Then & Now . . . . . .

Evergreen - - Contents Summer 2015 - Henry Spencer

Any­one vis­it­ing Hor­sham in West Sus­sex af­ter a gap of 60 years is in for a con­sid­er­able shock, es­pe­cially if they are driv­ing a car. The town cen­tre has changed out of all recog­ni­tion and with­out an up- to­date sat nav the un­wary trav­eller could end up any­where!

West Street, an old tra­di­tional shop­ping street, once met in the town’s cen­tral Car­fax with East Street, South Street, North Street and Mid­dle Street. Each, how­ever, is now a shadow of its for­mer self, emas­cu­lated by new roads, dual car­riage­ways and pedes­trian precincts.

The older pic­ture was taken in 1951, when cars turned into West Street head­ing for the town cen­tre but a decade later were driv­ing the other way. Four lady cy­clists are in ev­i­dence, while the school­girls on the right are walk­ing away from the for­mer High School lo­cated a short dis­tance out of pic­ture be­hind them.

The Black Horse Ho­tel was known as “the old kicker” while ad­ja­cent to it is the Ital­ianate corn ex­change and mar­ket hall erected in 1868. Next to that is a high­class men’s out­fit­ters called Apedaile and

then an ec­cle­si­as­ti­cal look­ing shop front advertising At­las lamps. This build­ing still sur­vives.

In the fore­ground, prob­a­bly about to turn right at the traf­fic lights, is a Ford­son van be­long­ing to Gil­bert Rice, the town’s Ford main dealer whose work­shop was just be­hind their show­room. The iron­mon­ger, on the cor­ner, J. H. Stephens, has dis­ap­peared, as has all the traf­fic.

Both pic­tures are taken from the Bish­opric di­rectly op­po­site West Street , both now pedes­tri­anised with of­fice blocks, McDon­alds, con­crete flow­er­pots, benches and a con­tro­ver­sial wa­ter fea­ture called “The Ris­ing Uni­verse”. The im­ages are from Hor­sham, Then & Now by David Arscott, History Press, 96pp, £ 12.99.

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