Old Images of Crowborough, East Sussex

Old picture of the Observatory at Crowborough East Sussex published 1885

Enjoy a glimpse of history through old images of Crowborough, East Sussex, England, UK.


WWI Soldiers Club

During the Great War, later known as World War I, Princess Alexandra of Teck arrived for the official opening of Crowborough’s club for soldiers.

Comforts For Tommy (1914-1918)- British Pathé on YouTube


Pogo Stick Rider 1954

Charlie Macey was a professional golfer, Backward-walking Champion of the World, and popgo stick enthisiast who could keep bouncing for up to half an hour.

As well as showing a big group of local kids, the newsreel captures the front of a house and a nearby street.

Pogo Stick (1954) – British Pathé on YouTube


Crowborough’s Cowboys 1959

There are anomalies in the paperwork about this archive film. The Golden Horse Ranch is either Crowborough, or possibly Golden Cross.

Peter and Prudence Mason once had a Wild West show under their professional names of Buck and Lita Starr, which toured the continent. Now they were running the ranch they’d built in Sussex.

Dude Ranch (1959) – British Pathé on YouTube


Model Trams 1965

When Geoff Swift finished his working day creating models for British Airways, he started on his personal hobby making models of trams, for which he’d built a track in the corner of his lareg garden.

Model Tram Maker (1965) – British Pathé on YouTube


A Bit of Crowborough History

Extract from: Sussex, by Augustus John Cuthbert Hare

Published in 1894

Page 126 – 127

15 m . Crowborough Stat . A little west is the site of
Crowborough Beacon , in what was formerly Ashdown Forest ,
on a height of 796 feet , where beacon – fires formerly aroused
the Weald of Sussex in times of danger . There is a wide
view , the sea – twenty – five miles distant – being distinctly

visible . The drive hence , through wooded country , to
Withyham , is one of much beauty .
‘ Long ridges of ground covered with fern and heath , studded at
intervals with clumps of Scotch fir , alternate with narrow valleys , cul
tivated either as arable , meadow , and hop – garden , or threaded by
deep sandy lanes with rocky banks , overhung by twisted tree – roots .
Few and simple as are the elements of beauty in this landscape , the
repeated undulations , which involve a constant change of prospect ,
secure it from monotony .’- Nineteenth Century , August 1884 .
St. John’s , Crowborough , is a little high – church settle
ment , with church , parsonage , almshouses , and daily ser
vice in a desolate country . Crowborough Warren was a
famous resort of smugglers .

‘ It is a strange thing to remember , when one is standing on the
cold desolate hills about Crowborough Beacon , or in the glens of Til
gate Forest – now the very picture of quiet , and rest , and loneliness
that this same Sussex was once the iron mart of England . Once , spotted
over these hills and through these forests , there were forges that roared
from morning till night , chimneys that sent up their smoke and their
poisonous vapour from one year’s end to another ; cannon were cast ,
and cannon – balls founded , where now there is no harsher voice than
the tap of the woodpecker or the jar of the goat – sucker .

One can
scarcely realise those generations , and that trade , here ; one cannot
fancy the forests of St. Leonards and Ashdown , the Wolverhampton of
their age . But so it was ; and not the least remarkable thing in the
change is the absence of traditions about the life and customs of the
manufacturers so employed .

The grandfathers of men now living were
actively engaged in the ironworks ; large fortunes , not a century ago ,
were made by them , and yet , except in the names of places , and in
heaps of cinders , scarcely a trace remains that such things were .’
M. A. Lower , Sussex Papers .


A little beyond Crowborough the railway line joins that
from Polegate to Groombridge and Tunbridge Wells . The
hamlet called Boar’s Head Street recalls the arms of Anthony
Stapley the regicide , governor of Chichester ( 1651 ) , who
bore ‘ Three Boars ‘ Heads , ‘ and owned land there .


More about East Sussex


About the author