Horsham Museum’s 2015 exhibition on political history tells many an untold story (‘Politics, war and chocolate in museum’s 2015’, WSCT, Jan 7).
Horsham had a reputation of being one of the country’s most corrupt towns in 1295AD. In that year, when Parliament was first called, a parliamentary seat was sold for £4,000 in which £80,000 went on bribes.
This was at a time when only 52 people could vote in the town - often for just a figurehead who was drafted in by the local Lord, or at the request of the King.
As Jeremy Knight of the Horsham Museum says: “The history of politics and Parliament is a fascinating story. Corruption was endemic at one point.”
The 2015 Exhibition, marking the 750th Anniversary when Parliament was first called, also tells the untold story of the British Union of Fascists (BUF), led by Oswald Mosley.
Horsham had a BUF base in West Street and Denne Road - with the West Sussex Headquarters in Marine Parade, Worthing - dubbed the ‘The Munich of the South Coast’.
The long-serving local MP at the time, representing both Horsham and Worthing, was Edward Turnour - 6th Earl of Winterton.
It is claimed he was in sympathy with Oswald Mosley’s politics during those pre-war years. After the war, he became Baron Turnour of Shillinglee in the County of Sussex, which gave him a seat in the House of Lords until the title became extinct on his death in 1962.
In 1910, when the Baron was a young man of 27, the UK Times reported he was engaged to Ivy Gordon-Lennox (whose uncle was the 7th Duke of Richmond). Ivy’s mother was none too pleased, and placed a notice in the New York Times to state there was no such engagement!
In 1915, Ivy married William Cavendish-Bentinck, Marquess of Titchfield, and then became Duchess of Portland.
In 1924, Baron Turnour married the Honourable Cecilia Monica Wilson, daughter of Charles Wilson, 2nd Baron Nunburnholme (and Lady Majorie Cecilia Wynn-Carrington).
Such ‘hidden histories’ no longer lie hidden at Horsham Museum’s 2015 Exhibition. It’s worth a visit.
RICHARD W. SYMONDS
The Ifield Society, Ifield Street, Ifield Village
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