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1938: In praise of one who loved Cuckfield and worked for its welfare - Reuben Harris

'Mankind is divided into two great categories, those who love Cuckfield and those who don't or who do not know it." T.W.Erle to the Reverend J.H.Cooper (quote from 'A History of the Parish of Cuckfield' - 1912, by Canon Cooper)

Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 05 July 1938



A man who loved Cuckfield and worked for its welfare over a long period of the past and present centuries passed to his rest on Friday morning in the person of Mr. Reuben Harris, of Inholmes House, Ansty, where he had resided for the past two years with his son and daughter-in-law, Mr. and Mrs. David Harris.

Mr. Harris had been in failing health since last September, but only took to his bed a week before his death. He was born at Wivelsfield on February 7th 1853, his parents being the late Mr. and Mrs. David Harris.

In 1855 Mr. David Harris opened at Cuckfield the saddler's business now known as Messrs R. Harris and Sons.

Reuben Harris with co-workers at the Broad Street saddlery c1900 colourised (photograph courtesy of Cuckfield Museum)

As a young man Reuben played football for a local Club, and for twenty years he was a member of the Town Band, being the last Bandmaster of the old Ockenden Band. He also served for nineteen years in the old Volunteers. A staunch Congregationalist, he will be long remembered as one of the most devoted servants of the local Church. For a considerable time he acted as Treasurer; for over forty years he was a member of the Choir: and for thirty-three years teacher the Sunday School. In


he had few equals in the town. He was co-opted a member of the old Local Board about a year before it gave place to the Urban District Council, and was associated with the latter authority for thirty-four years, during which period he missed only six meetings. During his periods as Chairman of the Council he sat on the Haywards Heath Bench.

He served on the Building Committee of the Queen's Hall and Library, and was Chairman of the Library Committee for twelve years. He claimed to have repaired nearly 400 books in seven years. Further, he was Overseer for the parish for twelve years, and for a like period he was Chairman and Treasurer of the Burial Board, with which he was associated for a quarter-of-a-century.

Reuben Harris in his Saddlery with (from left to right) B.J. Burtenshaw and the Harris sons, David, Frank and Henry in 1896. (Photograph and caption courtesy of 'Cuckfield in old picture postcards' by Maisy Wright - 1984)

He took the late Mr. R. A. Bevan’s place on the local School Managers, and was connected with this body for nearly twenty years, while for twenty-five years he was a member of the Old Age Pensions Committee which held its meetings at Haywards Heath. Mr. Harris retired from business in 1919. and it is now conducted by his younger son, Mr. Henry Harris. Mr. and Mrs. Reuben Harris celebrated their golden wedding in 1928, and the latter died about year later.

The funeral is fixed for to-morrow (Wednesday) at 2 p.m. in the chapel of the local cemetery.



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