History of Haywards Heath
HAYWARDS HEATH is a town and civil parish formed out of Cuckfield, Dec. 28, 1894, under the provisions of Section 1 (sub-section 3), of the "Local Government Act, 1894"; it has an important station on the London, Brighton and South Coast railway main line, 3 miles north of Keymer junction for Lewes, Eastbourne and Hastings, 2 miles east from Cuckfield, 37 1/2 miles from London and 12 1/2 north from Brighton
Kelly's Directory of Sussex, 1905.
If Cuckfield hadn't opposed the railway through their village, Haywards Heath would not be the town it is today.
However, the town's origins date further back than the railway. Haywards Hoth dates back to 1544 meaning a "heath by the enclosure with a hedge" and Haywards Heath was mentioned during the English Civil War in early December 1642 - Muster Green was the place where local Parliamentarians defeated the High Sheriff of Sussex who was advancing his Royalist troops from Chichester who had come up through Lewes.
But the completion of the London & Brighton Railway in 1841 marked the rapid expansion of Haywards Heath to outgrow the parish of Cuckfield from which it was part. In the early 1850s the population was 200.
In 1859 the Sussex County Lunatic Asylum was opened, which later became St Francis Hospital and is now the Princess Royal Hospital. In the same year, Bannister's Cattle Market was opened which became the 12th largest in the UK – and was replaced with Sainsbury's supermarket in Bannister Way in 1989.
The Imperial Gazatteer of England and Wales estimated the population of Haywards Heath to be around 1,000 in 1870-72.
In 1889, Sussex was officially separated into two administrative counties, with Haywards Heath in East Sussex.
December 1894 saw Haywards Heath properly established as a town and a civil parish separate from Cuckfield.
In 1921, the United Services Club was founded by former members of the Mid Sussex Branch of the Comrades of the Great War. It's original site consisted of tin huts erected which is where Capital House on Perrymount Road now exists. The United Services moved to its current premises on Wivelsfield Road in 1973.
In 1922, Haywards Heath Golf Club was founded.
In the 1930s, Franklands Village was built.
The Local Government re-organisation of 1974 saw Haywards Heath and Burgess Hill transferred to the county of West Sussex.
In the 2001 census, the population of Haywards Heath had risen to 22,800.
Since then, the Sussex Pub has been demolished and replaced with flats above a carpet store, and The Duck has been replaced with Pets Corner and its car park turned into Sainsbury's Local. And The Dolphin has reverted back to its original name of The Sergison's Arms.
The 2011 census records the population of Haywards Heath being 27,057, whilst Cuckfield was 5,256 and Lindfield was 6,994.
As for the railway, the Brighton Main Line is almost at capacity during peak times for which there is little to be done to alleviate, as well as particular problems such as Balcombe Tunnel and engineering work meaning a bus replacement service is often required at weekends. A potential solution is bML2. The Bluebell Railway is also working on extending to Ardingly and then onto Haywards Heath, which would hopefully boost tourism like it recently has in East Grinstead, although that won't happen for at least another ten years.
More Local History
The Haywards Heath Society has a highly detailed town walk of historic sites which is available direct through them and at Waterstones in South Road.
Cuckfield Museum covers dinosaur fossils, iron working, stage coaches, clockmaking and more. It also holds talks.