Petworth in the spring
PUBLISHED: 00:16 03 March 2011 | UPDATED: 18:58 20 February 2013
Petworth has a vibrant commercial life. The town has its own business association attracting members from a wide variety of businesses. One of its members, Julie Aguilar, tells us what is happening in the town in the next few months
Petworth is a perfectly preserved market town nestled in the heart of the South Downs National Park. It is a special place at any time of the year. Steeped in history, Petworth has been voted Best Antiques Town and has links to the famous artist J W Turner, a frequent visitor to Petworth House. The town still celebrates its cultural past with an annual Fete in the Park and the nationally renowned Petworth Festival, a music and arts extravaganza that attracts thousands of visitors every summer from around the world.
A quintessentially English market town that depends on a close community, Petworth has something for everyone if you look hard, you can find 30 to 40 different organisations offering everything from rifle shooting to the Scouts and much in between.
The Petworth Society is paramount to the community in Petworth and has a following across the globe. However, there are other things to draw in the traveller or resident to this special corner of England.
Petworth is a treasure trove of independent retailers, cafes, restaurants and accommodation. It has the finest selection of antiques and objets d'art and is the only town left in the UK outside London with 37 arts and antiques dealers all within a half-mile radius. It offers the best flowers, delicatessen, wines/spirits, ladies and gents clothing, gift shops, hairdressers, travel agents, estate agents, lingerie, haberdashery, fresh fruit and vegetables, a superb butchers and bookshop. There is a saying about Austen & Co., the hardware store: If they haven't got it, you don't need it.
Petworths flourishing and vibrant business community comes together as the Petworth Business association (PBA). Recently merged with Petworth Antiques and Decorative Arts Association (PAADA), the PBA has nearly 90 members and aims to promote commerce in and around Petworth.
Petworth comes to life this spring and offers a wealth of activities to suit everyone and another excuse for retail therapy as exciting new collections appear in the towns many independent shops and boutiques.
The Petworth Business Association (PBA) is holding its next networking meeting on 24th March followed by the AGM on 14th April in the Audit Room of Petworth House.
The PBA has been busy supporting its chosen charity of the year, Chestnut Tree House. So far, it has raised over 900 to help this worthy organisation, the only childrens hospice in Sussex. Continuing its support for the community, the PBA is currently encouraging local businesses to contribute 25 each towards buying new sound equipment for Petworth Players who hope to put the funds to good use for their next production of Are You Being Served in April.
The PBA is looking for new members to join in April and help further its efforts to promote the prosperity of Petworth, so please get in touch.
Book lovers need look no further than the Leconfield Hall where the next Petworth Society book sales on 12th March and 9th April promise to be as popular as ever and a special Children's Book Festival takes place in May. The inspiration behind the festival is twofold: to celebrate local childrens authors, such as Joan Aiken, and to raise funds for Chestnut Tree House. This year brings the 50th anniversary of The Wolves of Willoughby Chase written by Joan who spent much of her writing career in Petworth. Her daughter, Lizza, will be guest of honour at the event.
Petworth House opens its doors on 12th March, welcoming visitors with a calendar of events throughout spring that are designed to capture the imagination and bring history to life. The historic kitchens will come alive with the taste and smell of delicious traditional treats. Join cooks as they re-create dishes from the Petworth House of yesteryear. In a series of Atmospheric Attic Tours, visitors can explore the rarely seen upper floors, untouched since last occupied by the servants. Encounter the housemaid, hear what her day entailed, and revel in the stories of backstairs Petworth brought to life by Victorian housekeeper, Mrs Purser, as she works in the Still Room.
Details of all events including Pancake Day, Mothering Sunday and a special Eco Easter can be found on the National Trust website (see end of article).
The opportunity to pick up a totally interactive hand held tour guide from the refurbished reception area, the opening of the new Servants Hall Caf and the launch of an innovative gift range in the shop complete a delightful start to the Petworth House season.
Indeed, there is much to celebrate this spring not least the Royal Wedding on 29th April when Petworth Town Council are bringing the community together with a street party to mark the occasion offering live music by Willie Austen and dancing in Market Square.
What better time to visit Petworth?
Why I love Petworth
Julie Aguilar is a freelance PR consultant living in Petworth. She is a member of the Petworth Business Association and Petworth Society and regularly volunteers for the National Trust at Petworth House.
Petworth is a wonderful place to live where else can you be in a picture-postcard historic town with all the everyday amenities on your doorstop yet only a short walk away from stunning countryside? The best bit about living in Petworth is the people - be willing to join in, immerse yourself in the local community and the rewards are second to none. Despite moving to Petworth only a year ago, I have been welcomed with open arms by warm, witty people of immense natural charm. I feel truly blessed to be part of Petworth.
Jackie Tudor is Chairman of the Petworth Business Association. She owns the The Astarte Gallery
at Old Bank House, Market Square.
As well as the unique shopping and cultural experience, the grounds of Petworth Park are a joy. I have spent many happy hours walking there with family and friends. Known as the antique centre of the South and voted best antiques town in 2004, it has a wealth of independent retailers and boutiques. You can purchase everything you need for your home, have your car serviced and repaired, have a bite to eat or enjoy a coffee, or find an outfit for that special occasion or everyday wear, be it male or female and all within a half-mile radius and easy walk of the car park. And all of this is on my doorstep!