Horsham Museum has been situated in Causeway House since 1941, but prior to that the collections found a home in the basement of Park House, North Street. The Museum occupies the entirety of the Causeway House site. In addition to the displays, the museum collections also feature: Archive; The archive building was constructed to hold the Albery collection and other documents from the town's manuscript collections. Library; The Curator's Library has over 2,000 books on the Museum's collections and can be consulted upon request. Garden; The museum garden was, until 1981, a derelict area after many years of neglect. A project run by the Horsham Museum Society (now Friends of Horsham Museum) led by Sylvia Standing was developed to restore the garden to a fit state. In 2007 the team won the Community Services Gold Award in the Horsham in Bloom Floral Display competition, recognition of the hard work put in to the garden throughout the year. Edward Bainbridge Copnall's 10-foot-tall sculpture of the Crucifixion of Jesus, made of coal dust and resin, was installed in St John's Church, Broadbridge Heath, Horsham, in 1964, but was removed in December 2008 to Horsham Museum. The Museum has a large and varied collection arranged in 18 galleries.
The Shopping Gallery : As a country market town, Horsham's lifeblood has been farming and shopping. Exploiting the original packaging of goods and the trade signs, bill heads and accounts used by shShopping Galleryops, the two large Edwardian display cases show the way shop goods and retailers have changed between the Victorian era and the 1960s. Horsham Museum is fortunate to have the fixtures and fittings from 'Williams & Smith,' a chemist shop formerly to be found on West Street, which have been set up in the gallery. Although the drug drawers are Victorian, they were still in use until the shop closed in the early 1970s. The superbly etched glass door panel reflects the Victorian love affair with ornamentation. Horsham was noted for its market and a lively painting by Edward Bainbridge Copnall of the cattle market in the 1920s is on show. Another cabinet features the artwork on packaging and a display of the weights and measures. Craft Gallery : The Craft gallery features a changing programme of current work by some of the best of the District's craftsmen and women, including ceramics, glassware, tapestries and woodworking. This gallery also features a collection of Horsham's long case, or 'grandfather,' clocks.
Costume Gallery : Items from the Museum's extensive costume collection of over 3000 garments are displayed in the Costume Gallery and Costume Accessories Gallery at the rear of the first floor. Themed temporary exhibitions and a 'Costume of the Month' display feature a revolving selection of clothing, while the Costume Accessories gallery is more of a store. Using original 1950s Swedish shop fittings, the small drawers from ladies' outfitters have been turned into display drawers, including shoes from 1670 to 2000, hats, hat pins, costume jewellery, ethnographic jewellery, chatelaines, purses and handbags. A small cabinet displays a selection of buttons whilst a large graphic panel explains how to look after your prized possessions. Crime & Punishment : The world's first revolutionary gaol was built in Horsham in 1775. The display uses the original windows, door, padlock and keys from the gaol, these come together to form a room setting that shows what prison clothes and a typical cell would have looked like. Accounts of various crimes and punishments from documents in the Museum's archives provide some fascinating stories. Two mementoes of one of the most notorious crimes of the twentieth century, the Acid Bath Murders, are on display. The murderer, John Haigh, was held in a Horsham police cell before his pre-trial hearing. The Museum has his cell door and a comb that he used in the prison hospital at Lewes.
Garman Gallery : GarmanThe gallery centres on the remains of an original fireplace that was discovered during renovations. The gardening element of the gallery is portrayed in a small display of a potting shed, featuring objects from a seventeenth century watering can to 1950s seed packets. With rakes, hoes, pruning knives, a ball of twine, Sussex trugs and a sleeping cat, there is a wealth of objects to interest the viewer. The gallery also displays pottery and porcelain spanning the eighteenth and nineteenth centuries and graphic panels including the reproduction of Capability Brown's design for Horsham's lost stately home, Hills Place. Lorinery Gallery : William Albery's West Street saddlery business was started by his great grandfather. Albery developed a keen interest in the history of saddlery, collecting examples of the saddler's art and craft dating from the 1850s onwards. He gave his collection to the town in the 1950s. The Museum's new saddlery and lorinery display gives a flavour of Albery's shop. Items on display range from the state harness used by the Turkish Ambassador at the Coronation of Edward VII to a 1795 harness used on a cart horse. The collection of horse bits are just part of the 1,000 or more bits in the Albery collection.
Horsham Room : Horsham can trace its origins to a land charter of AD 947 and has seen a number of developments in the thousand years since. The displays trace how Horsham came by its name in Saxon times to the town centre redevelopments of the 1980s and 1990s. The medieval case features a collection of medieval pots known as the 'Horsham Hoard,' found in the 1860s by Thomas Honywood. Finds from the private excavation of Sedgwick Castle can also be seen. In the eighteenth and nineteenth century cases there are guns and watches made by local craftsmen, a doll that was found under the floor boards of a local shop and the 'Peal Book,' recording the peals rung by Horsham bell ringers. In the twentieth century case there are the collecting tins used for fund raising for the town's War Memorial and the cottage hospital, as well as shell fragments from WWII bombs that fell on the town. A small case has been devoted to Alfred Shrubb, the Slinfold born world record holder for running, who was also a Horsham tobacconist. Flints & Fossils : There are three themes to this gallery, all interlinked. Horsham was at the cutting edge of Victorian science as two local men, George Bax Holmes and Thomas Honywood transformed the idea of the past. Bax Holmes discovered and collected dinosaur fossils, including the remains of the Great Horsham Iguanodon at St. Mark's, while Honywood discovered the material remains of Mesolithic man (from the period after the last ice age, some 8 to 10,000 years ago). The story of Horsham is brought up to date with the model of the proposed town centre redevelopment of the 1980 and 1990s, which focused on the area of St. Mark's.
Cabinet of Curiosities : Cabinets of Curiosity were the forerunners of museums. They were the personal collections of wealthy owners and were assembled to evoke a sense of curiosity and wonder. In their own way they offered means to categorise and understand the world. They eventually developed into museums as we know them today. Among the items on display there is a narwhal horn, at one time thought to have been a unicorn horn; Roman and Egyptian objects, many of which would have been familiar from classical writings; finds from Latin America as well as natural curiosities, much of which would have been unfamiliar to people of the sixteenth century. World Cultures : This small space is in the oldest part of the Museum, dating back to the 1420s. The landing features items brought back from overseas by Charles and Emma Henderson, who travelled to the Far East in the 1880s and '90s. They returned with many unusual items to decorate their home at Sedgwick Park, near Nuthurst, Horsham. These include a large earthenware vase and a bronze kylin, or 'Dog of Fo,' from China that eventually joined many other ethnographical items in the Museum's collection. There is also a superbly carved Indian temple. Also on display there are weapons and shields from Africa. Such objects are not necessarily associated with Sussex, but have a Horsham connection through the many people from the District who have travelled the globe bringing back souvenirs from other cultures.
Shelley Gallery : Percy Bysshe Shelley, the poet and well known political radical, was born at Field Place, Warnham, in 1792. During his short life he wrote some of the most powerful poetry in the English language and promoted radical causes, such as political and religious reform, equality between the sexes and vegetarianism. Today he is admired throughout the world for his works. He drowned in 1822 off the Italian coast in his own sailing boat, the 'Don Juan,' while returning from a sailing trip during a violent summer storm, a month short of his 30th birthday. There are very few surviving Shelley relics and what there is has been donated to major national collections. Shelley's wife Mary Shelley, is well known in her own right for Frankenstein. Horsham Museum has built up a solid collection of first and early editions of Shelley's works and those of his circle. On display is a very rare bronze bust of Shelley, as well as a model of the 'Ajax,' which saw action in the Battle of Trafalgar captained by Shelley's uncle, Captain John Pilfold. Toy Gallery : This bright and lively gallery focuses on childhood and the toys that filled it, ranging from a medieval toy pot to modern day favourites. On show there is a complete Edwardian dolls' house, a moving model railway engine and displays showing toys and objects from several generations of children from the early 1900s to the 1990s. There is also a bookcase with examples of children's literature spanning 200 years and a giant 'A-Z of Childhood' containing a wealth of interesting facts.
The barn is an original farm building set up at the Museum during 1982 and 1983. It houses displays on the Wealden farmer, Sussex trades and transport and garden equipment. The gallery tells the story of farming from the medieval period through to World War II using local examples, including the daily life of the farmer and the social life of the farm worker with smocks, Sussex money boxes decorated with farming scenes, and an unusual item: a sparrow roaster. The farmyard implements and carts span 200 years, from an eighteenth century wheelbarrow to the 1950s coloured bands for ringing hens. Other cases look at the tools of the trade with sheep shears, sheep and cow bells, as well as rick thermometers. Look out for a superbly made model of a post windmill, a number of fine agricultural medals, the bull ring from the Carfax, as well as some large agricultural tools including an eighteenth century plough. On raised plinths larger farming tools can be seen together with other equipment including a Lewes winnowing machine and a faggot bundler. Some long handled tools and two magnificent cast horses' heads are mounted on the walls. Local trades are represented by the collection of shop and business signs, including the famous spectacles that once hung outside Jury Cramp's shop on West Street. Blazing Saddles : The centrepiece of this display is the 1868 Shand Fire Engine, one of two fire engines used in Horsham in the Victorian era. Along with the engine you will discover fire helmets, axes and other items used by the fire service. In Horsham it was an honour to be a fireman, as new recruits to the Service had to be voted in. The voting box is also on display. A magnificent portrait of Thomas Honywood, Captain of the Horsham Volunteer Fire Brigade, dressed in his full fireman's uniform, can be seen in the Museum Library. The Museum holds a notable collection of early bicycles such as a 'Boneshaker,' an 'Ordinary,' best known as the 'Penny Farthing,' and a replica of the celebrated 'Hen and Chicken,' or 'Pentacycle,' designed by Horsham architect, Edward Burstow. In all there are over 15 bicycles on display.
Local Trades : Farming in the Horsham district was supported by the traditional trades of the blacksmith and wheelwright. Horsham Museum is fortunate to have the tools and equipment of the Piper family from Southwater, whose business began in the early 1800s and ceased trading in the late 1960s. The display houses an impressive bellows, a tyring iron, and a host of other tools from their workshops. Museum Garden : Items from the Museum's collections displayed in the garden include two local milestones used as a seat, two parish boundary stones, a bronze by J G Millais, a lead pump, three stone sinks, two stone food preparation slabs, the plinth of the sundial and the cauldron. Stone pots and the sundial plate are modern. The garden was designed and constructed by Sylvia Mary Standing. It was designed to provide three paved areas for groups of visitors and the paths give dry access to visitors and staff to outlying galleries and workshops. The central grass was replaced by a quartered herb garden which provides scented plants for the visually impaired. After demolition of the conservatory – its glass was used to repair the war-damaged cathedral in the Falklands- the floor was rearranged and the door into the hall reinstated to provide wheelchair access to the garden. The paving is of local material: Horsham stone, from building sites and archaeological excavations in Horsham, Sussex marble, Roman mosaic, local bricks and Tudor iron slag.
Once you are in the building the ground floor and gardens are accessible to all. There is wheelchair access via the ramp at the front door. The upper floors are more limited. The wide main staircase allows for a helper to assist any visitor with mobility difficulties though some of the passages upstairs are narrow with one or two steps to be negotiated. There is a disabled toilet within the ground floor. They do not allow dogs and other pets into the Museum or Museum gardens except for Assistance Dogs. They regret if this causes you any inconvenience. However, they are happy to supply your dog with a bowl of water outside. Just ask at reception. There are no cafe facilities at the museum, however Horsham has a number of cafes within a 5 minute walk from the museum. Visitors are welcome to eat their picnics in the rear walled garden.
Location : Museum and Art Gallery, 9 Causeway, Horsham, West Sussex, RH12 1HE
Transport : Horsham (National Rail) then 12 minutes. Bus Routes : 1, 4, 6, 17, 23, 50, 52, 63, 93, 98 and 108 stop close by.
Opening Times : Monday to Saturday 10:00 to 17:00
Tickets : Free
Tel. : 01403 254959