Relics of town’s history saved from tip fate

Paul Padgham and Simon Weatherstone with the Kings Head sign
Paul Padgham and Simon Weatherstone with the Kings Head sign

Workmen have given a museum a helping hand to rescue relics of what is believed to be Burgess Hill’s oldest pub.

The site of the closed Kings Head in London Road is destined for new homes, but Burgess Hill Local History Society wanted to save reminders of it.

With the site owner’s approval, volunteers from a firm carefully saved a pub and wall sign, with the large Phoenix Brewery lantern and ‘bars’ lamp.

The work was arranged by Pauline Miller who said: “Observant drivers-by will have noticed workmen in ‘high-viz’ jackets and hard hats at the the Kings Head, and feared that the demolition of the earliest public house in the area that we now call Burgess Hill had begun. Not yet.

“Accepting the inevitability of it in the not too distant future, I have taken steps to prevent at least some of the features we have taken for granted for so long ending up broken or in a skip by obtaining permission from the owner to remove them.”

The Burgess Hill Local History Society, a charity with no funds for plant needed to do the work, found its heroes in local firm PDP.

Pauline said: “It would just not have been possible without them.

“They gave their time, skills and labour to safely remove the pub and wall sign along with the large Phoenix Brewery lantern and ‘bars’ lamp.

“They will be displayed at some time in the future and stored safely until then.”

The pub was for many years a live music centre until it closed because, it was said, it was not making enough profit.

While the bulldozers are awaited, the pub has been used for training purposes by local fire and rescue teams.

The closure of the pub was bemoaned by regulars and supporters of the pub trade.

The Mid Sussex area has lost several pubs in recent years and most of the sites are likely to be used for housing or already have been.

The Junction Inn in Junction Road, Burgess Hill, was so badly damaged by fire that it had to be demolished.

Arson was suspected, but to date no-one has been arrested or charged for the fire.

One of the most recent closures was the Royal Oak at Jacob’s Post on the Ditchling to Haywards Heath road, not long after a couple had taken it over.

Haywards Heath lost The Sussex pub , where flats and Carpet Right now stand, and the Mayflower pub is becoming a Morrison’s store.

Another pub bulldozed was the Ugly Duckling, at Wivelsfield Road, Haywards Heath, which was also used for developmentment.