Mid Sussex Times - Tuesday 28 February 1939
Cobbler turns poet
Charlie Newnham of Cuckfield glances back
For fifty years I've served this town
With boots and shoes and mending;
Now to my patrons one and all
This message I am sending;
I thank you heartily everyone
For all your past assistance,
And trust it will continue,
Regardless of the distance.
The oldest tradesmen this I claim,
Though it may be contradicted,
Still carrying on my business
Even if it is restricted.
What with companies and chain shops
it's a job to keep the pace,
But what can one expect
With so many in the race?
Changes? Yes, I've seen a few
Since eighteen eighty nine
When Johnny Curtis here was policeman
In Cannon Cooper’s time.
Mr Morfee was the schoolmaster,
I knew him fairly well,
And Charlie Brookshaw was the sweep–
What tales that man could tell,
John Duke, he kept grocery store,
Where Fred Hoadley carries on
He used to train wild horses–
Yes, a mighty man was John,
And opposite, where Hobden’s fruit it looks so neat,
That’s where Arthur Alwen used to sell his meat.
Charlie Wynter was the postman
And the watchmaker good old Bates,
The best man on the council for keeping down the rates,
Joseph Langton was the Brewer,
He bought the business from Tom Best,
But those two old Cuckfield worthies
Have long since gone to rest.
The “Talbot” then was an hotel
Where the bench of magistrates, I’m told
Gave Lefroy his first hearing
For the murder of Mr Gold.
The “Talbot” then, some will remember,
Was kept by Mr Riches;
And Bates, the tailor, up the street
He used to make his breeches.
Reuben Harris was the saddler,
And the chemist Mr White,
Next door, the grocer, Bobby Wilson
Used to “Back his horses right”,
Edgar Byass was the doctor,
He was also a noted wag,
We used to call in Edgar whenever we were bad.
Three topers called on him one day,
They all looked very sad,
So Edgar said to each one,
“Well, and where do you feel bad?”
Each one complained about his back,
So he prescribed for each of them
One quart of British beer
“Then if you find you still have pain,
And one quart ain’t enough,
You must quickly have another one
For it is the very stuff”.
Charlie Sergison was the Squire,
And master of Cuckfield Park,
He was one of the best
Who thought of the rest
In sport of every kind
His park was open to one and all
For Charlie didn’t mind
We used to boast of our Cuckfield Band
But that’s long since come to grief,
The last members of it, to a man,
Joined up with Haywards Heath,
The Cuckfield Young Men’s Club
Still carries on the same
In the building that was a workhouse
At the end of Ockenden Lane.
Twice the rooster has been moved
From the spire of Cuckfield Church,
Because his feet had got so cold
They had to make him a new perch
We used to have a two-horse bus
Which started from the “Ship”,
Three times to the railway station
It made its daily trip.
But if you were in a hurry
And hadn’t time to talk;
You could leave the ‘bus behind
If you preferred to walk.
Old friends are slipping one by one
But new ones, still they come,
While you’re thinking of your father
You find you’re talking to his son,
Now I must not linger
Or write a few more lines
Or I shall not catch this post
For the old “Mid Sussex Times”.
I moved three times in fifty years,
You’ll find it on the card,
Each time further from the workhouse
But nearer the churchyard.