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1931: Wykehurst tragedy

Updated: Dec 7, 2023

Artificial Intelligence helps us visualise the horrific scene. Bing Image Creator.

On Wednesday night a motor car, containing six employees of Wykehurst Park Hotel. Bolney. overturned into a ditch as the party were returning from Cuckfield. Mrs Tesh (66), cook, was killed, and two others, Mr John Rippon, the driver, who received an injury to the neck, and Miss Gertrude McCumoskey, who sustained concussion, were taken in an ambulance to the Haywards Heath Hospital. The remaining occupants - Messrs. W. Earle, A. Shrimpton, and W. Owens escaped with bruises and abrasions, and were able to return the hotel after receiving attention from Dr CJ Farr, Cuckfield. The car was wrecked. Dr EF Hoare (Coroner for East Sussex), viewed the body of Mrs Tesh on Friday, and gave a certificate for burial, and the inquest will be held when the driver has sufficiently recovered. Miss McCumoskey is making satisfactory progress.

West Sussex Gazette, 22 January 1931

Wykehurst Place (or Park) is a Gothic Revival mansion in Bolney, West Sussex, England, resembling more the châteaux of the Loire than an English manor house.

It was designed in 1871 by architect Edward Middleton Barry for the banker of German extraction, Henry Huth, MP (1815-1878), a bibliophile and collector of paintings.

At the time of construction (1871–74) it cost £35,000. Its turrets, arches, conical roofs, and many architectural devices give it the appearance of a fairytale mansion. The East lodge fronts the main London-Brighton road.

The large black entrance gates are fashioned in wrought iron. Massive griffins with spread wings perch on either side of the gates. The entrance to the property leads down a pebble drive to a grassed patio surrounding the house, descending from a 280-foot terrace to a garden and lawn at the back.

The grounds have appeared in a number of films dating back to the late 1960's, including 'Oh! What a Lovely War', 'Demons of the Mind', 'The Legend of Hell House' and 'Holocaust' 2000, among others.


Contributed by Malcolm Davison.

Visit Cuckfield Museum, follow the link for details


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