We have a wide variety of objects in our collections, ranging from a natural history cabinet of early fossils, Mesolithic and Neolithic flint implements, via items from the Roman, Medieval and Tudor eras, to the Georgian, Victorian and Edwardian periods.
Household and some more exotic objects from these times recall the reality of life for the people of Henfield. Reflecting the main occupation of the village until the last century, we have a large collection of vintage farming tools on display with a horse-drawn plough and mid-Victorian pump greeting visitors outside.
Railway relics and an accurate model of Henfield's station remind us of the Horsham to Shoreham Railway, closed in 1966 and now in use by the village as the Downs Link cycle path. Wartime costume and an air raid siren tell of the days when the Battle of Britain raged in the skies above. The two century old school bell may ring if you're lucky and violet products tell of the once famous Allen-Brown Violet Nurseries and the guestbook of a famous actress, writer and suffrage campaigner tells the tale of high profile visitors of the past.
In Pride of Place
One of our most eccentric items is a working change eight bell set completed in 1850 by local carpenter and character, Bob Ward (of 'Cat House' fame). It is also hard to miss the penny farthing bicycle made in 1887 by Mr. W. A. Powell, who later displayed it above his bicycle workshop in the High Street. Nearby is a one man ambulance purchased by the Parish Council in 1908 and in use until the 1930s (find the photo of it on this site!).
Photographs and Paintings
The Museum holds an extensive collection of local paintings and photographs from the mid Victorian era until the late 20th century showing the village, churches, farmhouses, country houses, cottages and rural lanes - as well as the people and events which gave them life.
We are also lucky to hold the extensive Marjorie Baker Collection of negatives and photographs, primarily comprising her painstaking portrait work from the 1930s to 1990s.
We hold an extensive costume collection, with a wide variety of primarily 19th to mid 20th century dresses, with other items ranging from the later 1770s to 1970s! The bright Victorian uniforms of the Sussex Rifle Volunteers, made by Longley's of Henfield are on permanent display.
Objects in Focus
Sussex Rifle Volunteers Uniform
Change 8 Bell Set
Our 1849 Change 8 Bell Set, made as a novelty by carpenter Robert 'Bob' Ward of the Cat House. Two years' evening working in the making, it replicates the sound of church bells. Featured in the 'Heritage of Horsham District in 100 Objects' & registered in the virtual collection of the Royal College of Music. Click here to hear it come alive