Cramp’s photographic gems in new exhibition

Cramp Archive photographic exhibition at Horsham Museum SUS-151008-124950001
Cramp Archive photographic exhibition at Horsham Museum SUS-151008-124950001

A new exhibition at Horsham District Council’s Horsham Museum and Art Gallery features selected photographs from the Cecil Cramp Archive.

It offers a chance to view further gems from the Cramp Archive of historic photographs of old Horsham (1870 – 1950), donated to Horsham Museum and Art Gallery in 2008, revealing the changing face of the town over the years.

The photographs were donated to the museum following the death of Cecil Cramp.

They have been catalogued by Museum volunteers and will be part of a project to have a searchable database of the Museum’s photographic archives online by the end of the year.

The photographs are available to buy as a complete set in the form of Horsham Museum’s 2016 Horsham Calendar at a price of £5.

Cecil was the grandson of the founder of Cramps - a well known landmark jewellers and opticians in West Street, Horsham, for over 100 years. The shop’s famous giant spectacles now hang on display in the museum.

In 1975 the West Sussex County Times ran a long article on ‘A man who keeps the past alive’. In it the reporter quoted Cecil’s views on the past and Horsham:

The 1975 article read:

He started making his own photographic record of Horsham back in the early 1930s when he was a pupil at Collyer’s school.

“I was an amateur photographer in both still and cine, so I thought I would take photographs of places that were then, and might not be there in the future,’’ he explained.

He went on to say that after the war he saw a magic lantern slide show which rekindled his interest, he dug out his photos and created an hour long slideshow.

He never looked back. His talks and slideshows to groups are popular across the area.

He is mildly surprised that his audiences appear to be more interested in buildings than people.

“Show them a picture of a group of people whose names are well known and they will ask what is the building in the background.

“A building seems to have more old associations.’

Cecil Cramp is not a person who lives entirely in the past and who cries ‘Whatever have they done to poor old Horsham?’

“I do not think Horsham’s character has been lost,’’ he said.

“I am sorry that the town has to change, but the fact remains that it does have to.

“So we have to do the best we can. And I think the design of the new shopping centre (Swan Walk) with its brickwork and tiles and different roof levels will not destroy the town’s character.’’

Cecil Cramp smiled when he said: “When the old Westminster Bank was built in 1897 in the centre of the Carfax, people said the building was too tall and not like old Horsham.”

The exhibition runs to October 24 and a selection of the photographs are featured here.