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Iconic Haywards Heath Buildings: 1949 - Beech Hurst gifted to the local community

Updated: Oct 2, 2020



Beech Hurst Will Be Community Centre

A magnificent Christmas present in the form of the mansion Beech Hurst, Haywards Heath (pictured below) has been presented to the 16,000 people of the Cuckfield urban district. It is made available for the communal use through the generosity of the executors of the late Mr William Johnson Yapp, the tobacco magnate. The medium by which the executors are able to make this gift was Mr. Justice Wynn-Parry, who sitting in the Chancery division recently, ruled that the executors could vest the property in the Cuckfield U.D.C. ; thus an effort extending over three years, initiated under the chairmanship en Mr L. Whittington, M.B.E., and continued under his successor Capt A. C. Fawcett, D.S.O., R.N., J.P., has at last been


It will be recalled that Mr Yapp, who died in January, 1946, left a substantial fortune which ran into seven figures. He gave his residuary estate to his executors, upon trust, to distribute it in their discretion among such charitable objects and purposes as they should select. In pursuance of this cause the executors desired that Beech Hurst, in which the testator lived, together with the park of 14 acres should be vested in the Cuckfield U.D.C., for the benefit of the inhabitants of the district. Not only by the judges ruling having executives been allowed to do this, but they were also authorised by his lordship to contribute £3000 towards the restoration of the premises and the adaptation for use as


The cost of the application will also be borne by the Yapp estate.

Ever since it has been known that Beech Hurst was likely to come into the hands of the Cuckfield U.D.C., their clerk, (Mr J. A. Evans) has received a good number of applications from different local organisations for consideration to be given to their use of the premises. Now the Beech Hurst Committee of the council (already in being) will be able to plan ahead with confidence, and those bodies with no settled place of abode may take heart.

From time to time, the Mid Sussex Times has been able to give its readers some idea of tentative plans for Beech Hurst in addition to its use as a community centre.

A restaurant has been visualised, and also tennis courts, bowling greens and a swimming pool. The economic condition of the country is likely to be a delaying factor, however, for ambitious plans for some time to come.


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