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For information on up coming events and reports on past events.

Please press the blue button to book the 2017 summer outing shown on the button
(Details below)

London Temple, Newchapel Garden Tour, Wed 28th June 11:30 am

Buckhurst Park Garden Visit 22nd July 2.30

Bluebell Railway Evening Visit July 26th 6 for 6.30, Sheffield Park

Current Year Short Programme List

28th Sept 2016 AGM and 200 years of Gas with Chris Sugg
26th October 2016Folk Songs from Sussex with Mak Norman
23rd November 2016The Wealden Iron Industry with Brian Braby
December 2016No Meeting
25th January 2017Social Food & Fun
22nd February 2017Ashdown Forest, An Unnatural History with Steve Alton, Conservation Officer.
NOTE for future readers of the past at the last minute this talk was given by Rich Allum, one of only 4 Rangers on the Forest
22nd March 2017The Battle of Lewes with James Dickinson
26th April 2017Tales, Titbits & Trivia with Chris McCooey
24th May 2017The Shetland Bus of WWII with Gilly Halcrow
22nd July 2017 2.30Visit to Buckhurst Park Garden
26th July 2017Bluebell Railway evening visit, Sheffield Park 6 for 6.30
23rd August 2017Outing TBA

Annual Programme Details. Also see Meeting Reports.

Other Summer Outings TBA
22nd July 2017
Afternoon visit to Buckhurst Park Garden with a talk on the history hopefully by Lady De La Warr. Arrive by 2.30
26th July 2017Evening visit to the Bluebell Railway with conducted tour of the workshops where you will be able to see the heavy work involved with all preserved railways and I believe the construction of a new engine. We will also be given a talk on the history of the line and a light snack supper. Entry is £5 and snack also £5. Please book by pressing the blue button as we do need a good turnout! Bluebell Railway Evening Visit July 26th 6 for 6.30, Sheffield Park
24th May 2017Gilly Halcrow - The Shetland Bus.
The story of the brave Norwegian sailors in their fishing boats who kept links open between occupied Norway and Britain during WWII, taking agents in with supplies for the resistance and escaping refugees out. Not only did they have to face sub-Arctic storms in the North Sea but also the might of the Nazi war machine looking for them. A moving account of what affectionately became know as ‘The Shetland Bus’.
26th April 2017Chris McCooey - Tales, Titbits & Trivia
The strange tale of Cromwell's head, the Goudhurst Tit, the Kent samurai Will Adams, Hawkhurst & it's connection with the OXO cube, The Horsmonden inventor of the stomach pump, cobnuts, the Uckfield missionary who ministered to the Ainu of Hokkaido, the adventures of Sarah, our Tamworth pig and how Malcolm Muggeridge saved my bacon.
22nd March 2017James Dickinson - The Battle of Lewes"The Battle of Lewes was part of the Second Baron’s War in 1264 between The Barons led by Simon de Montfort and King Henry III.

James Dickinson will set the stage for this important piece of history by giving us some background about Henry’s father, King John, who was a really wicked King resulting in the First Baron’s War and in due course the Magna Carta. As James said to me the only good thing he did was to die!

Whilst Henry III was not as bad as his father he was a weak man and extremely greedy and would take every opportunity to claim and extort money which led to the second crisis with the Barons and the Battle of Lewes at which he was defeated and put into custody.

The result of this overthrow was to lead to a whole new level of government and the beginning of Parliament as we know it today."
22nd February 2017Steve Alton, Conservation Officer, 'Ashdown Forest, An Unnatural History'
Steve joined the Forest in December 2013 and has over 25 years’ experience in the conservation sector. Originally a conservation officer for the Wildlife Trusts, he then spent 13 years running the UK programme of Kew’s Millennium Seed Bank project. Steve oversees the day-to-day conservation management of the Forest, and has a particular interest in interpretation. He brings with him Zaf, an irrepressible flat-coated retriever cross.
For Future Readers of the Past this talk was taken over at the last minute by Rich Allum, Ranger. See report on his excellent talk.
25th January 2017Social - Food & Fun.
Once again we will be using the Village Hall and this time will be offering finger food, a delicious sweet and wine whilst entertainment will be by courtesy of Geoff Hutchinson in costume as "Mad Jack" Fuller, the eccentric Georgian Squire. Not to be missed - tickets at £10 a head will be on sale a.s.a.p.
December 2016No Meeting - Happy Christmas!
23rd November 2016Brian Braby - An illustrated talk on the Wealden Iron Industry - Iron Age to 17th Century. He says:-
"I will start with a look at the geology of the Weald, and the presence of “ironstone” in the local Wadhurst Clay and Tunbridge Wells Sandstone. The history of the Wealden Iron Industry itself goes back to the Iron Age, i.e. before AD43 when the Romans arrived and substantially developed the indigenous industry. There was then a lull in its development, although it still existed during the Anglo Saxon period, after which it grew steadily during the Middle Ages to the height of its importance during the Tudor period. I will include an account of the different processes used and the resulting products produced during this long period of time.”
26th October 2016Mak Norman Entertains with Folk Songs from Sussex
An audio & and personal musical venture into the folk songs of Sussex from the 19th Century to the 1960's and the characters who sang and collected them
28th September 2016AGM & an illustrated talk on 200 years of the Gas Industry with links to the early gas lighting manufactured by William Sugg & Co.
24th August 2016East Grinstead Walk with Simon Kerr
27th July 2016Visit to Bassetts Manor with Francis Whetstone
22nd June & 6th July 2016Visit to Hammerwood House with David Pinnegar
25th May 2016
Village Hall at 8:15
Ian Everest - Shepherds of the South Downs. Their life and times
Central to Sussex farming in past centuries, and to the economy of the area, were the thousands of sheep that grazed on the Downs. The shepherds, who spent their solitary lives caring for their flocks, were a familiar part of the local countryside. Ian tells their story.

Do come and listen to the life of an almost forgotten breed of hardy menfolk from only a generation or two ago.
27th April 2016
Village Hall at 8:15
Simon Kerr - Local History - East Grinstead
When I asked Simon if the title “Local History – A Personal View” would fit his talk he replied that;
“As I have a couple of local history books published and another on the way, your title is accurate enough.” Significantly, however, he added;
“However, perhaps I will be encouraged to tell you some of the weird and wonderful things that have happened along the way that will NOT make it into any book!”

I hope this will encourage you to join us on Wednesday to listen to one of our own local history enthusiasts and an accomplished speaker who has had a varied and entrepreneurial career and who could be found until quite recently manning the information desk in East Grinstead library and now can still be found in the East Grinstead Museum – so bring your questions with you!
23rd March 2016Gilly Halcrow:
"Knole and the Sackvilles"
If you thought that Knole was just another boring National Trust house, think again! Find out more about probably the largest ‘house’ in the country, the home of the Sackville family for over 400 years, and why it has captured Gilly’s imagination. A house brimming with a fabulous collection of Royal Stuart chairs, fabulous beds fit for a King and portraits.
What can be found in the park which is over twice the age of the house, and she doesn’t mean the trees!
The fascinating connection with Sussex; why an outrageous event in London in 1663 should cause Withyham church to be hit by lightning that night?
How did Knole alter the game of cricket played today?
And today; the £20 million project which is saving the house from crumbling into dust and in the process taking it to pieces and is revealing some fascinating secrets hidden for generations. For example, ‘Witch Marks’ found beneath the floor boards; why were they there, how did they work, and who were they going to protect?

24th February 2016
8.15 in the Village Hall.
Don Dray - 'You've Never Had it so Good"
The story of the postwar years 1945 - 1960
In the immediate post war years of the 1940s the pace of change began accelerating and by the end of the 1950s people were daring to think that life was good again. Don’s audio-visual presentation will portray the social history of Britain in the years from 1945 to 1960.
28th January 2016 -7:30
Social Evening with Supper AND a Power Point Presentation "Hartfield Then & Now" by Chris Sugg who, whilst collecting photos, illustrations and drawings for the website concluded that they should be shown to an audience before adding at least some to the site and that it would be even more interesting if they could be compared with current day pictures.
The Pie and Mash supper beforehand is by ticket entry only with a limited number of tickets available from Nick the Butcher, The Village Shop and Pooh Corner at £10 each. Bring your own bottle!
December 2015No meeting
25th November 2015, Village Hall 8:15 p.m.Marilyn Greatorex - "More than Just a House"
Marilyn will be telling us intimate stories of the Victorian Beale family and their household who lived in the wonderful Arts & Crafts house of Standen from 1894 until the death of the last Miss Beale in 1972.
28th October 2015Jeremy Field
"A History of Death & Burial Traditions"
For as long as there has been life there has been death and for those left behind the challenge of how best to honour and remember the person that has died. As society has advanced, moral standards and life expectancy have changed. In his talk on 28 October in Hartfield Village Hall Jeremy Field will explore how death and burial traditions have changed over the centuries and how the role of the funeral director has developed.

Jeremy is the Managing Director of his family’s funeral directing company, CPJ Field & Co. They are perhaps better known locally as Ballard & Shortall. The company is celebrating it's 325th anniversary this year and is one of the country’s oldest 12 family businesses.
23rd September 2015John Davey
"Lost Industries of Lewes"
Lewes was once a hive of industry and its river banks were once lined with cargo docks and warehouses. John Davey reveals the collection of Lewes photos amassed by his late father, Lesley Davey. Surrounded by the fertile plains of the Ouse valley, Lewes always provided a busy market place for farmers, but the additional benefit of a tidal river, easily navigable to the coast at Newhaven, meant that raw materials for many other industries were readily available.
In days when rail transport was in its infancy, and road transport barely dreamt of, heavy goods could travel only by water and the Ouse was a lifeline for the heavy industries that once thrived in Lewes.
The pictures tell their own stories and provide a fascinating glimpse of days when Lewes was both home and workplace to all its townsfolk, and when sons followed fathers and grandfathers in family trades and businesses.
26th August 2015
Afternoon visit 2:30 pm
Evening visit 7:00 pm
Visit to Tommy Mitchell's collection - max 12 people but two visits available, 2.30 and 7.00. The Mitchell family ran Central Garage in Upper Hartfield for 2 generations and Tommy still lives close by the garage. His ability with things mechanical is legendary but he has also been an avid collector of a wide range of unusual items which he will show you. He also has many Hartfield history items that I will be adding to the website as soon as I can!
To join this outing please send an email via the blue button and tell us how many of you AND AT WHAT TIME PLEASE:
22nd July 2015 - 7:00 pmVisit to The Eden Valley Museum (Edenbridge) where, in July they will have the 1822/3 diary of General Maitland of Holywich just north of the A264. The local Tithe Map which includes Hartfield should also be on show during the month.
To join this outing please send an email via the blue button and tell us how many of you would like to come. There will be a museum entry charge of £3.50 principally because they are opening out of their normal hours.
24th June 2015 -7:00 pmHartfield Village History walk with notes from Mike Parcell conducted by Gilly Halcrow who has kindly offered to take Jim Lusted's place at the last minute due to his indisposition.
Meet at the Village Hall car park at 7 o'clock. Estimated walk time of 1 hour. Learn about the fascinating historic buildings that line our small village. To join this outing please send an email via the blue button and tell us how many in your party. We may have to organise an extra tour if the numbers are too large for everyone to hear which is why it is IMPORTANT to have your request. Thank you.
27th May 2015 Andy Thomas
From the rebellions of Boudicca against Roman invaders to the Peasants' Revolt and the modern Poll Tax riots, from the truly revolutionary ideas put forward in Cromwellian times to influential movers and shakers such as Thomas Paine, the Suffragettes, and George Orwell, 'Freedom' has always been a key issue in English history. Andy shines an enthralling light on some of the most significant leaps of the centuries and sees how they still resonate today.
22nd April 2015 Archie Andrews! Yes, for those of a certain age this name will ring a strong bell. Did you know he resides in Hartfield?
Do you remember listening to Educating Archie on the radio in the 1950’s? Well Archie Andrews now lives in Hartfield and his new owner Colin Burnett Dick will be introducing him to the local History Group and talking about some of the famous people connected with the original show and how he and his wife Pauline came to acquire Archie.
Colin says, “Eventually, after the death of Peter Brough we heard that Archie was to be sold at auction in Taunton and by pure coincidence my wife and I happened to be spending a few days in Devon so, on a whim we went to the sale – and the rest is history”.
As a child Colin had a fear of toys coming to life, however, this transmuted into a lifelong love of ventriloquism!
Archie Andrews was an iconic part of radio entertainment in the 1950s with his original owner, Peter Brough and, despite the unlikely existence of ventriloquism on the radio, the scripts were very popular achieving a remarkable audience which reached 21 million.
One of the extraordinary aspects of the Archie Andrews’ programmes was that they introduced many young talents that went on to be really famous. Names such as Tony Hancock, Hattie Jaques, Max Bygraves, Harry Secombe, Bruce Forsyth and a young Julie Andrews replaced later by Beryl Reid who took over the roll as his St. Trinian style girlfriend with catch phrases such as “jolly hockey sticks” and “as the art mistress said to the gardener” - all were first heard on the BBC Programme Educating Archie.
It was on this show that Eric Sykes, who was the original script writer, first met Hattie Jaques. Although Peter Brough did eventually take Archie Andrews onto television he was nowhere near as successful, partly because Peter Brough was not actually a very good ventriloquist and his ‘doll’ was not considered very lifelike!
Following the acquisition there was an enormous surge of interest and Colin decided to reintroduce Archie 2 with a new ventriloquist, Steve Hewlett, whilst keeping the original Archie safe and sound.
We are delighted to have the opportunity of learning all about this icon of entertainment along with many photos and stories and hopefully a glimpse of the original Archie who will be accompanied by Archie 2!
Everybody is welcome at the Hartfield Village Hall on Wednesday 22nd April at 8:00 pm where the entrance fee will be just £2.
25th March 2015Helen Poole
"Sir John Gage and his house at Firle"
The Gage family have been at Firle Place for nearly 500 years and their home is a hidden gem. Its Tudor founder, Sir John Gage, survived the storms at the court of Henry VIII, but his sons and grandsons suffered for remaining loyal to Catholicism. This changed in the 18th century when the present house was built and now contains a fine collection of paintings and porcelain. The speaker is Helen Poole who has been a steward at Firle Place since 2009 and is fascinated by Tudor history in Sussex, where she has worked in a variety of museums since 1991
25th February 2015 Ian Everest
"Sussex during the First World War".
Some aspects of how the Great War impacted on the people of Sussex - the activities of a mobilised front-line county within the sounds of the guns on the Western Front.
28th January 2015 Nostalgia Evening
Listen to recordings of old Hartfield residents at The Anchor as in 2014
This year we will follow the same pattern but with two main recordings, one of Ruth Taylor whose husband was butler to Lord & Lady Castle Stewart for 35 years and the second of Joan Giradot, a power in the village for many years including 12 years as Parish Council Chairman. In between there will be short recordings of interesting items.
Visitors will be asked for an entrance fee of £6 which will automatically give them full membership lasting until the AGM in September AND a small drink and snack during the evening. Existing members will receive their entrance ticket to include a drink and snack without charge.
December 2014No meeting
26th November 2014James Castle
"Hartfield War Heroes".
James Castle has spent a great deal of time at the War Memorial in the middle of the village - and several others, recording all the names and investigating their stories. He tells me that he has been working on this for 8 years - and there are still some questions unanswered! His talk will be of particular interest to local families but also to anyone interested in the War and its devastating consequences.