Bar boss renovates ‘forgotten’ grave of iconic Horsham figure

The renovated grave of William Pirie
The renovated grave of William Pirie

With works coming to an end to rejuvenate an historic Horsham town centre site a business owner has paid his own special tribute to the man who started it all nearly 150 years ago.

Ross Andrews, who runs Piries bar, has restored the grave of one of the town’s most influential figures - Mr William Pirie.

Mr Pirie's grave in Denne Road cemetery

Mr Pirie's grave in Denne Road cemetery

The former Collyer’s headmaster helped create Piries Place in the mid 19th century which after years of work and redevelopment still remains one of the important areas in the town centre.

All you need to know as works near an end at Horsham’s Piries Place

Ross decided he wanted to find out more about the Horsham icon and after a bit of research he came across the details of his final resting place. Mr Pirie is buried in Denne Road cemetery, just half-a-mile away from his statue in Piries Place - but when Ross went to visit grave he was saddened by its state.

He said: “Upon finding his grave I was struck with a sadness that he had been forgotten here at least and decided it was my obligation to bring the monument some care and attention.”

Faded writing on Mr Pirie's gave

Faded writing on Mr Pirie's gave

Ross enlisted the help of one of his customer and memorial repair specialist Jamie Edworthy, of Monumental Mason, and the pair got to work renovating the grave.

Volunteers Nico Draisey and Steven Latto also helped carry out the repairs and after several days of hard labour the refurbishment was completed.

Mr Pirie returns to Horsham town centre

“Very few of us are going to leave a legacy behind in this world where we will be remembered 141 years after our passing, Mr Pirie is one of those lucky few,” Ross said.

Mr Pirie and his Donkey SUS-190514-100405001

Mr Pirie and his Donkey SUS-190514-100405001

“I’m proud to have been able to take on this project and hope the grave will remain for another 141 years, long after I have gone.”

He added Piries bar had funded the cost of the works.

Piries Place is currently undergoing a major £35m redevelopment to create a new cinema, hotel shop and restaurants in the area.

Boutique chain Everman has taken over the cinema whilst Premier Inn is set to take over the hotel. Carter and Miller Steakhouse will also be opening in the area along with Starbucks and a new pub - named the Red Deer - run by The White Brasserie Company. Construction is set to come to an end in the coming weeks with many retailers expected to open by July.