SUSSEX INDUSTRIAL ARCHAEOLOGY STUDY GROUP
On the other hand there has been success in locating the purpose-built round houses in which gins were sometimes accommodated. Having a re-use value for storage etc., they generally outlive the machinery they once housed. The horse gin houses so far located are as follows:
The buildings at Binsted and North Bersted are to be dismantled and taken to the Open Air Museum, West Dean.
Water Power: Brightling Estate Brick and Tile Works, (TQ687223). Here
was the only recorded instance in Sussex of a pug mill being operated by water.
A detailed survey of the works was made early this year by the Robertsbridge and
District Archaeological Society under Mr. David Martin. Mr. Martin's report
states that the wheel house of the pug mill survives, although now a roofless
ruin. The drive shaft
Burwash, Park Mill, Batemans, (TQ670237). Plans are being made to restore
this mill, which possibly
Crowborough Warren, New Mill, (TQ494316). This former corn mill, c1800, consisted of a complex of eight buildings centred on a massive dam and a four-storey mill house. An aqueduct carried the water on to a 31 foot diameter wheel, which Mr. Gregory has reported as being the largest to be recorded in Sussex. This was a most substantial industrial enterprise, built on a grand and impressive scale. Although the mill had been deteriorating for years, no full survey had been made of the site when it was discovered last autumn that demolition of the remaining structures was taking place for its fine building stone. Mr, R. H. Wood of East Grinstead went to the site immediately and made a preliminary survey and report for the Group, as did representatives of the newly-formed Uckfield and District Preservation Society. But permission for access was soon withdrawn from the Society, with the threat of legal action. The request was for the Contractors to allow a two day survey so that at least some detailed drawings could be prepared before the foundations were reached and broken. Despite appeals to the local authority and to me contractor's solicitors, no satisfactory solution could be reached, and all requests for co-operation were consistently refused.
Haywards Heath, Bridgers Mill, (TQ330250). The weather-boarded mill building, which might date from 1856, is at present being demolished to make way for warehouses and offices. The pen-trough, cast at the Regent Foundry, Brighton, is to have its name plate preserved by Brighton Museum, and certain of the timber is being taken to Nutley Windmill for a proposed museum building. The Watermil) is one of the earliest buildings in Haywards Heath; with the still standing Corn Exchange of 1846 (the southern end of the Hayworthe Hotel), it is one of the last links with the early growth of Haywards Heath as an agricultural and marketing centre in the mid-19th century. See photograph, page 8.
Hurstpierpoint, Hammonds Mill, (TQ301176). This is a large mill, bearing a date-stone inscribed 1821. Considerable additions were made in the later 19th century, including a new wheel by Cooper of Henfield, with the date, 1870. There is evidence that the building has been used as a wire-mill as well as for corn. Its demolition is planned, and it is most satisfying to record that the owner made contact with the Group and the Open Air Museum, offering items of equipment for preservation. The East Sussex County Council has been most co-operative in this matter.
Wind-power, Icklesham, Hogg Hill Post Mill, (TQ887161). This is one of the oldest windmills in Sussex, possible of the late 17th century. Since before the last war this has not been in sound repair. Sympathetic ownership has restored the mill, a new breast-beam has been inserted, and the sweeps restored.
Map of Sussex Windmills
Tollhouses and Milestones
In the last Newsletter, reference was made to the tollboard from Northchapel
Gate, near Petworth, now in the possession of the Open Air Museum. Since then,
Miss Hellawell, Curator of Chichester Museum, has helped the Open Air Museum
acquire another, which was found in three pieces being used as floor boards in
Chichester. This was originally from the Midhurst-Fernhurst road, and is being
restored. Battle and District Historical Society Museum has also donated two
toll-charge notices ton paper) to this Museum, which were possessed in
duplicate. One is for the Broil Park Gate, Ringmer, to Battle Turnpike (no
date), and the other is a table of reduced tolls, dated 1853, for the Hood's
Corner Turnpike. These will be framed, and eventually displayed in a re-erected
tollhouse of 1807 from Upper Beeding near Shoreham, which is now in store.
Items of interest: the most spectacular engineering on Sussex railways is,
typically, on the earliest lines where gradients and curves are consistently
easier. The ruling gradient of 1 in 264 on J.U. Rastrick's main line led to the
viaducts over the Ouse Valley, near Balcombe, and London Road, Brighton, and to
the dramatic terracing of Brighton Station. Early sketches show the spectacular
nature of this terracing well; modern building around has reduced the visual
impact not only at the Station, but at the London Road Viaduct. Probably the
oddest feature on this line (perhaps on the county's whole system) is the north
The Lewes-Uckfield line, in the news this year with its closure, originally' passed west of Hamsey; its realignment in 1868 (after only 10 years of use) left a short stretch disused. This might have been re-laid and reopened under recent British Rail proposals. The section, although closed for a century, is easily identifiable now, and includes two crossing-keeper's cottages, one of which appears externally to be quite unaltered.
Mr. E. J. Upton of Battle reports that the disused viaduct over Crowhurst
Marsh is to be demolished this year. This impressive structure has had a comparatively
short working life as the Bexhill West branch was not opened until 1902, and was
closed in 1964.
Six malthouses have been inspected, in Brighton, Portslade, Shoreham, Kingston-by-Sea, and Cooksbridge, and definite information is known on three others, at Billingshurst - Chidham and Pulborough, which now serve as residences. Many others have yet to be investigated. Any active help in either locating sites by examining six-inch maps, or visiting these sites for recording, would be welcome.
The malthouse at Kingston-by-Sea (just west of Shoreham Lighthouse, on the
A259) is the only one still working in Sussex, and there can be few others in
southern England. It has been recorded fully, with plans and photographs. Malt
is made here by the traditional method, and although machinery is used for
raking the barley, cleaning it and working the kilns, the process is centuries
old. The malthouse will be demolished in the next two years.
The Brightling Estate Brick and Tile Works. Reference has
already been made to this survey, page 1. Mr. Martin reports that the majority
of the surviving kiln block appears to be of late 19th century date. It is
ruinous, and the drying sheds have been demolished. .
Lime Kilns: Mrs. M. Holt is researching into these kilns in parts of West Sussex, and contributes the following article on lime pits and kilns
The use of manure, marl and chalk in order to maintain and improve the fertility of the land was already fully appreciated in medieval times, and there are many specific references to them in documents of the period.
Marl is obtained from the base of the Lower Chalk, and is a calcareous clay. The author of an 18th century book on husbandry calculated that the white marl near Duncton contained 7510 calcium carbonate, while the blue marl, which lay within the Gault Clay, contained only 8%. Marl was also found within the Weald proper, and dug locally in small, shallow pits. An entry in Slaugham Parish Registers for the year 1645 records the death of "an olde man, John Peacocke" who fell into a marl pit in the dark and was drowned.
Chalk was dug out in small pits at the foot of the Downs and transported over a wide area, up to 10 miles from the site. It was often spread over the fields in its raw condition, and allowed to weather naturally. It was found to be more beneficial, however, when burnt, and the fine resulting powder broad-cast over the soil.
The burning of lime is therefore of great antiquity, and because of the technical ability required it became almost a monopoly of certain families, who, over many generations, jealously guarded the secrets and mysteries of their craft.
By the 18th century every farm of any size had its own lime kiln, and others were sites on waste and common ground. The lime-burners travelled round the county, and the lime was used on a local, not a commercial basis. Perhaps the three large pits at Newbridge, near the Lime Burners Arms, (TQ073255), and the two near Colhook Common, (SU958272), may have been exceptions in this small area of West Sussex which I have studied. A survey of the area around Ebernoe reveals no less than 16 kilns, and of these seven are still in a fairly good state of preservation.
The average kiln consisted of a central circular chamber in the form of a cask, some 10 feet in depth. It had an inside lining of brick, of peculiar form and dimensions, and this was reinforced with stone and rubble to a width of 31 feet. The earth from the excavation was thrown back to make a mound of some 30 feet in circumference. The front was faced with brick or stone to a height of about 8 feet, and the eye, or mouth, of the kiln was 4 feet high by 21 feet wide, with two projecting wings.
The most difficult process was the 'setting' of the kiln, which first involved the building of a chalk oven on the clay floor, and then a filling of chalk was built up inside, with a slight tilt towards the back of the kiln. This was then domed, or arched with blocks of chalk, very carefully fitted without a centre. Small pieces of chalk were inserted to bind the whole together. Large blocks were then 'set' over the crown of the arch to induce the fire to flare; then small pieces, but no rubble, were used. Finally, the whole 'set', now some 7 - 8 feet high, was covered with the largest blocks. These usually remained unburnt, and were re-used for subsequent firings.
It took four loads of chalk to fill one kiln, and a man and boy could do this in a day, the cost varying with the distance from the pit. Faggots of wood or furze were always used, with the exception of a small area near the Arun where coal was available, although this lime was considered inferior, as the resultant product contained a proportion of coal dust. 1, 000 faggots were required for each burning. (It is interest-ing to note here how often the field names incorporate "Furze" in their nomenclature in the vicinity of these kilns.) It then required two men to fire the kiln which needed continuous attention, in order to re-tain the high temperature for a period of 24 hours.
This preliminary survey seems to indicate that the number of kilns within
this small area was probably greater than in the Wisborough Green district, but
further study will enable a more detailed and reasoned comparison to be made.
The booklets "The Port of Shoreham" (Shoreham Harbour Trustees,
2/6), and "Shoreham Harbour" and "The Town of Shoreham"
(West Sussex County Council, 15/- each), should be examined for a concise
current survey of the area. It is hoped to divide the whole of the area in
question so that the detailed survey can begin shortly.
Brighton and Hove
An Appeal for Information
THE OPEN AIR MUSEUM, WEST DEAN NEAR CHICHESTER
Whilst a major part of the Museum will be devoted to illustrate the development of the vernacular architecture of the Weald and Downland area, another important aspect i4 to be the display of rural crafts and industries. The Study Group is closely connected with this aspect of the Museum's work, being rep-resented on the Museum's Advisory Craft and Industries Committee.
It must be emphatically stated that the site is not yet open to the public. This is because planning consent has been given on the understanding that no general public admittance will be offered until the Museum has an adequate car park, and a new, and proper, car access point. However, there will be a private view to members of the Group on June 28th, after Mr. Armstrong's lecture in Chichester, (see Programme for 1969 for details).
For the industrial archaeologist, local directories are an invaluable source of detailed information, whether for the history of one man's business or for a rough occupational analysis of a large district. Between 1784, when the first printed directory covering any part of Sussex appeared, and 1940, when all Sussex directories ceased publication for the duration of the war, over eight hundred directories relating to the county were published.
An attempt to list those available in libraries has resulted in this first list. Distributed free to all members, further copies may be had for 2/-, post free, from John Farrant, 27 Bloomsbury Place, Brighton, BN2 1DB.
He will be pleased to hear of additions to this list, for further publication..
Sussex Industrial History - the proposed journal of the Study Group.
Editor: John Farrant.
The title "Sussex Industrial History" has been chosen because it expresses a wider scope than, but does not preclude, industrial archaeology. The distinction between history and archaeology which may hold for 'pre-historic archaeology' does not apply to those periods from which documentary evidence survives in profusion: the surviving artefacts are but one source by which to examine their industrial activity. It is essential that the Journal should seek to harmonise the use of archaeological and of more conventional materials in the writing of industrial history.
Papers might adopt a variety of approaches, by:
Collaboration may produce the most fruitful results; few members can possess the expertise to explore all aspects of their chosen subject.
The intention is to produce the first issue of "Sussex Industrial
History" in 1970. It might have 72 pages, crown quarto (10" x
71"), and sell at 10/-, but many decisions on price and size depend on a
full knowledge of the papers which members would be willing to submit for
publication. So if you are working on, or have completed, a piece of recording
or research, which could be available in draft by the autumn of 1969, please
make contact with me as soon as possible.
Industrial Archaeologists' Guide 1969 - 70. Edited by Neil Cossons and Kenneth Hudson, David and Charles, 25/-. Published in March.
First Edition of the One Inch Ordnance Survey.
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