Crowborough in old picture postcards

Crowborough in old picture postcards

:   Malcolm Payne
:   Sussex, East
:   United Kingdom
:   978-90-288-5351-5
:   80
:   EUR 16.95 Incl BTW *

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Fragmenten uit het boek 'Crowborough in old picture postcards'

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Most visitors to the town ask about the name Crowborough. As there is no definite documented background to the name we can only make an educated guess. The very earliest mention of the name has it as 'Crouberge', and this is in some 'Custumals' of 1285, which appear to have been copied from earlier writings. They are published in Sussex Record Society book, volume LVII, if you wish to re ad the full record. As the 'berge' part of the name is constant we can be fairly sure this refers to our Beacon Hili, which was once used for beacon fires. As to the 'Crou' element, this is debatable but most probably never refers to the solitary bird, even though it is used as our emblem. In 648 a King Cenwald is recorded in the Anglo Saxon Chronicles as having given a kinsman a piece of Ashdown Forest. It is possible the name came down through history , originally as Cenwald's Berge or hill, and gradually changed, being passed-on orally until it emerged in the 13th century as Crouberge.

It could be possible that the use of the top of the hili as a beacon site from very early times prevented other building or development. A number of

hamlets and small villages grew up around the foot of the Beacon Hill, and these gradually grew larger and knit together over the years to form what we now knowas Crowborough and Jarvis Brook. There is little of the Brook in th is particular book but it is hoped a follow-up edition will give a better chance for this.

With our area being shown as good for those who were recuperating from illness by Dr. Leeson Prince's book, 'Crowborough Hill', in the 1890's, and the earlier opening of the railway at Jarvis Brook, the whole pi ace began to grow. Tourists coming in found little accommodation but this was soon rectified as hotels were built, and boarding houses sprang up all around the area.

Early in the 19th century Edward Frisby Howis had built his mill ponds in the Warren area, and planted acres and acres of trees, with an outlook to the future. He can be considered as our first developer. On his ponds and land later tourists enjoyed the scenery, and in its heathland setting of Ashdown Forest it was considered 'a !ittle bit of Scotland in England' .or so the advertizers said.

From the photographs in th is baak we will be able to put flesh on the bones of the few words of introduction. We can see who the people were, what they looked like, how they worked, played, or put their energies into some voluntary activity. In the very early days, shops were run in front rooms of cottages, and stocks were very varied. From the very beginning. there would have been some grocery suppliers, and even the pubs sold a variety of goods besides beer.

Some old ale houses originally made their own beer, and of course in the steam age, any business that used coal also sold it for dornestic fires. lt seems the last to come were the butchers' shops; this was mainly because many people kept and killed their own pig in the back garden. This went on until legislation bid that pigs were only killed in licensed slaughter houses. You could then send your pig to be killed. and if you could not preserve a whole animal, the butcher would buy part from you. This meant a whole erop of pork butchers opening for business.

lt will be seen that once the building of Crow-

borough was set in style, it has changed Iittle , basically, over the years. This is in the shopping centre. Outside of this, whole are as th at we re once horticultural nurseries, farms, woodlands, and even large gardens, have now become sites for housing development. In these photographs we can see how some of those changes came about, how our forefathers lived, and how they went ab out their business, be it shopkeeping, schooling, or just plain enjoying themselves.

There will be some of you who will be able to remember it as shown in the pictures, some who will be able to say, 'there is one of my relations', or, 'rny old house' or 'shop'. Some of you will be able to see your house or shop as it used to beo Most of all, there will be many who can identify the pl aces today. lt is, in a way, a pictorial history of the growth through the early days of photography. In whichever way you see it, I would like you to enjoy that experience, for it is for this very idea th at I share sorne of my collection of old postcards and photos.

Maleolm Payne

1. Chapel Green, once the hub of the area, which was composed of small villa ges and ham lets. In the background is Charity Farm House, purchased by the Sir Henry Fermor Charity, with land, to provide funds to run the charity school. Misuse of farmer funds had brought in the Charity Commissioners to divide funds for school and church.

2. Beacon Road from the Camp Gates is one wide sweep of view in 1915. To the right is now covered with tree growth, and to the left the fields we see here are filled with houses.

3. Walks on the common and golf course attracted many visitors. The house seen here is now surrounded by trees, and its viewing belvedere, seen white and shining on top, was on ce used to get a good view of the coast.

4. A general view across East Sussex towards the sea. It shows how little tree cover there was; one could see for rniles, and to the south the glistening sea was visible. Roving cattle and sheep grazed away young shubby growth.

5. Crowborough Beacon Golf Club as it was when the new building opened in 1907. A few years later Sir Arthur Conan Doyle was captain here; his house 'Windlesham' being on the edge of the golf course at Hurtis HilI. He dwelt here from 1907 until his death in 1930.

çolj Ctub J(ouse ~ Einks, Crowborouçh.


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6. The Golf Club House in 1905, two years before it was demolished. Plans for this building and the laying-out of the course began in 1885. By 1907 it was decided it was too smal! forthe membership.

7. A bridge on the golf course, built ofJocal sandstone, was thought pretty enough to grace a Christmas card. It is stiJl there today, although much grown in and dilapidated.

8. Louth and Squibbs shop in Croft Raad in 1907. While the lower part of the building is of brick, as a whole it has a temporary look. However it still stands but probably not for much langer as the site is up for development.

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