Summer Display

Trading Places

Contributed by Sue Burgess

Although the outline of Cuckfield’s High Street buildings looks much as it did a hundred years ago and more, the trade carried on in them has changed beyond all recognition.  

An old coaching inn, the colourful King's Head Hotel in the 1970s
Converted into apartments when it ceased trading as a pub

 

The butchers, bakers, ironmonger, dairy, cobbler, haberdasher, grocers, clock maker and banks have been slowly but steadily replaced by boutique clothing, cafés, estate agents, hairdressers, dentists, beauticians, tea rooms and lifestyle stores. Several shops and businesses have been converted to residential use, such as Stephen Knight’s extensive builder’s yard at Whiteman’s Green and The King’s Head, one of the original coaching inns.

Knight's Ironmongers, famous for the range and variety of stock
The shop window now a seating area for Beauty Within

 

Older residents can remember when it was possible to meet almost all household shopping needs in Cuckfield but people are much more mobile now than even 50 years ago, far fewer are employed locally, small independent shops can’t compete on price with national names and all the main supermarkets deliver.   For those new to the village, and for anyone interested in social history, this is an opportunity to see just how much Cuckfield trade has altered since the days when it was the centre of a much slower pace of life.

From L to R: Win and Frank Seldon with employee Alfred Berry outside the shop. They took great pride in elaborately decorating the window for both national and seasonal events.
The premises today

 

 

Images from the Museum’s extensive photo archive will show how some premises are still instantly recognisable despite their dramatic change of use and we aim to bring the past to life with items from our collection  that would have been familiar to previous generations  of Cuckfield’s residents.

 

Cuckfield Wooden Spoons

Brighton University Design & Craft First Year students have made these spoons from sycamore, ash, hazel wood cut from New England Wod earlier this year.

 
 

Their tutor is also manager of the Woodlanders (www.cuckfieldwoodlanders.com) an enthusiastic community volunteer group which meets every Monday morning to undertake practical work in the woodan and help and maintain the beauty of this special place

 

If you are interested in this or any other Cuckfield topics, why not visit us in the museum. Click here to see our opening hours.

 

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