Committee Members

Alan Reid

Telephone: 07748254054


Doug Cox

Telephone: 01293 410366

Treasurer and Book Sales

John Chisholm

Telephone: 01293 786419

Samantha Marshall

Telephone: 01293 201908

David Morgan

Telephone: 01293 776121

Hazel Oldfield-Bevan

Telephone: 07778 515017


Horley Local History Centre


 On Wednesday 15 November 1995 the “Horley Local History Centre” desk came into being in Horley Library. So from that date on, the “Desk” has opened every Tuesday 3-5 pm and Saturday 11 am -1 pm to answer any historical query about the locality. Yes, it is now in its 21st year.

 The setting up of this completely free facility came about by a desire of the “Horley Local History Society” to make available to everyone its historical knowledge about the town and locality. At the same time the Surrey County Council was tasked to do the same thing with its historical knowledge and the idea of the “DESK” was conceived.

 It is manned entirely by volunteers from the History Society and the “DESK” has a dedicated section within the Library. Since it opened it has handled many queries, well over 1500 in the last 5 years. Some dealt with in 5 minutes, others lasting over several visits. Not only does it attempt to answer those who personally visit the “DESK”, but it also answers the many emails received from all over the world, some requiring many weeks of continued interaction.

 As one volunteer said, “it is extremely fascinating as you never know what the next query will be about. For example we recently had an enquiry from a German owner of a 1930s Bentley car who wished to know about a garage in Horley by the name of Hunt, who he said was responsible many years ago for modifying the coachwork of his car? We even learned a lot more ourselves.” It was by the way at Salfords, where the second-hand car sales site is today.

 A lady enquirer phoned one day to ask where the WW1 hostel for Belgium families was in Horley? We had no idea. Her husband was billeted with a Belgium family during WW2 and both families became the best of friends. During one of their recent visits one of their Belgium son-in-law’s took them for a car ride around the Belgium countryside and remarked that his father was born in England during WW1 but did not know where. When the lady returned home to the UK she immediately applied for the father’s birth certificate that boldly gave his birth place as Hostel in Horley. Hence her phone enquiry. One volunteer realised that we had a WW1 post card of a group of Belgium refugees that stated it was taken in Horley so we copied it and it was sent to the son-in-law. He in turn showed it to an elderly aunt who recognised many in the photo and pointed to a babe in arms and said this was your father!

 Many of the enquiries received are far more involved than the two examples above and often take weeks to research with several letters and emails to follow. Frequently they add to the Centre’s knowledge and to our photographic archives. Some add to our knowledge so extensively that it is thought so important as to produce the subject as a history note or monograph to place on the library shelves with a copy to the Surrey History Centre. In this way we are building up Horley’s heritage for all to read about. (For details of past, present and planned publications see and follow the link to Publications) Some we give permission to those still building up their own knowledge on the subject, to use what the Centre has produced. (Eg see and follow the history link for High Trees School at Horley).

 The Centre also maintains a constant and varying photographic exhibition on different subjects that is found to be of great interest to the general public when just visiting the library. Volunteers are always ready to discuss with those who view them which often leads to other local enquiries that were not initially intended.

 This type of activity relieves the full-time library staff of having to deal with such enquiries while at the same time having a facility akin to a semi-professional arm about local history within the library. This in turn can often interest the general public to take up the study of the subject and help to improve the desirability and knowledge of the area.

 Another benefit is to the Surrey History Centre through Centre volunteers suggesting to enquirers perhaps they should carry out further research there. This was one of the prime reasons for the initial idea to set up such centres back in 1994/5 as mentioned above.

 There are now 7 such Local History Centres within Surrey, some servicing larger community areas but all benefit by knowing what others are doing. Horley set up the very first in Surrey and won an auspicious award for doing so..

 Brian Buss 01.06.16


A new book about flower mills has been published it includes details of Salfords Mill.

See details under Book Reviews.

Meetings Calendar

Thursday 22 February 2018 AGM followed by History of the Horley Car.

Thursday 22 March 2018 Centenary of RAF by Doug Cox and Brian Buss.

Thursday 26 April 2018 Rarely seen Photos of Horley John Chisholm

 Thursday 24 May 2018 How to undertake Your Family History

 Thursday 28 June 2018 TBC

 Thursday 26 July 2018 A History of Bell Ringing at St Bartholomew’s Robin Grant at St Bart’s Church

 Summer Break

 Thursday 6 September 2018 NOTE the early date A Talk about Lee Street from the Chequers and along Mill Lane to the Black Horse (part of Horley’s Heritage Week) Alan Reid

 Saturday 8 September 2018 A Heritage Walk in Horley at 11.00am and 2.00pm

 Thursday 26 October How the First World War Really Ended Doug Cox

 Thursday 22 November David Ralph  An illustrated history of the London to Brighton Veteran Car Run.

  The first half of the talk introduces the many different types of early cars and then goes  on to give the
history of the London to Brighton Run that first took place in 1896.  This first part takes about 45 minutes (slightly longer if there are lots of questions)  and then following
a refreshment break the audience is taken on a trip from London to Brighton aboard a 1904
De Dion Bouton car. The second part lasts about 25 minutes.

  Thursday 13 December A Christmas Evening

 Meetings are at the Methodist Church School Hall, (Except July) Victoria Road, Horley. Surrey.  7.30 pm. for 8.00 pm.

Access to car park by the driveway left-hand side of the church, and entrance to the hall is on the right-hand side of the building.



 This newsletter is published by the Horley Local History Society. : Brian Buss Telephone: 01293 782231

Horley Local History Society


NEWS Letter





The Venue

The Society meets at the Methodist Hall, Victoria Road, Horley, Surrey, every 4th Thursday in the month at 7:30pm for 8:00 unless otherwise stated below.

Parking is available at the rear.


Meetings Calendar


Thursday 14 December 2017 A Horley Christmas Evening.

Thursday 25 January 2018 Votes for Women and the Historical Impact on Horley  Sam Marshall

Thursday 22 February 2018  AGM followed by the History of the Horley Car

Thursday 22 March 2018 Centenary of the RAF Doug Cox & Brian Buss

Thursday 26 April 2018  Rarely seen Photos of Horley  John Chisholm

Thursday 24 May 2018  How to undertake Your Family History

Thursday 28 June 2018  TBC


Thursday 26 July 2018 A History of Bell Ringing at St Bartholomew’s Robin Grant at St Bart’s Church


Summer Break


Thursday 6 September 2018 NOTE the early date A Talk about Lee Street from the Chequers and along Mill Lane to the Black Horse (part of Horley’s Heritage Week) Alan Reid

Saturday 8 September 2018  A Heritage Walk in Horley at 11.00am and 2.00pm

Thursday 26 October How the First World War Really Ended Doug Cox

Thursday 22 November TBC

Thursday 13 December  A Christmas Evening


If any members would like to hear – or perhaps give – a talk on any particular subject please let one of the committee know.  We need inspiration and would welcome your suggestions.

The Romans laid good metalled roads to move soldiers and supplies quickly across their Empire.    They measured the distance marched to aid timing and efficiency, marking every thousandth double-step with a large cylindrical stone and about 117 of these still survive in the UK. After Roman times, roads and tracks developed to meet local needs. In 1555 an Act of Parliament made local Parishes responsible for their upkeep and in 1697 Justices issued orders to erect guideposts at cross roads.

 These came about when the Turnpike road from London to Brighton was constructed in 1816. All 4 can still be seen along the east side of the A23 through Horley/Salfords. The first from the north is on Pettridge common close to West Ave, the next near the top of Peartree Hill, the third going south is opposite the Chequers as above and the fourth is almost opposite the Lych Gate. They were all triangular in section and made of cast iron’

 The only Milestone known is at Povey Cross. This was removed in WW2 but was traced and replaced in exactly the correct position by HLHS according to the 1870 map. It is not known if it was originally placed by the Act setting up the first Turnpike road in Surrey in 1695 between Crawley and Reigate.

The Lych Gate is Horley’s memorial to the 3 local men that fell in the South African War of 1899-1902. More details about its history and the men it commemorates along with the history of such gates can be gained at the forthcoming talk on 28 June 2018.

 Horley History from Canada

HLHS receives queries, etc from many different parts of the world. Recently it was one from Canada but this time it was not only to tell us about part of our town but to provide a photo or two to prove it.

 Nick Percy Sherwin was the occupier of the poultry shop, shown below, in Victoria Road from 1904 to 1912, before the family emigrated to Canada. The 5th occupier later was Bob Bunkell who is not only remembered for the huge selection of fish he sold but also for the recipes he relayed to one and all on how they could be cooked and served. His time in his shop between 1932 and 1986 is still recalled as he was a real Horley character.

Strawson Hall

 At long last the rebuild is about to take place and completion is planned for the 1 May 2018. It should be available for use from June 2018. Doug Kilborn (01293 782619) has worked strenuously to achieve this and has overcome many hurdles to do so. He is now actively looking for new volunteer Trustees to give it a new lease of life and to ensure that what George Frederick Strawson gave to Horley in 1919 will be carried forward for posterity. If some of you younger folk would like to participate in this role please ring Doug and offer your services. Thank you.


In the June 2017 Newsletter we set down a wish and suggested layout for this and work is already underway at our usual sedate pace. However we do require a somewhat increased input. We are looking for any form of input, be it searching documents, extracting information, producing notes, typing them up, drafting sections and/or actually producing complete chapters for inclusion (which will be  credited under your name.) If you think you can help us please contact Doug Cox on 01293 410366.


 Those of you who attended the service at Horley War Memorial will have noticed that the names of the local men killed during the Battle of Passchendaele 100 years ago were read out prior to the 2 minutes silence. This would not have been possible but for the work of HLHS and the publication by us of Men of Horley 1914-1918. When we commemorate the 100th anniversary of the end of WW1 in November 2018 HLHS will try to ensure that the service will include the reading out of the names of all the 122 local men named on the Horley War Memorial.

There are several interesting pictures with this news letter they can be seen in the PDF version downloadable below.




PDF versions of many of our Newsletters can be downloaded.      

Horley Local History Society

Welcome to Horley Local History Society

The Society that was formed back in 1951 continues to provide a friendly forum where all with an interest and an enquiring mind about the history of Horley and its environs, from the earliest times up to the present, can meet to listen to speakers, discuss and undertake research on all aspects of local history. It encourages and archives the collection of data, information, photographic and aural records of how Horley has developed over the centuries. In over 50 years of existence, it has assembled copies of a large collection of maps of the district, one dating back over 400 years. It also holds extensive census and parish records, sales documents of past properties, wills, family trees, photographs, etc, most accessible to members for study and research.

Many of its members are involved in on-going research into a range of subjects the findings of which result in the publication of books, papers, reports etc. The books are available to the public and to members at a discounted price.

The Society meets at 7.30 pm for 8 o’clock every 4th Thursday in the month at The Strawson Hall, Albert Road, Horley. During summer months walks and outside visits are planned which cover various aspects of local history.

Visitors are always welcome The Society participates in local exhibitions and is a member of the Surrey Archaeological Society and the Surrey Industrial History Group contributing to their various projects.

Members of the Society also man the Horley Local History Centre desk in Horley Library every Tuesday afternoon between 3 and 5 pm and Saturday mornings between 11 am and 1 pm, to answer questions posed by both young and old, or help those undertaking historical projects and family history research. We also welcome those who wish to share their knowledge of old Horley with the Society during these sessions to add to Horley?s most interesting heritage.