Oh Bollards! (from Cuckfield Society Newsletter 2003)
A small reminder of the iniquity of Society in years gone by has had a much needed facelift. For facelift read wire brush, sandpaper, undercoat and gloss. Originally a barrier both physical and social, what was once called 'the chain walk', is now referred to as 'the bollards'.
In the good old Victorian days the occupants of Cuckfield Park were so hallowed that the route from their home to the church had to be protected by a post and chain fence. Indeed so worthy of protection were these souls that the very road had to be closed off by a chain to allow their safe passage across to our local place of worship. Think of all that palava, and our children today do not even merit a lollipop lady to safeguard them from 40 plus mph hunks of high technology.
Sometime in the 1870s the chains were replaced by iron rails and posts painted white with black tops. Then, during the times of munition need of World War Two, the chain walk was mostly removed, leaving only the stretch we now see remaining on South Street. Time and carelessness exerted their worst, and in the 70s the council indicated a desire to remove this reminder of the grand old days of subservience and replace it with a piece of homogenised council kit.
Luckily the Cuckfield Society managed to attain a mould and an insurance claim and the stretch of railing was preserved for us to admire/ ignore today. Balance to the old class system where the wealth of sum was based on the poverty of boastful stop but it was a grand old time that produced much of the historical heritage that we now hold dear. Cherish the history, remembering that it is a product of those who lived hard times.
Perhaps we now live much more egalitarian lives, but what are we creating for our descendants to preserve and cherish?.
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