Ground Floor Galleries
To the rear of the Entrance Hall is gallery featuring a changing display on some aspect of district life and culture.
As a country market town, Horsham’s lifeblood has been farming and shopping. Exploiting the original packaging of goods and the trade signs, bill heads and accounts used by shops, the two large Edwardian display cases show the way shop goods and retailers have changed between the Victorian era and the 1960s. Horsham Museum is fortunate to have the fixtures and fittings from ‘Williams & Smith,’ a chemist shop formerly to be found on West Street, which have been set up in the gallery. Although the drug drawers are Victorian, they were still in use until the shop closed in the early 1970s. The superbly etched glass door panel reflects the Victorian love affair with ornamentation. Horsham was noted for its market and a lively painting by Edward Bainbridge Copnall of the cattle market in the 1920s is on show. Another cabinet features the artwork on packaging and a display of the weights and measures.
Crime and Punishment Section
The world’s first revolutionary gaol was built in Horsham in 1775. The display uses the original windows, door, padlock and keys from the gaol, these come together to form a room setting that shows what prison clothes and a typical cell would have looked like. Accounts of various crimes and punishments from documents in the Museum’s archives provide some fascinating stories.
Two mementoes of one of the most notorious crimes of the twentieth century, the Acid Bath Murders, are on display. The murderer, John Haigh, was held in a Horsham police cell before his pre-trial hearing. The Museum has his cell door and a comb that he used in the prison hospital at Lewes.
The gallery centres on the remains of an original fireplace that was discovered during renovations. The gardening element of the gallery is portrayed in a small display of a potting shed, featuring objects from a seventeenth century watering can to 1950s seed packets. With rakes, hoes, pruning knives, a ball of twine, Sussex trugs and a sleeping cat, there is a wealth of objects to interest the viewer. The gallery also displays pottery and porcelain spanning the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and graphic panels including the reproduction of Capability Brown’s design for Horsham’s lost stately home, Hills Place.
William Albery’s West Street saddlery business was started by his great grandfather. Albery developed a keen interest in the history of saddlery, collecting examples of the saddler’s art and craft dating from the 1850s onwards. He gave his collection to the town in the 1950s.
The Museum’s new saddlery and lorinery display gives a flavour of Albery’s shop. Items on display range from the state harness used by the Turkish Ambassador at the Coronation of Edward VII to a 1795 harness used on a cart horse. The collection of horse bits are just part of the 1,000 or more bits in the Albery collection.
Horsham Museum would like to thank the Worshipful Company of Loriners for their help with creating this gallery.
Farming in the Horsham district was supported by the traditional trades of the blacksmith and wheelwright. Horsham Museum is fortunate to have the tools and equipment of the Piper family from Southwater, whose business began in the early 1800s and ceased trading in the late 1960s. The display houses an impressive bellows, a tyring iron, and a host of other tools from their workshops.