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 Current issues

November 2011

Guided Tour – our first step forward

by David Moore and Peter Stokes

Nigel Friswell first announced our new town guiding initiative in the February 2012 Newsletter. The initial training session got underway with an experienced and qualified town guide from Bury St Edmonds on the 10th March 2012. This was followed by some local training sessions by experts on the history and features of Horsham and we are indebted to Annabelle Hughes, Susan Djabri and Jane Bowen for their help.

Our first official guided tour took place on Monday, the 10th September 2012, when we met up with fourteen members of the Society at the bandstand in Carfax. Fortunately, the weather was kind for us so, in accordance with usual practice, Nigel took the mandatory photograph of the group before we set off on our tour.

The following people kindly volunteered to act as our guinea pigs for the trial run.


Pam Lynch

Rod Cuming

Pam Barfield

Peter & Dulcie Lusher

Michael Jarvis

Jenny Faulkner

Margaret Cornwell

Sandra and Mal Baker

Wendy & Frank Hall


Ernie & Ann Draper


Once the photo had been taken, we divided into two groups of seven and set off with gusto. The tour attempted to cover the central part of the town, the Forum, Causeway and St Mary’s Church. One group also went up North Street and into the park. We spent about an hour and a half on the tour and the time seemed to fly.


We, the guides, certainly enjoyed ourselves and we hope that the members did as well. If any of those who came on the tour have any suggestions as to how the tour could have been improved, please contact Nigel Friswell. Any comments will be welcomed.


The Horsham Society Town Walk

by Michael Jarvis

Seventeen members of the Society met at the Bandstand in Horsham’s Carfax.  Nigel Friswell had come to photograph the group but was unable to stay for the walk itself.  The party was split into two groups led respectively by David Moore, Chairman of the Society and Peter Stokes. I was in David’s group.  From the conversations it was apparent that all our group had lived in Horsham for a number of years, resulting in many occasions of  “I remember when  - - “  could be heard!

Our route from the Carfax was via Crown Alley and West Street to The Rising Universe, then by the Bus Station, The Forum, The Garden of Remembrance to St. Mary’s Church; along Causeway to Market Square and back to The Carfax.  By common consent we then carried on into Chart Way with a short foray into North Street before turning off into the Park and the Garden of Human Nature,  We returned to the Carfax via the subway and Medwin Way.  By arrangement, the other group took an alternative route and we passed them only once (in The Causeway).

In West Street we were reminded to “look up” above the shop fronts to see the interesting building styles; midway our attention was drawn to the Town Trail plaque and reference was made to the origins of the name “Swan Walk”.  At the Rising Universe the recurring problems and maintenance costs were mentioned with HDC’s options about replacement, and our opinions were sought. Approaching The Forum we were reminded of what had been there previously, including a Doctors’ Surgery, a bus station and Tanbridge School.  At The Forum itself the continuing problems of leakage and drainage were mentioned.  The Council are responsible for maintenance whilst the ownership remains with Sainsbury’s.  It was agreed that the space is largely wasted.  We then moved on to the Garden of Remembrance and stopped briefly at the War Memorial.  At St. Mary’s, some adverse opinions were expressed regarding the stonework used for the recent extension before we moved on to Causeway where we were told to look out for the varying building styles, from timber framed to 21st century, with reference to some not being all they purported to be!   Our attention was also drawn to the Manor House and the Dutch styled building at the head of Causeway.  Discussion ensued regarding the latest plans for the Town Hall. Consensus was mostly in favour of its use as another eating establishment.  Back in the Carfax we looked at the revitalised Kings Head and at various timber framed buildings that have survived, albeit with their origins largely now hidden.  Some still retain their Horsham stone roofs.  Reference was also made to the twitterns that lead off from the Carfax and elsewhere.

Moving on, we talked a little about the background to the retention of the spire of St. Mark’s Church with uncomplimentary views of the modern buildings now surrounding it.  We noted the Victoria Fountain then in North Street the future of The Capitol was discussed.  Reference was made to the early buildings nearer the railway station, before we turned into the Park and the Human Nature Garden, (and the one occasion when we faced a light but brief, shower).

Returning to the Carfax David told us of the revised Town Trail pamphlet in preparation and invited comments about the walk.  We thanked David for leading us before we dispersed our various ways.

One practical and personal observation is a common problem with outdoor guided tours.  The natural instinct is for a speaker to look at his subject when talking but in a noisy outdoor environment it is essential that he or she faces the audience when talking.  We were a small group and this was not a serious problem but would be with larger numbers.  Guides also need to wait for the whole group to be assembled at each stopping point.

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