It was by chance that the Horsham Photgapher detected a link between Amberley Working Museum and Horsham. When working on the listed buildings project it was discovered that some of Horsham’s listed buildings had disappeared in the years since they were first listed. One of these was the Tanning House that was once adjacent to the Brighton Road where Tanyard Close is today. English Heritage, who manage the listing of buildings, had no record of its removal. Some months later the Horsham Photographer discovered that it had been dismantled and taken to Amberley Working Museum where it has become the Paviors Hall; English Heritage are now aware of this.
The museum has at least two other connections with Horsham. The exhibit known as the Wheelwright’s Shop used to be Spooner & Gordon’s workshop in London Road. The other connection is the milestone casting inside the Paviours Hall which was made in Horsham.
The Tanning House started out in London in 1842 but was dismantled and moved to Horsham around 1900. It was thought to be part of the old Smithfield Market and comprised eight cast iron columns supporting a woodclad exterior. It was listed by English Heritage in 1974 and photographed in 1981 for the National Monuments Record.
With the impending development of Tanyard Close a decision was made to save the building and so it was dismantled again and transported to Amberley Working Museum. In 1995 the building was used to house the The Pavior’s Museum of Roads and Roadmaking.
Spooner & Gordon
Before the uptake of the motor car early in the 20th century a common mode of transport was the horse and cart. As with any other vehicle, the carts needed maintenance and Spooner & Gordon provided a wheelwrighting service to the Horsham area. Based in London Road the building dates from 1840 and was leased from the Hurst Estate.
Between 1907 and the 1950’s the property was the home of Spooner & Gordon Coach & Cart Wheelwrights with construction and repair work for carts and wheels taking place on the ground floor. On the 25th of March 1919 they took over the business of J Penfold a ‘jobbing smith’ who shared the premises but also had a shoeing and jobbing business at 60 Queen Street. The upper floor housed the paint shop; the carts were lifted on ramps through the upper doors or hoisted through the internal trap doors.
Prior to its dismantling for Amberley in 1987 it was used as a lawnmower repair shop. It was not until the autumn of 1991 that the re-building was started during the museum’s closed period. It opened on the 17th May, 1993.
Southdown Motor Services, known for their buses had a large influence on Horsham for around 75 years. Amberley Museum has some buses and other artefacts from those days.