Cuckfield Museum’s new exhibition shares 150-year history of Horsgate

Picture courtesy of Cuckfield Museum SUS-150528-131959001
Picture courtesy of Cuckfield Museum SUS-150528-131959001
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The new main display at Cuckfield Museum commemorates 150 years since the building of one of the area’s landmark houses.

Horsgate was built in Gothic syle in 1865 for banker Richard Bevan, who was popularly known as “the father of Cuckfield” for his involvement in local life and his generosity with financial support for very many good causes.

Picture courtesy of Cuckfield Museum SUS-150528-132022001

Picture courtesy of Cuckfield Museum SUS-150528-132022001

The house has been an opulent family home, a Second World War billet for Canadian troops, and for 20 years a children’s nursery, before being converted into council-owned flats and bedsits in the 1980s.

Although it is now several years since the last residents left, the house still stands empty and boarded up against vandalism.

The once beautiful parkland is now rough grazing for horses but the expansive view to the South Downs is largely unchanged and a reminder of why Richard Bevan chose this site 150 years ago. Little evidence remains of its former glory but, despite currently facing a very uncertain future, it is still a handsome house with some interesting architectural details which we have recorded in our file.

Its salvation may lie with the Building Heroes enterprise, (www.buildingheroes.org.uk) which operates from the adjoining ex-Court Meadow School (once Horsgate land) and who are hoping to acquire the house in order to renovate it for residential accommodation.

Former nursery nurses at the Horsgate Children’s Nursery were among those to view the Horsgate House exhibition. They were joined by twins Mary and Anna Kelly, who were fostered from Horsgate as babies, and Pete Small, the husband of Ann.

They all first met over 50 years ago.

Cuckfield Museum is open on Wednesday and Friday from 10am-12.30pm, Saturday from 10am-4pm or by appointment.

The museum is based at Queens Hall, High Street, Cuckfield, West Sussex, RH17 5EL. Contact 01444 473630, email info@cuckfieldmuseum.org or log on to cuckfieldmuseum.org .

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