‘Worlds End’ in Burgess Hill is part of a thriving community but to Irish navvies who came over to build the railway it must have seemed remote and forbidding.
Living in temporary huts along the line they nicknamed the rural wasteland on the edge of Valebridge Common ‘World’s End’ and the name has stuck, although without an apostrophe.
More than 170 years after the first iron horse puffed its way down the completed line to Brighton in 1841, the Worlds End Association has received approval from the Heritage Lottery Fund to finance a project to create a village sign which will reflect the name and railway heritage of the area.
There will be opportunities for residents to learn more about the history of Worlds End and to contribute ideas for the sign in a workshop to be arranged on Tuesday, December 4, at 7pm in the Worlds End pavilion.
As well as its special connection to railway navvies, Worlds End has a station named ‘Wivelsfield’, which makes the area even more confusing because Wivelsfield village is nearly three miles away.
There is another interesting connection with John Saxby who, with his partner John Farmer, revolutionised the operation of signals on the railway.
Saxby lived close to World’s End at Coldharbour in Wivelsfield before moving to Hassocks. According to the Sussex Archaeological Society’s January 1990 newsletter, he carried out his early signalling experiments at Keymer Junction near Wivelsfield station.
His grandson was John Hoadley, the name known in Burgess Hill by Hoadley’s Corner, and John married a member of the Street family, which in 1898 owned the Victoria Pleasure Gardens.
Geoff Holbrook from the Worlds End Association, said: “We are thrilled to have received the support of the Heritage Lottery Fund and are confident the project will give clearer identity to Worlds End where the name, while it appears on Ordinance Survey maps, is not generally understood.”
The Heritage grant is conditional on the community being fully involved in the project, which will ensure that World’s End remains firmly on the map. Information that will not fit on the sign can be put on a plaque on the supporting post.
If you would like to attend the workshop or submit ideas, please contact the association via: www.worlds-end.com