Town Guide 1985

The Horsham Photographer has acquired a Horsham District Official Guide ‘Town Guide’ from 1985 to add to the collection of books on the town. The guide illustrates the changes that have taken place since that year. It was one year before Jury Cramp’s jewellery shop closed and two years before St Mark’s church was demolished leaving only the spire in place.

Horsham Town Guides have been published over the years by the council in partnership with various printers, this one with SWS Printers. Copyright credit is given below to the council. The Horsham Photographer would like to hear from readers to access to Town Guides from other years.

And so in 1985 the town was undergoing considerable development. Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre was in the planning stage, as was the adjoining Tesco store. The flyover roundabout had not yet been built; the junction with the A24 was just a simple roundabout. Swan Walk had been opened for 9 years but was not yet fully enclosed. The 12 foot diameter clock on the wall of what is now BHS overlooked the open square.


Horsham’s first indoor swimming pool opened for business in the park four years earlier but has since been replaced by the Pavilions in the Park leisure complex. The theatre now known as the Capitol was known in 1985 as Horsham Arts Centre although the glass frontage and right hand side extension was not added until the 2001-3 refit. The original Capitol Theatre was at one point embedded in Swan Walk but had been demolished in 1982 to be in-filled by Marks & Spencer.

Capitol Theatre in 1985

The town was continuing to build its links by twinning with a second town, Lage in the Rhineland-Westphalia region of Germany, in 1985. Three years earlier Horsham had twinned with St Maixent L’Ecole in France.

The Town Guide features some firms that are still trading today and some old Horsham names that have since gone ceased trading, see below. Amongst them are Bryces who were at 39-41 East Street, later occupied by Blockbusters and now Cycle Room. Curiously, at the time of this update (July 2014) the old Blockbuster signage has been removed revealing the faded shadows of Bryces letters.

Tanbridge Retail Park, now home for Staples and Currys, was not yet developed. Instead there was a row of shops, one of which was Graham Ford’s Home Improvement Centre. In another two years the new Tesco and Broadbridge Heath Leisure Centre would be completed.

In business in 1985 and still trading:

  • Scott & Sargeant Now trading as the Steamer Trading Cookshop
  • Sun Alliance Now trading as Royal & Sun Alliance
  • Wakefields Jewellers
  • Horsham Fencing
  • Ciba-Geigy Now trading as Novartis and all but but closing in 2014
  • R W Dickson
  • King & Chasemore
  • Handyman Now trading as Bunce’s Home Handyman


  • Graham Ford
  • Gilbert Rice
  • Bryces
  • King & Barnes

The town’s brewery King & Barnes was still trading in 1985 and its brand is still in place today on many public houses. The later to be demolished Nelson had the King & Barnes signs still is place, similarly at The Stout House but The Bear has recently been re-branded as part of its facelift

Town Guide 1985:

Horsham means different things to different people. To many it is a forward looking town; enjoyable to live in, with good facilities for travel, leisure and enjoyment of the countryside. To some it is merely a pleasant spot to lay ones’s head; a convenient place from which to commute to work, or to pause in life’s journey. To others it is a fascinating and romantic old Sussex town; every stone telling ancient stories, with the very air full of history