If further proof were needed to establish that developers rule the roost in Horsham, the proposed demolition of the town’s historic Prewetts Mill in Worthing Road and redevelopment by McCarthy and Stone confirms this to be the case.
Add to this the negligence of our philistine district council which failed to designate it a listed building and the picture that emerges is that of the final nail in the coffin of a once attractive Sussex market town.
During the 1980s and early 1990s I was fortunate enough to be invited to a series of literary luncheons hosted by the late Eva Hanagan and her husband John at their house in Hillside. Always present were Gil Prewett and his wife, Judy - the Prewett milling family being one of the oldest in Horsham as is shown on the tombstones at the Unitarian Church in Worthing Road.
Judy Prewett was an unforgettable character - eccentric and ebullient beyond words and the subject of one of the Rev Derek Tansill’s ‘Desert Island Discs’ interviews at the Capitol Theatre. Her chosen piece for her desert island being ‘The lark ascending’. Her unstinting voluntary work for the Ockenden Venture - assisting refugees - was an inspiration to us all.
Eva Hanagan was a literary author of note being described by Auberon Waugh as, ‘a modern Jane Austen’ - no mean compliment. She was also writer in residence at Ford Open Prison to which she referred to - in her unforgettable Scottish brogue - as, ‘My old lags’!
Sadly Horsham has very few characters of note that can match the Prewetts and Hanagans of this world. To me much of Horsham today looks bland and phoney - the cobbled Carfax resembling a Disney film set.
The jewel in the crown being the water feature, ‘Rising Universe’ - commemorating the romantic poet, Percy Bysshe Shelley. Of course, it’s another phoney memorial handed down to us by Cambridge City Council via a local supermarket. To me, that says just about everything of modern day Horsham.
ROBERT B. WORLEY
Ayshe Court Drive, Horsham