top of page

1937: Final words of gratitude for the healthy, charming place Haywards Heath had become. ARP Part 6

 Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 26 October 1937

Mr A. R. Pannett, affectionately known to locals as 'ARP' gave many delightful insights into earliest Haywards Heath days; in 1937 at the age of 80 he offered a final absorbing talk to a packed and appreciative audience. We serialise this fascinating record because of the density and detail it provides..... here is Part 6, the finale

Mr A. Ferguson, who said he could claim 62 years’ residence in Haywards Heath, remarked that Mr Pannett had omitted reference to the part the Recreation Ground and Victoria Park had played in the development of the town, but Mr Pannett pointed out that he had alluded to the reservation of land for a recreation ground. Going on to speak of Muster Green, Mr Pannett advanced the theory that it derives its name through being the mustering place of the men whom the various Lords supplied for the service of the King. He had recently, in a document dated 1722, found it spelt ‘Moyster’, but could not say if any meaning could be suggested by the alternative. In reply to Mr Ferguson, Mr Pannett said there used to be an annual fair, the Dolphin fair, held on Muster Green, and a most blackguardly affair it was. (Laughter).

Haywards Heath Receation Ground 1908

The meeting’s thanks to Mr Pannett were voiced by Mr C.H.S Ellis C.A., J.P, the first president of the chamber. He said there was not one of them who had not been intensely interested in listening to the historian of Haywards Heath. (Applause). They would notice though, that, with the weakness of all big men, Mr Pannett had not said one word about the part he played in making the history of Haywards Heath. He, the speaker, would like to remind those who did not know that for 40 years Mr Pannett served on the administrative bodies in the town, first on the local board and then on the Urban Council. They might call it 

Victoria Park c1950


But he, (Mr Ellis), did not, because he maintained the work done was its own reward, and work like that done in developing Haywards Heath brought a reward beyond the value of gold.

A growing place was like a growing child: unless it was started on the right lines it was going to be a failure. What was it that made Haywards Heath so popular as a residential place? It was because the town was healthy and had charm, and its health was largely due to what Mr Pannett and his colleagues did in the early years of the century, when they purchased land 4 miles out for sewage disposal.

The Recreation Ground and the Park - beautiful open spaces which struck the visitor to the town - were surely also evidence of pre-vision.

"Think what it would cost to ratepayers if the council had to purchase the land now! 

“We are very fortunate to be able to say ‘thank you’ to Mr Pannett for devoting all those years in his life to public service” Mr Ellis observed, to the accompaniment of applause. In conclusion, he paid a tribute to Mr Pannett’s wit and humour, and said “ARP” had been a very good friend to Haywards Heath.

'A.R.P' Mr Pannett c1934

“Thank you very much for your votes of thanks," Mr Pannett replied. "I appreciate it very much indeed”.



bottom of page