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1881: Over 200 guests celebrate Christmas

A simulation of the scene at Cuckfield Park, by Bing Image Creator using AI.

The theatricals at Cuckfield Park were continued on Tuesday evening, when upwards of 200 guests assembled in the drawing room, by the kind invitation of the worthy Major and Mrs. Sergison, several of the leading families and residents being present.

Mr and Mrs JF Cornish, of ‘The Webbes’ scholastic establishment, and their talented staff, again treated the company to two of their dramatic representations, the first part being the drama played the preceding night in two acts, Time Tries All, in which the various participants well sustained their different roles, and merited their due meed of applause (This play was noticed in our last issue).

During the interval which intervened between the first and second plays, several ladies obliged the company with sparkling songs, which were much appreciated, and in some instances encored. The second part of the evening's entertainment comprised the play, To Paris and Back for £5, the scene being laid at Haywards Heath station; the cast was as follows: 

Mr and Mrs Samuel Snozzle, Mr Conish; Mr Spriggins; Mr Hallett; Mr Charles Markham; Mr F Birch; Lieutenant Spike, Mr W Hamilton; Pounce (a detective), Mr Beaumont; station master, Mr C Hallett; MissFanny Spriggins, Miss Arbouin…

… each of whom had well worked up their parts. At the close of this performance, at 10.30, the company were invited into the dining hall to partake of the substantial refreshments provided ad libitum, through the generosity of Major Sergison. A goodly number of the younger portion of the company, however, cleared the drawing room, and indulged in dancing, which was continued with great spirit into the early hours of the morning.

Major and Mrs Sergison were most assiduous in their endeavours to male ‘all and every’ at home and ‘free and easy’. As on the Monday evening, the mansion abounded with the usual Christmas decorations, every point of vantage being ornamented with the holly bough, and suitable mottoes; while spanning over the recess of the large hall was the time-honoured wish, enwreathed in holly,  ‘merry Christmas and a happy New Year.’

Not soon, we should surmise, will this Christmas party at Cuckfield Place be forgotten, nor the kindness and generosity of the worthy owner. At the dispersion of the guests three hearty cheers were given for the worthy Major and his amiable lady, the former suitably acknowledging the demonstration, hoping he should soon see them all again in a similar capacity (Cheers).

Mid Sussex Times, 27 December 1881

Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

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