30 years ago

FROM the West Sussex County Times of Friday, January 2, 1981.

DESPITE all the talk of financial gloom, Horsham shoppers were more determined than ever to have a good Christmas and the stores have reported bumper takings.

Most managers agreed the run up to Christmas was slow but once it started, it really took off.

There was a trend towards spending less on larger items and on toys but food and drink sales rocketed and the most expensive goods went first, according to Tesco manager, Rupert Salter.

“It was better than last year and proves once again that people always want a good Christmas. It was slow but there was a mad rush in the last three days,” he said.

‘Wild’ was the word Charlie Bennett, of Sperrings Ltd, used. The shop in West Street, which sells confectionery, cards and books, set targets above last year and these were smashed.

“People went wild,” he said. He suggested people were worried at first about the gloomy messages and talk of redundancies and then thought ‘blow it at least we’ll have a good Christmas’.

A shop looking to the new year is Grants with its January sale already started. Manager Peter Evans said it did not appear people had spent all their money over Christmas and the sale was going well.

“Christmas buying was late but marvellous,” he said.

Peter Mackman, secretary of Horsham Chamber of Trade, said his general impression was that trade bucked up tremendously towards the end when there was quite a rush.

ON WHAT was a gift of a day for any lover of the countryside, with clear blue sky and crisp fresh air, the Crawley and Horsham Hunt came into the Carfax as it has every Boxing Day for as long as most people can remember.

But this year the equally old tradition of the members taking a stirrup cup before setting off for the forest was broken. The King’s Head Hotel, which has been the host to the hunstmen every Boxing Day, was closed.

A spokesman for the hotel said on Monday the owner was away and he could not comment on why the doors remained shut over Christmas. Some hunt members suspected it was a sign of the times and the biting recession.

The lack of refreshment did not affect the numbers and the crowd of spectators seemed greater than ever with people packing the Carfax and lining the route up East Street.

They took pictures of the men in pink, patted the hounds and admired the neatly cropped horses.

There were no objectors this year to disrupt the trot round the town and up to St Leonard’s Forest, and the hunt later reported that it had had a ‘very good day’.

The County Times received one letter of dissent whose writer suggested there should be a referendum in Horsham and Crawley to see what people thought of hunting.

HORSHAM’S new indoor swimming pool is taking shape. The work being carried out in Horsham Park, reveals the basic outline of the building, with its gently sloping pitched roof.

The wooden laminated beams and columns are now in position, with the surrounding steel frame which embrace the whole of the structure.

The beams and uprights are pine, and of laminated construction for strength. They were brought from Finland by sea and road.

All the exposed structural work of this building is of timber, and the pine beams and columns will be a feature of the new pool, clearly visible to swimmers and spectators. Work on the pool is on schedule, and the contract is due for completion in October,1981.

Proceeds from the current Horsham lottery, which is the last of a series of five, will provide amenities at the new swimming pool.

By the date of sale, January 5, 1981, it is expected that over £15,000 will have been raised by the lottery for this project.