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1935: offensive noise pollution in Cuckfield

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 26 November 1935


To the Editor of The Mid-Sussex Times.

Dear Sir, —The picturesque and old-world appearance of Cuckfield is in strange contrast to its noisiness. I suppose there are noisier places, but Cuckfield is bad enough, even though some people find fault with it for being “very quiet.” When in my lodgings on the 'town hill,” a great variety of sounds salutes my ears, but not one them pleasing.

The worst offenders, of course, are motor cars and motor-cycles, which generally stop and indulge in apparent death-agonies just outside window—but the bounders don't die ! And this happens not only frequently during the day, but also in the dead of night.

Cuckfield High Street circa 1930

Then there are barking dogs, of which several particularly offensive specimens live close by, and often make themselves heard by night, as well as by day. Then there are children shouting or "grizzling," and older boys who seem unable to pass up or down the street without whistling in loud and blatant manner.

Such are the chief noise-mongers, but there are also others, such as an occasional street “musician,” who would not be allowed in a properly civilised community.

With all these noises, it is often very difficult either to do work requiring careful thought during the day or to sleep at night.

The crowning annoyance is, of course, the hideous din inseparable from a Queen's Hall dance. In ‘‘The Times” of November 21st a lecturer is reported as saying that “medical authorities had obtained evidence that noise was actively harmful to the sick and to those of a nervous temperament, and to almost everyone during the period of learning or of creative work, or while they were attempting to sleep.”

Many of us know from bitter personal experience how true this is. Of the noises I have mentioned, there are at least two which could certainly be much reduced - those caused by the motors and by the dogs.

Motorists should be careful, particularly at night, not to make greater amount of noise, nor for a longer period, than is really necessary. Especially, the youth intent on showing off the noise-making capabilities of his motorcycle, whether by day or night, should be made to realise that his conduct is an offence to the community. What right does he imagine he has to go tearing and roaring through the village at midnight or later? Then, owners of dogs should at all times keep them under reasonable control, and in particular should not allow them to be in the street, or other place where their barking may disturb neighbours, later than, say, 11 o’clock at night.

All that is wanted is reasonable consideration for others in this matter. If that were shown by all, Cuckfield would be very pleasant place.

Yours faithfully,





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