the Vicar’s vestry: ‘In the cold ground she now is laid, it’s for a debt she now hath payd, it is a debt none can outstand, but must be payed upon demand’. This is for Mary Newnan, wife of John, in 1737.
Other examples of couples remembered together include the East Window (Hardman, 1879), given by Elizabeth H. Clarke in memory of her parents.
A window in the North aisle was given in memory of Peter Moir (d. 1895) and Margaret (d. 1899) by their three daughters.
The pretty monument on the north wall to Mrs Lucy Leach who ‘fell asleep in Jesus’ was given by her husband.
The reredos and main altar were given by the Rev’d C. Leslie Norris in memory of his late wife in 1928.
A number of monuments to the Cranston, Payne and Crawfurd families remember husbands and wives together.
Near the altar, on the left hand side, is a memorial to Gibbs Crawfurd, ‘in pious and afffectionate Regard’ from his wife Anna ‘who had the misfortune to survive him’.
The church doors nearest the High Street were given in memory of Wiliam Alston and Ellen Head, and the St Cuthman window over that door in memory of Alice and Arthur Gunning.
The East Windows in the Memorial Chapel were given in memory of Major Herbert and Dame Jeanie Lucinda Musgrave.
Two tablets on the North wall commemorate Lieutenant General Sir George MacMunn and his wife. She ‘knew the conclusion of the whole matter’, according to the inscription.
Some of these examples suggest great grief. Dame Katherine Grey appears to be concerned with status, but also the good works that her husband began. Other memorials have a more matter of fact dedication, and some just seem quirky to us, now.
Most of us are unlikely to have grand monuments made in our memory, but our Church is connected with love of many kinds – Divine love, family love, love of our fellow men and women, as well as romantic love.
Perhaps the poet Philip Larkin was right: ‘What will survive of us is Love’.
Posted in History, News
by Jessica Hadfield
CONTINUING with the theme of the town’s markets to accompany our latest special exhibition Remembering East Grinstead’s Markets and Fairs we are sharing images of the Cantelupe Road market which are all from one of the latest acquisitions to our collection – a series of images taken by well-known town photographer Mike Champion.
Mike Champion was Chief Photographer for a local newspaper for 20 years from 1968 to September 1988, and among the photographs he has donated from his personal collection are many images capturing well-known local scenes and landmarks, as well as events and happenings from days gone by.
The selection below, which dates from 1981, shows a bustling market on Old Market Yard in Cantelupe Road, now the exact location of the Museum’s premises.
Our honorary Keeper of Photography, David Gould, is busy working his way through the collection so you can expect to see more of them over the coming months.
You can find out more about the history of the Cantelupe Road Market in our exhibition which runs until 22 May.
- Do you recognise anyone in Mike’s photographs?
Posted in History, Museum Mysteries, News Tagged with: Cantelupe Road, old Market Yard