Foot power instead of horse power – a tale of two Good Fridays

Depiction of the Good Friday foot race c1879
Depiction of the Good Friday foot race c1879
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This Easter, the streets of Horsham will be throbbing with horsepower as Ferraris tour the Carfax.

In April 1879, it was foot power that dominated Good Friday.

Today it is state-of-the-art cars, their wealthy owners in designer fashion; then it was some characters of Horsham in homemade clothing.

Then it was a sketch artist capturing the moment; this year, it is stunning photography.

Thanks to the art of Tom Charman and Henry Burstow’s Reminiscences, we have a fascinating account of the Good Friday Race of April 1879.

The tale went like this:

“Two lesser lights among Horsham’s extraordinary characters were Allen Aldridge, the Old Church organ blower - who in many respects resembled Harry Lambert - and ‘Foot’em’ Jenkins, window cleaner, truck shover etc, remarkable for his short legs, upon which his ready-made trousers appeared like extended concertinas, and his long splay feet.

“Everyone of these three individuals was interesting in himself; when they combined to entertain the public the fare provided was rich indeed.

“This they once did on Good Friday afternoon, about 1879, when they ran a race, arranged by a few sportive individuals, from the Hurst Arms Inn to Thornton’s Beer Shop (now known as The Stout House), on the Carfax, for a gallon of stout.”

The sketch, by Tom Charman, is captioned “Race between Harry Lambert, Allen Aldridge and Foot’em Jenkins on Good Friday about 1879”.

Copies of Burstow’s Reminiscences are available from Horsham Museum, 9 Causeway, which is open over Easter, on Good Friday from 10.30am-4pm, Saturday 10am-5pm and Easter Monday 10.30am-4pm.

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