A snapshot of Horsham through the eyes of a life-long resident

John Snelling with his book. Photo: John Lee
John Snelling with his book. Photo: John Lee

A unique insight into the changing face of Horsham over the years has been captured in a new book.

Written by local author and Rotary member John Snelling, the book - entitled Mixed Fruit From A Sussex Tree - gives a glimpse of Horsham history through the eyes of a life-long resident.

It is revealed in the intriguing life story of 86-year-old John himself, whose family has lived in Horsham for generations.

It tells of his close-knit family and his upbringing as a ‘cradle Anglican’, on to his time at Collyer’s Grammar School and onwards to Cambridge where he read English.

He also reveals how his first entry into working life was as an editor with London book publishers Cassell who were at the time publishing Winston Churchill’s memoirs - and John got to meet the man himself.

But his working life in the arts took a dramatic twist to science instead when he went to work for the firm Ciba - later Ciba Geigy - in Horsham where he worked his way up to a top post before retiring.

But Mixed Fruit From A Sussex Tree is not merely an autobiography, it is an eclectic mix of musings on life, poems, fictional tales - and more.

Christina Maude, wife of former Horsham MP Francis Maude, in a preface to the book, says: “As a record of vanished times, small scale and local, it will be an ornament to any social history collection, and it fulfils an important role in the fast-disappearing narrative on which future historians and biographers will come to rely.”

Mixed Fruit From A Sussex Tree - ISBN 978-1-910489-52-9 - is published by Country Books and is available, priced £20, from all bookshops or on-line from www.countrybooks.biz or www.sussexbooks.co.uk

John will be signing copies of his book at Waterstone’s in Horsham’s West Street tomorrow (Friday) from 6.30 - 8pm.