8 things you should know about Haywards Heath

PUBLISHED: 00:00 12 February 2020 | UPDATED: 10:43 12 February 2020

General view of South Road, Haywards Heath

General view of South Road, Haywards Heath

2019 Andrew Hasson

photographer Andrew Hasson distils the town and its surroundings in a few images

The Miller and Carter Steakhouse, formerly known as The Sergison ArmsThe Miller and Carter Steakhouse, formerly known as The Sergison Arms

1. The Sergison Arms, later known as The Dolphin, was the first public house in the town. With parts of it dating from the late 16th century, it is also the oldest building in town.

Most of the original building still stands, but these days it's known as the Miller and Carter Steakhouse at the top of Muster Green.

Cafe Rouge, which once housed the Haywards Heath Building SocietyCafe Rouge, which once housed the Haywards Heath Building Society

2. In the early-90s the Haywards Heath Building Society merged with the Yorkshire Building Society but it had been founded in 1890 and was a mainstay of the community for years.

One of the early company headquarters still stands today as Café Rouge on The Broadway.

The United Reformed Church on South Road, Haywards Heath.The United Reformed Church on South Road, Haywards Heath.

3. The United Reformed Church stands proudly on South Road and if you look either side of the front door, there are two foundation stones, both laid on 9 December 1914.

I imagine the people present that day still thought the war would be over at any moment. Little did they know. The stone on the left was laid by 'Mrs George Norton (wife of the pastor)'. Poor woman - we don't even know her first name.

One of the air funnels which served the Folly Hill Railway Tunnel, behind the Muster Court flatsOne of the air funnels which served the Folly Hill Railway Tunnel, behind the Muster Court flats

4. In the town centre, behind a block of flats (Muster Court) off the one-way system stands a little-recognised relic of the Victorian railway that first breathed life into Haywards Heath.

It's a funnel that was used to draw fresh air into the tunnel below during the age of steam. Just a few yards away, above the NatWest cashpoint opposite The Star, is a plaque dedicated to the man credited with playing a crucial role in the construction of the Folly Hill Railway Tunnel which lies directly underneath - Joseph Flesher.

The Ouse Valley Viaduct, also known as the Balcombe ViaductThe Ouse Valley Viaduct, also known as the Balcombe Viaduct

5. Another crucial aspect of the railway that brought such expansion to the town is the Ouse Valley Viaduct, also known as the the Balcombe Viaduct.

It's an engineering marvel that combines the practicalities of hundreds of trains passing daily with breathtaking beauty, whether you're looking at it, or sitting on a train going over it admiring the views.

Cote Brasserie, once the town's first cinema, The HeathCote Brasserie, once the town's first cinema, The Heath

6. Just down The Broadway from Café Rouge is the restaurant Côte.

This occupies the building that housed Haywards Heath's first cinema, The Heath, built in 1911.

Lindfield High StreetLindfield High Street

7. Lindfield - Curving up a slight incline, from the picturesque village pond to All Saints Church at the top, the High Street of Lindfield was once described as "the finest village street in East Sussex," by travel writer and historian Sir Nikolaus Pevsner. This was before the boundaries were redrawn and Lindfield found itself in West Sussex, but his point still stands.

The High Street boasts dozens of medieval and later timber-framed houses. One of the oldest, a former pub called The Tiger, was acquired by All Saints more than 100 years ago and is now used as a multi-function building by the church. The building has always kept its old pub sign and recently this was updated and replaced with a lovely design by local artist Wally Jex.

The former Ardingly railway stationThe former Ardingly railway station

8. Ardingly - Lying between the railway stations at Horsted Keynes and Haywards Heath, the former Ardingly Station was opened in 1883 and lay between Haywards Heath and Horsted Keynes on the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway.

The line was finally closed in 1963, but the station building still stands on the side of College Road and is a classic of its time, designed to look like a Victorian cottage, with a ticket office and waiting room downstairs and accommodation for the station master upstairs.

Lying just half a mile or so from Ardingly College, the station was undoubtedly a hive of activity at the beginning and end of every school term.

The station and building is now used as a yard by Hanson Aggregates.

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