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1919: Remembering local War casualties with a Memorial and a Recreation Ground ...

Updated: Oct 18, 2020

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 18 February 1919


Cuckfield last (Monday) night embarked on the provision of a “suitable and worthy memorial of the brave Cuckfield men who have given their lives for their King and Country” in the last war, the proposal being launched at a largely attended meeting in the Queens Hall. Colonel Stephenson R. CLARKE. J.P., presided and with him on the platform were Canon Wilson (Vicar), Mr B.Y.Bevan, J.P. Captain Turner and Mr S. Knight, J. P.

In his opening remarks on the object of the gathering, the chairman commented on the fine patriotic response made by Cuckfield for men for service on the outbreak of the war and subsequently on the way in which the lads of the place had upheld the traditions of British soldiers. Cuckfield had contributed some 320. Of that number 80 at least had given their lives for the Empire and the good of mankind in general.

CANON WILSON emphasised the great sacrifice made by the dead heroes, and said that the memorial should indeed be worthy of them, I'm not one of which in two years time they would say they wished something else had been done. The speaker also put forth the view that it should be of lasting benefit to the inhabitants. He went on to read letters from Mr W. Stevens, J. P., a lady whose name was not mentioned, Mr Vaughan, Mr Lampson and the Rev. R. H. C. Mertens on the subject, and in then suggestions were offered for a recreation ground, a playground for the children and a monument in a public position. Canon Wilson remarked that a recreation ground and a children's playground were much needed in Cuckfield. The older people should not be lost either in the matter.

Cuckfield Recreation Ground

MR KNIGHT spoke on the desire he had for years to obtain a recreation ground for Cuckfield and his efforts in conjunction with the late Capt Sergison in such a direction. He had in mind the offer of a space 100 yards from the Queens Hall. It was about 5 acres in extent and would-be useful for Village cricket such as Cuckfield v Anstye or Cuckfield v Brook Street, but not for county or semi County cricket (laughter and applause). There were a couple of ponds which would amuse the children, and grounds might be formed four quoits and tennis. People would be able to go on such a ground without danger of being ordered off (applause).

Several of the company contributed to the discussion which ensued, the Rev S. MADDOCK expressing the view that the playing field should form part of the memorial and not be separate from it.

A point arose as to the Cuckfield Cricket Club’s ground and Canon Wilson stated that Mr Preston, who was unable to attend, wished him to say that as long as he (Mr Preston) had control of the ground the club would be welcome to use it. (applause)

THE CHAIRMAN in summarising the discussion, said he thought there should be a memorial with the names of the brave lads who had fallen, and the money left over from that should be devoted to the purchase of recreation ground.

MR BEVAN moved that a committee be appointed to formulate a scheme for erecting a War Memorial and for purchasing the recreation ground, and this was seconded by Mr J. DENMAN, supported by Canon WILSON, and carried, it being suggested that subscriptions might be allocated for both proposals.

War Memorial in Cuckfield Churchyard

Mr KNIGHT said the land mentioned had been valued at £600, but the owner would give £100 as a subscription. There will also be the cost of a permanent fence and the laying out to be provided.

The committee appointed consisted of Col S. R. Clarke, Cannon Wilson, Mr L. Askew, Mr Beeching, Mr Bevan, Mr Denman, Miss Gray, Mr H. Harris, Mr S. Knight, Mr W. E. Mitchell, Mr Preston, Mr Preece, Mr A. T. Rapley, Mrs Reid, Mr W.Stevens, Mr C. H. Waugh and Mrs Worsley.

This closed the proceedings, and the company separated after passing a vote of thanks to the Chairman.

Sussex Agricultural Express - Friday 09 July 1920


We pleased to able to make public the fact that the land acquired by Mrs. Worsley from Sir Merrick Burrell for the purposes of a recreation ground for Cuckfield has been conveyed to the Urban Council. It has long been a matter of regret that Cuckfield had no creation ground, and Mrs. Worsley’s generosity is further proof of her great interest in the town in which she has lived for so many years and the residents are deeply grateful to her.


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