Full Steam Ahead - Cuckfield Museum exhibition, Sept 2016

By Sue Burgess, Cuckfield Museum

Throughout the autumn, to complement the celebrations in Haywards Heath, Cuckfield Museum is devoting much of its display space to commemorating the railway station’s 175th anniversary. We look at why the line did not come through (or rather under) Cuckfield as originally planned, and we remember Joseph Flesher, the engineer responsible for our local stretch of the line, who is buried in Cuckfield churchyard and whose descendants still live locally.

As Haywards Heath was initially a terminus, the fist passengers had to rely on coach travel to complete their journeys beyond Haywards Heath (the replacement buses of their day!) but as confidence in this new mode of transport grew so did the popularity of the railway and Cuckfield rapidly lost the London to Brighton stage coach trade. Employment at the inns and in associated trades was inevitably much reduced but the railway itself offered new opportunities, as did the need for staff i the substantial houses being built for, or acquired by, wealthy professional men who could now work in London but live in the country – the fist commuters. If you have ever wondered why there are so many large houses in Cuckfield, have a look at our special map display.

This is a short excerpt - the full article being printed in the Sept/Oct 2016 issue of Cuckfield Life