Horsham captured on camera in 1951

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IT was 60 years ago this year that members of the Horsham Photographic Society went out to photograph the town they loved.

You can see what came of their work at ‘Horsham 1951’, opening at Horsham Museum on Tuesday April 5.

The nation as a whole was celebrating what made Britain, Britain, as part of the Festival of Britain, and the Society decided to capture in black and white Horsham.

The magnificent photographs were then bound up in an album and presented to the town.

The album of more than 150 images portrays a town that was recovering from the austerity of post war rationing and the very black and white nature of them adds to this sense.

Now 60 years on, a selection of these photographs are going on display in Horsham Museum photographic gallery.

The 1951 Festival of Britain had deliberate echoes of the Great Exhibition of 1851 housed at Crystal Palace.

The Festival was designed to show a modern forward looking Britain, yet one still linked to the past.

Those photographs of Horsham in 1951 had echoes of the same. Yet the speed of change over the last 60 years means that whilst many of the buildings are the same the town looks and acts differently.

These images do show Horsham in the past as a foreign place, yet familiar, quietly disconcerting but also fascinating.

With images of the old millers cottage, next to Prewetts mill, or Horsham fire station next to Park House; The Odeon obelisk on North Street and Horsham Market on a bustling day, along with many others, the exhibition ‘Horsham 1951’ is an opportunity to see how Horsham has changed and to thank members of Horsham Photographic Society who thought that future generations would be interested in seeing the town in 1951 preserved.

‘Horsham 1951’ closes on 25 June 2011.