SLIDESHOW: It’s horses for courses through the ages

This week is all about Crawley horses – and the people who sat on them and followed them around in carts.

These pictures all came courtesy of the West Sussex Past Pictures archive ( and give us a brief glimpse of what the town must have been like before the invasion of the automobile.

Dr Ronald Matthews & family, Horsham Road c1935

Dr Ronald Matthews & family, Horsham Road c1935

The caption for the first photo in this slideshow states that the man in the flat cap was Dr Ronald Matthews and his family at ‘Little Tackers’, Horsham Road c1935.

It adds that, according to a note in the British Medical Journal published on April 27 1918, Dr Matthews was added to the Commission of the Peace for Sussex in 1918.

But the online records for the BMJ of that date state that the honour was actually bestowed on Dr Sidney Matthews.

Sidney – who married a granddaughter of Punch editor Mark lemon - was also mentioned in the BMJ on April 29 1911, when he wrote: “I have just attended a man, aged 22, with a fourth attack of chicken-pox.

“In the light of the remark in the textbooks that second attacks are almost unknown, it seems to me to be sufficiently interesting to record.”

As a side note, Crawley Library houses some fascinating records of the medical men who have treated Crawley sick and injured for the past 280 years.

One folder titled Dungate and Smith families 1731-1862 contains the earliest medical account recorded at The Tree (which used to serve as a doctor’s office), believed to have been penned by Charles Dungate. It related to a bill which was owed by one Nathaniel Betts.

But, back to the horses.

The two blinkered horses pulling a coach carrying a gent in a top hat and another in a boater were outside the original Three Bridges Station c1895.

The man in the boater was Mr Phillip Saillard, an ostrich feather merchant from Buchan Hill, and the other was Mr Henry Taylor, head coachman.

The caption on the pictures states that Mr Taylor was killed in 1900 when horses bolted and threw him off his carriage.

Buchan Hill is now used as the premises of Cottesmore School.

The buggy containing the woman and four children belonged to Moses Nightingale, who is pictured standing in front of the horse.

His wife’s name was Ruth.

The Nightingale family made a huge impact on Crawley.

They were coal merchants, brick merchants, ran the Crawley Corn Exchange and Moses co-founded the Crawley Waterworks Company in 1897.

Nightingale House and Moses and Ruth’s home, Hazeldene (later the Crawley Club) still stand in Brighton Road.

The work horse pulling what looks like a white cart was part of the Crawley & Ifield Parochial Committee and the cart was a dust cart.

The picture was taken in Princess Road, West Green, c1912 and the two men in the picture were Mr Talmey and Bob Soan.

And finally, we have a rural scene from c1898.

It is believed the two horses and the carter were in Three Bridges High Street.

The sign on the side of the cart reads: “Leicester M Reed, Carters Lodge, Handcross, Sussex”.

But does anyone know if the man in the picture was Mr Reed?