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1888: Cuckfield correspondent bemoans the state of the Town

Updated: Oct 21, 2021

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 09 October 1888

On Things in General.

—A correspondent furnishes us with the following items:

—The old town stands where it did, although a Brighton paper rings out its requiem in a regretful paragraph; and it must be admitted that “The light of other days is faded,” and it has little to boast of but its antiquity, and as it “used to was.”

Cuckfield High Street c1880

It may indeed be compared to an old oak pollard, that bereft of its branches throws out no foliage, although deeply rooted. The church bells certainly ring out merrily sometimes of an evening, and the ringers have strong hopes of at some future period accomplishing the mystic peal of 5,640. They seem to have discovered a new system of change ringing, that appears simple, and yet they do not do it to perfection. It consists merely in a stroke from the leading bell, and a clash followed by two or three stragglers that have not joined in chorus.

In the olden times their ancestors used to “fire the bells” on bonfire nights “a pull altogether,” and this new system may be founded on the same principle, and in time be generally adopted.

—The school children are still without a playground, further than the Churchyard and Burial Ground by day, and the turnpike road, after the lamps are lit, in the evening, afford. It was suggested to adopt the plot between the old Churchyard and Allotment Gardens, but, oh no! the idea could not be entertained for an instant. No matter, the boys have the town to play in, and now there is only one policeman in the place, and he has a wide district to attend to, they can have their full swing, and those who do not like their noise of a night must put up with it.

—The September fair is gone and past, and the weather is too cold for the Band to serenade, so that until they strike at Christmas we shall have nothing to cheer us up, except it may be a travelling Italian with a hurdy-gurdy, and the coach guard's horn as it passes, with now and then, if weather and convenience suit, a run with the Harriers, anything beyond being entirely out of the question.

But speaking of hounds, I think if a tax of a guinea a head was put upon the mongrels of no breed or use that run the streets a good round sum might be added to the revenue, and lately there seems a rage for keeping big black retrievers among those who have no earthly use for a dog of any kind, and I think they would find it more profitable to keep a pig.

But everyone to his liking: the Chinese eat dogs, and Englishman keeps them to catch game, and to fetch and carry, a very handy accomplishment in some cases.



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