Evenings at 8 pm at:
Centre Denne Road, Horsham, West
Admission varies between £2 and £8 (discounted for
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"
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...