Sunday Evenings at 8 pm at:
The Normandy Centre Denne Road, Horsham, West Sussex RH12 1JF

Licensed bar
Admission varies between £2 and £8 (discounted for members):
Under 21s get free admission to all events.

Horsham has a proud history of folk music. It can be traced back more than 200 years.

Henry Burstow (1826 - 1916), a Horsham cobbler with a repertoire of 420 listed songs wrote in his book "Reminiscences of Horsham" (click here to see an online copy) how he learned songs from his father. Burstow was also a bell-ringer and knew fellow bell-ringer and singer Michael Turner of Warnham, whose beautiful waltz is still a favourite for traditional folk musicians.

In 1892-1893 Lucy Broadwood heard Henry Burstow singing a number of songs and 11 years later he was recorded on phonograph by Ralph Vaughan Williams.

When the Folk Song Society was instituted in 1898 Lucy Broadwood, having been on the committee since the start of the Society, became Hon Sec in 1904 on the death of Kate Lee. She was also appointed Editor at about this time. The society was created partially as a result of the interest in the subject engendered by the publication of such books as Lucy's "English County Songs" in 1893, Baring-Gould's "Songs of the West" (shortly before that) and Frank Kidson's publication around the same time.

Several other local singers were recorded - Mrs Verrall of Monks Gate and Horsham was recorded in 1904 - 1906 and, like Henry Burstow, several of her songs can be found in the Penguin Book of English Folk Songs.

In 1958 Tony Wales started the Horsham Song Swoppers, together with Charlie and Marjorie Potter, their son Terry and his cousin Ian Holder, meeting in Albion Hall, Albion Road (now demolished). Marjorie and Charlie's original song books can still be viewed in Horsham Museum, to whom they were presented in 1998. This group of enthusiasts was also part of Horsham Folk Dance Club, established much earlier. Horsham Song Swoppers was attended by many well known locals including Bob Blake, George Belton and our own "Old Harry" Mousdell. Bob's favourite song was "The Grey Hawk"; George enjoyed "The Sussex Toast" and Harry's personal favourite at the time was "Pleasant and Delightful".

After the demise of Horsham Song Swoppers, Horsham Folk Club emerged and has met in several different locations. Dave Toye and Lofty formed an early version of the club in the Station Hotel in the late 60s. In 1970 the Swan in West Street (now part of the Swan shopping complex) became its home, with Lofty still on the door and residents Bryan Blanchard, Simon Furey, Pete Marsden and "Old Harry". There followed several incarnations as the centre of Horsham was redeveloped - The Anchor in East Street, where the BBC recorded the club; The Queen's Head in Queen's Street and the acoustically wonderful Nelson in Trafalgar Road. Its current home is The Normandy Centre in Denne Road and we still enjoy a wide range of traditional, self-penned and modern songs, with a strong tradition of good floor singers, top-named guests and regular dance meetings.

The tradition continues...