Permanent Displays

The London to Brighton "Comet"

Contributed by Sue Burgess

Last summer curators at Cuckfield Museum were delighted to receive an email from a resident of Orlando, Florida offering to donate an antique model of the London to Brighton "Comet" coach with four hand-carved horses. It had been made here in England but our donors didn't know when or why it had been taken to America. They just liked the idea of it "coming home". From the photos it was obviously not in perfect condition and seemed to be the wrong colour but we agreed this was an exciting opportunity to enhance our permanent display and we would assess the necessary repairs when it arrived.

London to Brighton "Comet"
Driver and pasengers












Unfortunately the model was further damaged whilst in transit and so the renovation task was quite considerable. However, we are very grateful to local resident Ken Burgess who has painstakingly cleaned and restored the whole model to museum standards, with the horses' legs needing particular attention as they had suffered most in transit. Re-harnessed, and with the addition of a coachman, guard, passengers and luggage, our model now represents Cuckfield's one-time importance as a busy staging post on the Brighton Road and the amount of horse-drawn traffic that passed through each day.

To coincide with the new installation we have imagined ourselves 200 years ago and created a journey in sound from the toll gate at Brook Street/ Whiteman's Green down the hill through Cuckfield to a change of horses at The Talbot or the King's Head before setting off again towards Ansty. We have been helped in this by kind collaboration from Ardingly College Music and IT departments who recorded the different post horn calls and from Matthew Hodson who created the finished CD.
Do have a listen next time you are in the museum.


Cuckfield was an important centre for clockmaking and we are proud to have a number of long case clocks in our collection. Click here for further information on this topic


In the late 18th and early 19thC Cuckfield was a key stage on the very busy London-Brighton coaching route. Our display shows route maps, photographs and an old coaching horn, amongst other items from this period. Click here for further information on this topic


Our Ceramics display shows items from the original Richard Bevan collection and dates back to the early 18th century.

Birds' Eggs

The museum houses a large collection of birds’ eggs collected around the turn of the 20th century by Edmund Clarke of Borde Hill.

Cuckfield Union Workhouse

This was an integral part of the village in the 19th century, eventually providing housing for the Canadian Air Force during the Second World War and then transforming into the main mid-Sussex hospital.  Our display shows aspects of life in the workhouse and a detailed plan of the internal layout. Click here for further information on this topic

Farming in Sussex

Farming has been a key industry in Sussex throughout the ages.  Our display shows farm implements and clothing used as well as some winning cups from various agricultural events.

First World War

A permanent display of items from the First World War including our much treasured Ditty Box which belonged to Lance Cpl George Botting of London Lane, Cuckfield. Click here for further information on this topic

Domestic Bygones

Some items from the 17th century onwards representing life on the domestic front.

The Cache

The Cuckfield Cache is a rare collection of deliberately concealed items of clothing, documents, toys and other possessions found under the floorboards of a house in Church Street, Cuckfield in 2002. Click here for further information on this topic

Fun and Games

A varied collection of toys from the 19th and early 20th centuries.  Children love viewing the miniature cars and figurines, as well as a large Noah’s Ark together with a menagerie of animals.

Caffyns Frieze

A wonderful wooden frieze depicting the evolution of the motor car from the earliest models until 1937.  This originally framed the entrance to the Caffyns workshop which was situated on Broad Street.

Iron Work

From the mid 16th century, Cuckfield’s most profitable industry was iron production and some of Cuckfield’s most prominent families, the Bowyers, the Burrells and the Coverts were ironmasters. Our display shows artefacts from this era and provides information about the families and foundries. Click here for further information on this topic


The museum has an extensive collection of historic maps centred on Cuckfield and the mid-Sussex area.


Research Facilities

In addition to the displays, the museum holds a large number of photographs, postcards and research documents on local history, local families, buildings, businesses etc.  Visitors are able to research their family history and topics of historical interest. We also have a considerable collection of 19th and 20th century books and publications relating to a variety of topics and families in Sussex, including an almost full set of the Sussex Archaeological Society volumes and many from the Sussex Record Society collection. Click here for further information on this topic


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.