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AAH ALL ABOUT HORSHAM MAGAZINE

March 2013


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March 2013

AAH M MAGAZINE ALL ABOUT HORSHA

Now delivering to 13,200 Homes and Businesses in the District

The Feminine Touch Most of the time, Toby and I are glued to a computer screen. Toby spends an estimated 45% of office hours either darkening clouds in Photoshop or obeying requests to ‘get rid of my wrinkles’. I’m usually scouring the internet desperately trying to find out about things I know nothing about, yet have dedicated four pages to. This month, it was linen... But anyway, sometimes we do go outside and actually deliver the magazine, which gives us a great chance to gauge people’s views on AAH. Obviously this photo is staged. Those boxes are actually empty, and we can’t take credit for delivering 1,300 magazines in the Comptons Lane area. Conor and Alex Paterson wouldn’t appreciate that, especially when we even pinched their trolleys for this photo. Still, we do our bit... As I’ve mentioned before, most people remark on Toby’s photography and the quality of the paper AAH is printed on. One person even said she likes the articles (thanks mum!) But another comment that crops up from time to time is the slight lack of features for females. This stems from a spate fo motor racing articles we had about a year ago, but gradually we’ve been trying to remedy that. So this month we have a feature on a dramatic society, a fabric shop, a

Ben Morris (AAH Editorial & Advertising) and Toby Phillips (All AAH Photography) talented female artist, and the life story of a television hostess. Of course, we had to balance that all up, so we put a racing driver on the cover. Well, we tried, but we’re just blokes at the end of the day! It’s been a manic month for us as we have also started work on a souvenir brochure for Piazza Italia. For me, the Piazza Italia festival is the best annual event in Horsham, so I would encourage everyone to visit town over the Easter weekend. I’ll be there selling the

programmes, whilst Toby will be taking photos of cars we’ll never be able to afford. The programmes are looking super, and it’ll be nice if people came along and picked one up! You’ll find a little taster for Piazza in this edition but if you only have time to read one feature, make your way to page 34 for a fascinating insight into Ridge Farm Studio. It’ll make you want to go hunting for a Rolex...

Ben, Editor

Cover Story

AAH ALL ABOUT HORSHAM MAGAZINE

March 2013

AAH ALL ABOUT HORSHAM MAGAZINE

March 2013

There were a few contenders for the front page this month, but we went with the picture of Alex Reed, a young racing driver from Horsham. We had initially been invited to a track day Alex was attending at Brands Hatch but we were unable to make it, so instead agreed to meet Alex at his home. The car was unlikely to be there, so we had prepared to settle for a picture of Alex with his trophy collection. But when the local newspapers also expressed an interest in the story, his motorsport team

allowed Alex to have the car for a day so all the local media could get a photo. Thankfully for us, nobody else goes to as much trouble for the right shot as Toby. He set up his lights and shot straight into the sun and brought out the great colours in Alex’s Fiesta. Alex was a good model, smiling in some shots and looking serious in others! We looked at the image of Bunty Raymond of Billingshurst Dramatic Society and one of Frank Andrews at Ridge Farm Studio as potential fronts too...


Why visit our website at www.aahorsham.co.uk when you could go for a walk instead? To discuss advertising in AAH call Ben on 01403 878026. View our advertising rates on Page 58...

CONTENTS 6 News Round-Up What’s making headlines, including an exhibition by artist Angela Brittain

10 My Story So Far Natalie van de Braam recalls her time as a hostess on Play Your Cards Right

16 Motori Di Marino As Piazza Italia nears, we visit an Italian motorbike business in West Chiltington

22 Meal Review Bill’s is the most talked about restaurant in Horsham. But is it any good?

28 Art We meet Lucy Ames, who has run her own art business for five years

34 Ridge Farm The incredible story of the Rusper studio, from Queen to Oasis

AAH Editor: Ben Morris editor@aahorsham.co.uk 01403 878026 / 01903 892899 Advertising: Kelly Morris advertising@aahorsham.co.uk 01403 878026 / 01903 892899 Photography: Toby Phillips tobyphillipsphotography.co.uk info@tobyphillipsphotography.co.uk 07968 795625 Contributors Jeremy Knight (Historic text for article on Horsham Common) Additional thanks to...

43 The Common Horsham once had a large Common, and a small part of it still remains

48 Big Picture Toby Phillips captures the flooding of early February at Wisborough Green

51 Group Discussion For 70 years, Billingshurst Dramatic Society has put on plays in the village

58 One to Watch Alex Reed is aiming for podium finishes in this season’s Fiesta Junior series

62 Business The Linen Shop and Gallery is gaining a reputation for its fine fabric

66 How Interesting The fastest selling album of all time was recorded locally...

This month we will be introducing a new stand at the Pavilions in the Park, Horsham

Richard Mann and Ann Needham at Ridge Farm, Jo Daniell at Bill’s, Jackie Charman at Billingshurst Dramatic Society, Bik-Kay Talbot for supplying photo of Johnny Ball. Door-to-Door Delivery team The Paterson family, Geoff Valentine, Andrew Price, Trish Fuller, Sarah Guile, Amy Rogers, Laura Harding, Alex Bland and Cara Cocoracchio (all Horsham rounds), Anna Laker and Alex Besson (Billingshurst), Jamie Towes, Shaun Bacon and Eddie Robinson (Southwater), Jack Barnett (Monks Gate/Mannings Heath), Karen Parnell (Warnham), Will Smith (Ashington), Roger Clark (Partridge Green and Cowfold), Reece Elvin (Slinfold), Ben Morris (Tower Hill, Rookwood, Dial Post, Crabtree), Toby Phillips (Town Centre), Herbie Whitmore (West Grinstead), Ben’s

AAH

March 2013

ALL ABOUT HORSHAM MAGAZINE

Grandma (Wisborough Green) AAH is available to pick up for free in stands at Sakakini (Carfax ), Artisan Patisserie (Market Square), CoCo’s salons (Lintot Square in Southwater and High Street, Billingshurst) and Horsham Museum. Website Run by Mi-Store of Brighton. Read all of our editions at www.aahorsham.co.uk AAH Magazine is an independent publication owned by B. Morris and is based in Ashington Copies of past editions of AAH are available for £3 each (this includes postage). Many are sold out, so please email Ben for availability.


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11 1: The Partridge Green Village Fete will be held on the King George V Playing Field on Saturday 29th June. Highlights include Harris’s Old Time Funfair, dog show, side shows, barbeque, and a wider than ever range of stalls with local goods and crafts for sale. If you are able to help or are looking for a stall, please email johndelittle789@btinternet or call 07740 710765. 2: Spofforths and The Dame Vera Lynn Trust for Children with Cerebral Palsy are celebrating after the Horsham firm raised more than £2,000 for the Five Oaks based charity. The funds were raised in October 2012 as the Dame Vera Lynn Trust took part in a Will Writing Week with the support of Spofforths. 3: The Kaleidoscope Singers, based in Steyning, are singing in the London Brandenburg Choral Festival on Saturday, 20th April at 3.30pm. The venue is the beautiful St Clement Danes Church in the Strand and the programme is a mixture of American and Australian music. You can join Kaleidoscope on a coach trip leaving Steyning at 10am, returning around 7pm with three

12 hours to relax before the concert. Cost for coach and concert is £27. For tickets and information call Steyning Bookshop on 01903 812062. 4: Hypnotherapist Rachael Horton from Horsham has written a new self-help book called ‘28 Days to Change Your Life’. Rachel said that the book uses hypnosis techniques to help readers re-organise their thinking and live their ideal lives. For more details email rachael.horton@btconnect.com

roots for a special 1980s themed Midnight Walk this year. As part of the hospice’s 30th anniversary celebrations, the Horsham Park fundraiser, on Saturday 13th July, is having a 1983 style make-over. This year there is a new 7-mile route as well as the traditional half marathon. Entry is £15 with a welcome pack including a Midnight Walk T-shirt. Sign up online at www.stch.org.uk/midnightwalk or pick up a form at St Catherine’s Hospice shops in East Street, Horsham and Jengers Mead, Billingshurst.

5: Bluecoat Sports Health & Fitness Club will again be hosting the National Swimathon Event in their 25metre pool on Saturday 27th April and Sunday 28th April. Participants are encouraged to join in the fun by dressing up in their own famous Superheroes costumes. Last year Bluecoats Sports was the 6th best ranked pool in the country, raising nearly £4,000 for Marie Curie Cancer Care. To enter as an individual or a team visit www.bluecoatsports.co.uk and follow the Swimathon Event details.

7: Pennthorpe School marked Chinese New Year in style. Workshops introducing students to Chinese calligraphy and Chinese dancing, and pupils also learned how to write the numbers from one to ten in Cantonese. The entire school had a hand in building a Chinese dragon in the school’s Art and Design centre. The school has Open Mornings on Tuesday 12th and Saturday 16th March from 9.30 am-12pm. For details visit www.pennthorpe.com

6: St Catherine’s Hospice is going back to its

8: Vienna Festival Ballet presents ‘Coppelia’ at


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14 the Capitol on Tuesday 12th March at 7.30pm. Vienna Festival Ballet’s enchanting production of this joyous and witty ballet is an everpopular celebration of love, with a sparkling score and breath-taking choreography. Tickets cost £19.50 from 01403 750220 or www.thecapitolhorsham.com 9: Businesses and organisations are being invited to an Inter-Business Charity Table Tennis Competition at Collyers Sixth Form College on the evening of Monday 18th March. Players of all ability and experience levels are welcome to participate. Beginners will benefit from on-hand support and bats will be available to borrow. The event will raise funds for Set4Success. Cost is £25 per team and the deadline for entries is Monday 11th March. For details email Ian.ford@horsham.gov.uk or call 01403 215634. 10: Angela Brittain is exhibiting her artwork at Horsham Museum Art Gallery until 6th April. The exhibition is called ‘Seeing it my Way’ and consists of 20 paintings, as well as prints and cards. For more details visit

www.angelabrittain.co.uk 11: Horsham District Council has announced that Council Tax will remain unchanged for residents in the year starting April 2013. The freeze was agreed at the full Council meeting on 19th February. Further information about the budget is available by visiting www.horsham.gov.uk or by calling Horsham District Council on 01403 215301. 12: The Horsham Day Nursery is a brand new setting in Horsham from Angmering Day Nurseries Limited. The company already has two successful nurseries and has put all of that experience and knowledge into creating a Day Nursery in Horsham specifically designed to promote education, fun and safety for children aged 3 months to 5 years. Children have free access to a children’s kitchen where they can help cook the fabulous organic food served. The Nursery also has the latest IT equipment and wooden toys with a sound educational ethos. Parents are welcome to visit anytime by calling 01403 217600.

13: On Saturday 23rd March 2013 the Bluebell Railway will be running the first passenger carrying trains in and out of East Grinstead Station since 1958. The Bluebell Railways’ station is next to the Southern Railway Station which is linked by a footpath enabling passengers to walk the short distance between the two stations. A special train service will apply throughout the day at 45 minute intervals. There will be a celebratory 2 week opening festival from Saturday 23rd March until Sunday 8th April. The service will run daily for three weeks, but then the line will temporarily close between Kingscote and East Grinstead, except for weekends. For details visit www.bluebell-railway.com 14: The Horsham Symphony Orchestra opens its spring concert at the Capitol with a performance of Mozart’s Flute Concerto in G, with Henry Roberts as a local soloist. This will be followed by a performance of Mahler’s Fifth Symphony, best known for its sublime Adagietto, made famous in the 1971 film Death in Venice. Tickets cost £14 from 01403 750220 or www.thecapitolhorsham.com


AAH News Round-up 16

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18 15: Horsham YMCA and North Sussex Soccer Academy host a 5-a-side Football Tournament on Saturday, 4th May at 9.30am to 4pm at Horsham YMCA, Gorings Mead. The tournament is open for pupils in school Years 1 to 8. Entry is £3 a player, with proceeds to Chase Hospice. Enter as a team or individual. For details call Ted Streeter on 01403 262806.

although screenwriter Terry Nation came up with the idea of the Daleks, it was left to Raymond to design them. He was awarded a one-off payment of about £100 as a reward. After a brief spell as a director in the late 1960s, he reverted to art direction before retiring in 1988. He lived in Horsham and devoted his spare time to researching military history.

16: Sam Leeves will be signing copies of his first published book, a fantasy adventure called Endless Tides, at the Tanners Arms in Horsham, on Monday 18th March from 8pm.

18: Johnny Ball, children’s TV presenter and mathematician, inspired Year 5 and Year 6 children from the Billingshurst area in February. Children from St. Mary’s Pulborough, Loxwood, Itchingfield, Slinfold, William Penn, Wisborough Green, Plaistow and Kirdford, Shipley, and Rudgwick attended Billingshurst Primary School as Johnny took pupils from all

17: Raymond Cusick, famed as the designer of the Daleks, died on 24th February. He worked on Doctor Who from 1963 to 1966, and

the schools on an amazing maths journey. 19: There will be an Evening to Celebrate the Xylophone Music of Sir Patrick Moore at Slinfold Village Hall, The Street, Slinfold, on Saturday, 16th March at 7.30pm. The music will be performed by Christopher Beaumont, with the Andy Beamont Trio. Tickets £8 from 01243 558813or mayfairmusic@btinternet.com 20: Horsham Festival of Cricket 2013 is held on 22nd – 26th May at Horsham Cricket and Sports Club. Sussex take on Somerset in a couty match before Sussex Sharks take on Kent Spitfires in a 40 over contest on 26th. For tickets call 0844 264 0206 or visit www.sussexcricket.co.uk

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10

‘I danced in a blue chiffon dress as Liberace

played piano’ I was born in Hertfordshire. My father designed cranes and my mother was a housewife.

Natalie van de Braam, of Billingshurst

I went to St Francis, a boarding school for girls in Letchworth, Hertfordshire. The nuns had a strong focus on the performing arts and held ballet classes, which my mother wanted me to attend. But I was always in the back row because I was very shy. I loved ballet but I wasn’t learning much as I couldn’t even see the teacher. I auditioned for the Royal Ballet School when I was 12, which was a year or two older than most children that audition, but they thought I was a little too tall. All I ever wanted to do was be a ballet dancer, so when I wasn’t accepted my hopes were dashed. I went to Grandison College in Croydon and learnt all sorts of dance styles, including jazz and tap, as well as ballet. I was in a couple of pantomimes as a schoolgirl. I was in Babes in the Wood with Sid James and Dick Emery, touring in Shrewsbury, Sutton and East Ham. That was when I had my first gin and tonic. Dick would invite the whole cast in to his dressing room for a gin and tonic before each show. I was in the original line up of what became Pan’s People. When I was at school, the pianist in one of the ballet classes had a daughter who was in a dance group called The Beat Girls, along with Barbara ‘Babs’ Lord and Dee Dee Wilde. They were doing a television show with Dickie Valentine, but the pianist’s daughter couldn’t do the show so I stepped in for a series as one of The Beat Girls. We did a number with Georgie Fame and the Blue Flames. But I had my hair in a bun, and I think they thought I was really uncool. I left school and auditioned for a revival of Sunday Night at the Palladium. The show had been one of the most popular shows

of the 1960’s and they tried to revive it in 1973. I was chosen as a dancer, and performed in live shows from the London theatre every Sunday night, which was pretty

scary for somebody who had just come out of school. Everybody else in the group had a lot more experience and was a lot older than me. I was really in at the deep end.


My Story: Natalie van de Braam That was in the days of variety shows and the dancers would open the shows. I remember Cliff Richard performed on one of the nights. The show did okay but it only lasted for one series. Naturally, I met a lot of choreographers. Every show you did, you would meet someone else, a different choreographer or producer. Lionel Blair and Irving Davies were two I worked regularly for. Like actors work well with certain directors, dancers can work well with certain choreographers. I was good for Irving’s style of dance so every time he needed dancers I was there. We used to go to Elstree Studios quite often. One time, Liberace was recording there, playing The Blue Danube on his beautiful grand piano and we were dancing around in blue chiffon dresses floating around, and he wanted someone dancing around the piano as he played. He chose me! Irving used to dance in many movies, and even danced with Gene Kelly, and had many contacts. Thanks to him I got to regularly dance on shows such as Cilla. I also performed with the likes of Engelbert Humperdinck, Tom O’Connor and did Quincy’s Quest with Tommy Steele. We all played the parts of toys and it aired as a Christmas Story on ITV in 1979. I was on The Two Ronnies on a couple of occasions, and there is one I still see repeated from time to time called Crossed Lines. They are on two phones having separate conversations that intertwine and there’s a lot of double

Natalie on Play Your Cards Right

Natalie (centre) as a member of Rudgwick Dramatic Society


12 ‘You didn’t want to go around telling people you were a Dolly Dealer. You weren’t proud of it, although the money was handy’ meaning. I play a girl working at Sainsbury’s who comes in with a bottle of Champagne and I go off with Ronnie Corbett. People were envious of us as television dancers as we earned more than the very talented dancers of the West End. When I get together with some of the girls I used to dance with, we always say ‘we really were so lucky’. There was one time when I was involved in a West End show; Rock Carmen in 1971. It was an awful flop that ran for five or six weeks at the Roundhouse in Camden. It was a rock version of Carmen and starred Terri Stevens and Elaine Paige. Irving directed it, but it didn’t work out. I married and moved down to Rudgwick in 1976 and joined the Dramatic Society there. The marriage didn’t work out, but I had my first son, Charles. My agent, Ann Zahl, sent me to an audition for Play Your Cards Right, and I became one of four hostesses on the show. Alongside Bruce Forsyth, they had four girls on the show and a male host with Denni Kemp and I staying throughout the eight series run. I missed just one series to have a child. There were always four hostesses alongside Bruce, and a host, which was John Melainey. It was good fun, but it was disappointing as Denni and I really thought we had made it. We thought we had hit the jackpot, as we were to

Natalie (back right) has fond memories of working with Bruce Forsyth for seven seasons

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My Story: Natalie van de Braam be television hostesses. But it wasn’t like that; you would just see my hand turn a card over. We thought we would be involved more heavily but essentially we were just models. You would have the occasional line but they would be embarrassing. It was Bruce’s show, let’s face it. Off screen, he was a nice enough chap, but I didn’t have a huge amount to do with him. ‘Dolly Dealers’ was a phrase Bruce came up with and it stuck. Poor John was a very tall and handsome man who was a very good performer, but Bruce referred to him as his ‘male modarl‌’ You didn’t want to go around telling people you were a Dolly Dealer. You weren’t proud of it, although the money was handy. I married for the second time, to Dorian de Braam in 1983, and we had three children, Dorian, Merlin and Portia. In 1986, I went to live in Ireland as my husband had started a mineral water business, de Braam Water. We were able to buy the most amazing place in County Meath as property was very cheap there at this time.

Natalie moved to Ireland as her husband established the de Braam bottled water company

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It was hard work setting it up. I would be packing bottles and answering the phone, whilst one baby was riding a plastic tractor, one was in a basket and one was bouncing from a door. It was crazy. I always said the whole time I was there that I didnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t belong in Ireland. I belong in Sussex. I missed going to London and being able to go to the theatre, but my children wanted to stay in Ireland. We faced two court cases, one relating to the business, which we won. I said to Dorian that we were not really cut out for business, and we sold out and moved to a lovely house in Waterford in 1993. Another court case (Dorian was in a crash involving his home-built aeroplane and a helicopter) kept going on, but we still had to put bread on the table so I thought I could start teaching ballet to children. I started a dance and drama group in the school holidays and we transformed the dining room of our home into a stage and studio complete with mirrors. I wrote a play for the children and we performed it after a weekâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s rehearsals in the school holidays. The parents came to watch it and really enjoyed it. People kept asking if I would carry it all on as there was nothing like it in that

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Do you have a story to tell? If you think your ‘story so far’ would make an interesting read, please do get in touch with us on 01403 878026. A visit may cost you a cup of tea for Ben and Toby. We consider biscuits to be a welcome bonus.

area at the time, so I set up the Children’s Theatre Workshop. A short time later, the Royal Academy of Dance suggested that I teach ballet, as there was a shortage in that part of Ireland. I thought I was too old, but I thought about it and decided to go for it. I took my teaching exams which took me three years and The de Braam School of Dance and Theatre Arts opened in 2003. I wrote to Elaine Paige and asked if she would be the patron. She said yes and even offered to come over for the opening, which was marvellous! The school operated for six years, and it was brilliant. We had 500 students and we performed shows such as Bugsy Malone. The court case would eventually break my marriage and I came back to West Sussex, moving to Billingshurst. I joined Billingshurst Dramatic Society, which had always crossed over to a certain degree with the Rudgwick Society, and it felt like I’d never been away. I enjoy being involved with that immensely and I still teach ballet twice a week at Farlington School.

The television days were good times. I was so lucky that we got to do what we did, yet it wasn’t cut throat at all. My daughter is a dancer and a model and has been trying to get into acting and it’s so hard these days. Some of the girls I’ve trained have gone on

to college to do Contemporary Dance and part of me wonders where they are all going to work. I sometimes wonder if I hadn’t encouraged them they might be doing something sensible!

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16

Italian Passion at the heart of festival Motorcycle specialists Motori Di Marino, based in West Chiltington, encapsulates the spirit of Horsham’s incredible Piazza Italia festival

This year Piazza Italia will be celebrating its seventh year in Horsham. The event has grown considerably in that time. It is now held over three days with an Italian food market, wine tasting, opera singers, Scalextric challenges, street entertainment, and of course a few car and motorbike attractions that would shame many professionally-run motoring shows. Traditionally, it is the Ferrari rally on Good Friday that grabs the headlines. This year we can expect, once again, somewhere in the region of 100 cars

sporting the famous Prancing Horse badge to drive into the Carfax, including seven Ferrari F40s and seven Ferrari ‘classics’. But for many, the Italian motorbike parade has become the unsung highlight of Piazza Italia. Last year, about 200 historic bikes including Moto Guzzi, Ducati, Laverda and Benelli bikes came to town. They had all made their way from a small garage in West Chiltington, quite unlike anything you would ever expect to find in a small West Sussex village.

Motori Di Marino is like a throwback to a different era, when villagers could top up their car at a family run petrol station without having to wait for people to pay for their groceries and collect vouchers for school sports equipment. An era where repair workshops could survive without the need for an accompanying state-of-the-art, glassfronted dealership. So in some respects, Motori Di Marino, owned by Pietro Di Marino, is as much a museum as anything. But the company’s day


Motori Di Marino ‘A Laverda motorcycle recently arrived as boxes of bits and the customer said ‘can you make a motorbike out of this?’ project. We are in a good position at the moment, as there’s enough demand to keep us going. “There must be a handful of people scattered here and there who fix Italian bikes, but in this area we are certainly the only ones to have this much variety of motorcycles. “We have our own projects and we have a huge warehouse full of old bike parts going back decades, but of course the customer comes first. When we have the time we work on our own stuff we do. “I have some projects that have been going on for 15 years and when I finally find the right parts I will finish them! “The oldest bike we have here at the moment is a 1939 Moto Guzzi, but we have a Mike Hailwood replica Ducati, a six cylinder Benelli and even a motorbike used by Italian postmen in the 1950s.

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to day business involves building, restoring, tuning and selling Italian bikes including Ducati, Moto Guzzi, MV Agusta, Ghezzi-Brian, Benelli, Gilera and a few other rarities. Much of the work is for private customers, but Pietro and his small but experienced team also has a great number of ongoing restoration projects. When these bikes are finished, they will be added to the collection of bikes for sale. There can be few places in the country – or even Europe - that can boast such an extensive range of motorbikes. You certainly never know who or what is going to pull up outside the garage next. Pietro said: “A Laverda motorcycle recently arrived as boxes of bits and the customer said ‘can you make a motorbike out of this?’ “For me, that is an interesting

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18 ‘Rusty oil cans sit on shelves, fuel tanks straddle beams above your head, and leathers hang in front of a sign declaring that ‘It’s great to be Italian’. “Everything is either for sale, has sold, or is a project we are working on. “When you have all of these bikes, you can’t really have a favourite, although I admit I am not a pre-war enthusiast. After the Second World War, bikes started to improve in terms of brakes and reliability. “But I like the designs of each era for different reasons. A lot of people like what they remember from their childhood. If your dad had a Norton Commando, and you reach a point in your life when you have a bit of money to spend and want to buy a classic bike, then that’s probably the bike you will seek out. There’s a lot of nostalgia involved. “As it happens, I don’t have a motorbike. People don’t believe me when I tell them! “If I had a bike I would then have a favourite, and wouldn’t be able to ride and enjoy all of the other bikes!” Even those with little interest in motorbikes or racing could fail to notice the charm of Motori di Marino. Rusty oil cans sit on shelves, fuel tanks straddle beams high above your head, and dozens of bike leathers hang from a rail in front of a sign declaring

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Motori Di Marino specialises in building and restoring Italian motorcycles that ‘It’s great to be Italian’. On Friday, 29th March, about 200 riders will whole-heartedly agree with that sentiment as they make their way to the garage to

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meet on the morning of Piazza Italia. Most will then enjoy a 26 mile ride through the Sussex countryside, visiting other villages within the district.

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20 ‘We probably had in the region of 70 or 80 bikes here in the first year, and last year we counted about 200 bikes. For me personally, it’s always nice to see the varied machinery’

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They will then meet the drivers with the Surrey and Sussex branches of the Ferrari Owners Club, before making their way into Horsham town centre. For many of the riders, the parade has become a not-to-be-missed event. Pietro said: “A few years ago, I was asked by one of the local Ducati club members if they could start the parade from here, and Garry Mortimer-Cook (Horsham Town Centre Manager) came down to see us. “We went from there. We probably had in the region of 70 or 80 bikes here in the first year, and last year we counted about 200 bikes. “For me personally, it’s always nice to see the varied machinery that comes up for the day. I see different bikes week in, week out as I specialise in Italian bikes, but it is nice to see them all in one go and the local people like it too as they have a little show. “I do go into Horsham but I can’t go in with the rest of the bikes as somebody has to stick around and tidy up the place and put some of the bikes back into the garage.


58

Motori Di Marino The riders will meet with the Ferrari drivers before heading into town together

“But I always come into town later on and I think the Italian bikes and the Ferraris complement each other very well. “Piazza Italia is a great event. I don’t think it needs to grow, but I hope it’ll keep going in its current format. It brings a lot of people to Horsham and it’s a good day out for everybody.” The Piazza Italia festival is organised by

Horsham District Council in conjunction with local businesses, vehicle owners groups and partner organisations. This year’s highlights include a rally of Ferraris and Italian bikes on Good Friday, the Vines Italian Job Mini Run with up to 100 Minis held on Easter Saturday, and supercars (a Pagani Zonda often attends) as well Alfas, Fiats and Scooters on Easter Monday.

The event will be in aid of Surrey & Sussex Air Ambulance, Chestnut Tree House Children’s Hospice and The Children’s Trust (Easter Monday). For more of a flavour of what Horsham Piazza Italia is all about visit the Leisure and Tourism page at www.horsham.gov.uk or scan the QR code above if you have one of those fancy phones that can do such things…

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22

Too Cool for the Old Town Hall? Review Bill’s Restaurant, Horsham

There was a sketch in the comedy show ‘Harry and Paul’ in which Harry Enfield ran a shop called ‘I Saw You Coming’. The shop owner would sell useless junk and torn up furniture taken from skips at vastly inflated prices to wealthy women who dabble in interior design and are always on the lookout for ‘rustic’ and ‘authentic’ items. In all honesty, it can occasionally feel like Bill’s Restaurant in Horsham has an element of that same deliberate, Shabby Chic quirkiness. There’s the rustic tables, the second-hand church chairs with back slats, the large olive oil cans being used as ice buckets and string bags, which may lack convenience but make up for it by being ethically sound, for sale at just £2.40. Those waiting for a table can sit down on two armchairs which in a previous life had presumably been coated in Pedigree Chum and dragged through a puppy farm. Whatever your thoughts on Shabby Chic, you must take your hat off to Bill Collison. Bill started his first restaurant in Lewes a little more than a decade ago and now has 14 bearing his name. It takes some skill to create a restaurant that appeals to customers seeking a unique experience, and yet can potentially seat 200 people... In years to come, Horsham may well be

listed amongst Bill’s most rewarding ventures. Opening at the Old Town Hall in Market Square was a long and no doubt exhausting road, with many well reported stumbling blocks along the way. These were mostly presented by an opposition group who wanted to retain the building for community use. Now it is open, the people in Horsham have demonstrated their support to the idea of a restaurant occupying the town’s most historic building by flocking to Bill’s in their droves. Pedro Martins, Assistant Manager at the restaurant, said: “I know that before we opened there were some people who wanted the building to be used for the public and I know there were problems. “But since we opened we have not had complaints and most people praise what we have done to the building. You can see that they have paid a lot of attention to maintaining the features of the Town Hall. “Many people come in just to see the inside, without even buying a drink, and we show them around. Of course, lots of people were married in the Town Hall so there is a lot of emotional attachment to the building and so we show them our Wedding Room. “And in terms of bookings, we were busy from the moment we opened. Even on


Review: Bill’s Restaurant

Monday nights, we are full.” Clearly, Bill has created a successful recipe and over the years has added a little seasoning here and there to ensure everything is just perfect. It may be contrived, but of course that matters not a jot if people are having fun and eating good food in a warm, friendly atmosphere. Looking around, this is clearly the case here in Horsham. The appearance of the building, whilst impressive, will not be to everybody’s liking. Two large windows either side of the entrance look on to Market Place, and you enter to a small waiting area and small shop selling a range of Bill’s branded produce.

Upstairs at Bill’s

These include chutney, Earl Grey tea, raspberry jam, jelly babies, freshly-pressed apple juice, lemon curd, elderflower cordial, grapefruit and lime marmalade, aprons and orange flavour buttons, as well as branded produce including Nunez de Prado olive oils and Amaretti biscuits. Rustic shutters, hanging swarms of dried chillies and exposed ventilation shafts all contribute to the conflicting yet colourful décor, which carries character if not charm, whilst a wooden plaque of former council chairman serves as reminder of the past. There is seating for about 100 upstairs, with a third of that number in what is known as the Wedding Room, because of course it

was a Registry Office for many years. Add that to the downstairs area and the tables (in good weather,) and you have about 200 diners at capacity. But as Pedro explains, it is important that everybody feels welcome and at home. “You’ll see there are some blankets near the entrance. If someone doesn’t take their jacket off, we ask them if they are cold and offer them a blanket. “When it was snowing recently it was cold in here as it is hard to maintain warmth in this old building. So we were handing out blankets. “One lady was having a birthday and it was her first visit here. She told me that she was

Wedding Room


24 crab, salmon and chilli fishcakes

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impressed because the waiter had approached her and asked if she wanted a blanket. It wasn’t the food or the building that had most impressed her; it was the fact that we had gone the extra mile and she appreciated that. “People love the fact that we provide really great food with a casual service with a quirky twist in everything we do. That’s what Bill’s is all about. “Everything is planned by Bill. He was here a lot during the building process and he comes in regularly to direct us in terms of the visual appearance. If you see something in a certain position, it is because Bill has decided it should be there.” We settled down on a table Bill had decided should be by the window. We ordered a Bill’s beer, brewed by Harvey’s, which is not only one of the best breweries in Sussex but is conveniently located opposite the first Bill’s store in Lewes, and read through Bill Collison’s book ‘Cook, Eat, Smile’ which is for sale at the restaurant. In his introduction in the book, Bill writes ‘We set out to make a place that was colourful and exuberant with dishes that were really tasty, but also made you smile and gave everyone lots of ideas to take home with them. ‘We put fruit on our pizzas, we added roots, sprouts and leaves that people had never seen before to our salads, and made cakes that looked so extraordinary that customers would take pictures of them before they ate them.’ Well, we would certainly be taking pictures of the food before we ate it, but would we also find it ‘really tasty’? For starters, we chose mini Cumberland sausages (£4.25), crab, salmon and chilli fishcakes (£5.95) and mezze


Review: Bill’s Restaurant mini Cumberland sausages

halloumi and hummus

‘Bill comes in regularly to direct us in terms of the visual appearance’ (£9.95) The fishcakes are pan fried and served with red chicory, mixed leaves, mango salsa and lemon dressing, which unusually didn’t quite provide the exotic experience it promises, as too many tightly condensed flavours cancelled each other out. The sausages were dripping with a delicious grain mustard and honey and with five sausages almost as wide as they were long, represented good value.

The mezze included fresh tomato salsa, baba ganouj, extra virgin olive oil hummus, marinated olives and mojo marinated halloumi skewers, with grilled wholemeal pitta bread. It wasn’t the most immaculately or imaginatively presented dish, very much fitting with more Bill’s informal style, but there was scope to have a bit of fun by creating your own kebab. There was plenty of the grilled Cypriot cheese to go around, and the Perello olives

carried some good flavour too, with a mild spiciness and a hint of orange and oregano coming through. An extensive list of main course meals include pan-fried salmon (£10.85), piri-piri marinated half chicken (£10.95), Bill’s Fish Pie (£12.95), home-made cod fish finger sandwich (£8.50), moules frites (£9.95) and Bill’s macaroni cheese (£8.50). We chose the marinated chicken skewers (£9.95), comprising skewers of chargrilled

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26 marinated chicken skewers

chicken, served on a sultana, coriander and lemon cous cous with tzatziki and pitta bread. We found it be a colourful dish with good flavour and flair. We also tried the halloumi and hummus burger (£8.95) simply as it was something we had never sampled before. Whilst it was an interesting combination, with baby gem, roasted peppers, sweet chilli and yoghurt to baulk it out, there was not any explosion of flavours which could suggest that this all formed a natural alliance with

the sesame seed bun, who was no doubt pining for his old friend, the hamburger. However, with a simple diner-style presentation with a side of skinny fries, it was once again a talking point, like every other meal or indeed the features of the restaurant. For puddings, you can take your pick from Eton mess (£5.95), warm chocolate brownie (£5.95), blackcurrant and sour cherry sundae (£5.75), lemon meringue pie cheesecake (£5.95), raspberry and white chocolate crème brûlée (£4.95), pecan pie (£5.95), warm mini

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cinnamon doughnuts (£5.50) and Bill’s marmalade and brown bread ice cream (£4.95) The generously sized crème brûlée was enjoyable with a crisp golden coating and a soft, sweet centre. The Eton mess was delicious, as strawberries, cream and meringue can never fail to be, and there was certainly plenty of it. But for a restaurant that prides itself on quirkiness, perhaps Bill’s is missing a trick here with its dinner-lady presentation.

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Review: Bill’s Restaurant Eton mess

At the end of the meal, we were were full, satisfied that we had eaten interesting and hearty dishes, and the service had been warm and friendly throughout. There’s also little danger of diners sitting in silence, as there’s no end of talking points relating to the decoration, the transformation of the building, the menu and the items for sale in the shop. But it does feel like there’s more work to be done. The upstairs dining area doesn’t quite benefit from the vibrancy of the lower level, and it is a building that needs to be somewhere near capacity to generate warmth and atmosphere. Another problem is that the quirky dishes which caused such a stir when Bill set out only a few years ago are now not such a rarity. The surge of cooking shows on television has created an insatiable appetite for better food, driving standards higher at home, on the high street and in our restaurants. You need to be a little more innovative for people to take photos of your puddings now… For now, Bill’s warrants attention. Go there, you’ll have a good night and you’ll enjoy your food. But it might not be too long before the tried and tested Bill’s formula needs refreshing.

Pedro Martins, Assistant Manager at at Bill’s

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28

Artist Ames for

Commercial Success


Art: Lucy Ames

Lucy Ames In the art world, a touch of insanity can do wonders for one’s legacy. You could argue that some of the most famous artists of all time owe as much to their eccentric character as to artistic inspiration. Do Warhol’s paintings sell for millions because they’re a perfect interpretation of Campbell’s tomato soup, or are we buying into the glorified celebrity-laden, Bohemian culture he encapsulates? Would Vincent Van Goth have become so renowned if he hadn’t chopped off his ear or battled poverty and depression in a French asylum? Perhaps both men are like a thick cream that has taken a long time to rise to the top. But without a shadow of a doubt, authenticity is a key word in the art world. For some, art is sacrosanct, and the very idea of relating money to art is simply unthinkable. For these people, anyone painting for commercial reasons could not possibly attain a sufficient degree of satisfaction or self-fulfillment from their work. Which is complete nonsense... Lucy Ames has loved painting since she was at school, and has been running her own home-based art business for five years. The mum-of-two is happy to admit that she paints things that are selling well and, rather than seeking approval from the purists, is more concerned with helping to provide a living for her family whilst very much fulfilling her own creative needs. “It doesn’t worry me that I’m creating art for commercial reasons,” she said. “One of the things I enjoy most is talking to clients about what they want and working to that brief. “I talk to them and design something, and I try to make it really personal to each person. I enjoy painting for other people as much as I enjoy painting for myself, so it never really feels like work. For me, it’s the best job in the world.”


30 With her two children at school, Lucy has plenty of time to focus on art, although she says that her most productive time is late at night when she can occasionally get so carried away that she works into the early hours. The subject of Lucy’s paintings has changed too, even if the style has not altered dramatically. Lucy likes to work in a mess, usually painting on the floor rather than on an easel, and that freedom is expressed in the thickly textured paintings inspired by the likes of Leon Kossoff and Frank Auerbach. But the focus has switched from watercolours, which were particularly popular in the 1980’s, on to big floral images, then seascapes and city scenes. In one of Lucy’s favourite pictures, high rise buildings in London have been painted over cuttings from the Financial Times newspaper. More recently, there has been a move towards more abstract images of people and after attending classes tutored by Piers Ottey at Mill Studios in Ford, Lucy

has also tried her hand at life drawing and collage. She said: “I think my unique selling point is that I’m versatile and don’t have a signature style. That used to worry me and I thought I needed a style so people could say ‘oh, that’s definitely Art by Lucy Ames’. “But now I’m spinning it around, and my selling point is that one day I might paint a flower and the next day it might be a collage of Battersea power station. “I think art is driven by interior fashions. There has been a comeback in floral wallpaper and bedding and the floral paintings just fit in well, so that is what people are looking for at the moment.” Lucy may now be doing what she always wanted to do, but it’s taken a while to reach that point. She showed artistic potential at school, but her parents talked her out of trying to make a living as an artist. Instead, she studied business studies at University. It served Lucy well, although she admits

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‘Lucy likes to work in a mess, usually painting on the floor rather than on an easel’


Art: Lucy Ames

she would personally have chosen a degree in Fine Art. She said: “I became a business analyst, which was all about numbers and had no creative element at all, but I made a good career of it. I worked in the electricity industry and then at The Body Shop in Littlehampton. “I reached the stage when I could afford to go

part-time and did a Foundation course at Northbrook College in Horsham. It was brilliant fun, as I learned new techniques with textiles, sketching, painting, life drawing and even photography. I had the opportunity to experiment and the freedom to express myself. “But I still had no idea as to how I could make

a living at it, so I went back to being a business analyst. It wasn’t until fifteen years later, when I was made redundant, that I was in a position to try it full time.” Lucy had been selling paintings to friends and family for over a decade and sales had steadily increased. Having established Art by Lucy Ames as a business at her home in

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‘I set off on a high, thinking it was going to be easy, but I realised that it was down to who you know’ Ashington, Lucy made a great start. Lucy’s first exhibition was in the foyer of her previous workplace at The Body Shop and she sold 14 paintings and received eleven commissions. “In a way, it was a false dawn,” said Lucy. “I thought I would concentrate on corporate head offices. I negotiated to go to RSA in Horsham and Allianz in Guildford, and I just sat there day after day with nobody talking to me and nobody buying anything. “That was a shock. I set off on a high, thinking it was going to be easy, but I realised that it was down to who you know. So I started networking

and attending Sussex Women in Business and Mumpreneur (mums that run their own businesses) clubs and that has really helped me to make good contacts. “Now, I’m mainly selling through word of mouth, through people I have met and through networking. “I also take part in Open Studio events with both Horsham and Worthing art groups. I’ll be involved in the Horsham event this year as they are doing something different, with a weekend at Sedgwick House and a second weekend in the artists’ own home.

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“But local art can be difficult to sell, even when you collectively join forces. People tend to buy people rather than the art.” Next up for Lucy is a pop-up gallery in Swan Walk, next to Ann Summers, where her work will be exhibited along with art by Lesley Taylor, Steve Gubbins, Janine Creaye and Kezia Noel-Paton. The Gallery will be open for five days from Wednesday 6th to Sunday 10th March and will feature sculptures, paintings, abstract photography and ceramics. Her art will also be appearing at La Source in East Street for a period beginning on 29th March. Maybe some of Lucy’s paintings will sell, maybe they won’t, but Lucy can still go home to her two biggest fans. “My children are proud that their mum is an artist. It’s something that they can relate to, whereas as if you say you’re a project manager it’s not so interesting to them. “They’ve always been really supportive. When we do the Open Studios or hold exhibitions I can hear them saying ‘my mum did that’ and that’s nice for me to hear.” For more of Lucy’s paintings visit www.artbylucyames.com


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The Legend of Ridge Farm Studio For a quarter of a Century, Ridge Farm welcomed popular music giants such as Queen, Oasis, Muse and Ozzy Osbourne. The studio has now closed, but its unique history makes for an interesting wedding venue...

Towards the end of 1996, Oasis influenced British culture in a way that no other band had done for a generation. The Manchester band’s feud with Blur, the constant bickering between the Gallagher brothers, drug-fuelled bad behaviour and of course some of the greatest rock anthems of the time ensured they were both the heroes and villains of society. The media couldn’t get enough of them. Desperate to escape a tabloid industry in relentless pursuit, Oasis found a studio at a farm in the rural outskirts of Rusper. They retreated to the peace and tranquillity of Ridge Farm Studio to complete the recording of their third album ‘Be Here Now’. Today, a disc to recognise sales of 1,800,000 copies of what remains the UK’s fastest selling album of all time hangs in the corridor of Ridge Farm alongside other gold discs by the likes of Roxy Music, Pearl Jam, Bad Company, OMD and Wet Wet Wet. Yet just five years after the release of Be Here Now, and only two years after Muse recorded what is considered by many to be their best album, Origin of Symmetry, Ridge Farm Studio closed. It is now run as a venue for weddings and functions, where couples can play tennis on the same court used by Freddie Mercury and have breakfast at the table once occupied by The Smiths. You can even stay in ‘The Cottage’ and stand on the balcony where, as legend has it, Sharon Arden threw a Rolex watch belonging to her then-boyfriend Ozzy Osbourne into the pond below. It may still be there… Ridge Farm Studio was established in 1975 by Frank Andrews, who as a lighting technician had toured the UK and across Europe with a number of successful bands including Queen, Bad Company, Rolling

Stones, The Doobie Brothers and Abba. Frank recalls: “One day I came back off tour and my parents were living in a different place, which was here at Ridge Farm. “I started the studio with my brother, Billy, and initially, bands would use it to rehearse. But they would bring mobile recording units as we didn’t have our own studio equipment at that time. “The idea was unique as it was a retreat in the countryside. The cliché of recording a classic rock album in the countryside was very new at that time. Record companies and managers liked it here as they could keep an eye on the band and make sure they got all the work done. “If they didn’t turn up for work someone would go and drag them out of bed! “The first band we had here was Back Street Crawler, set up by Paul Kossoff (formerly of Free) and they were recording

with Ronnie Lane’s mobile unit. We had a bare barn back then, but it took off straight away and we were able to bring bands to Ridge Farm quite quickly. “Queen came here in our first year, as I had toured with them in Europe and Scandinavia. They were relatively unknown at that stage, and that was just at the point where it really took off for them. “They liked it here as they could all focus on what they were doing, and all live together. There was a family atmosphere, and the band would stroll around and play with the dog we had at the time. Queen played a lot of tennis too, and I remember Freddie in particular was very good. “Queen were rehearsing and they actually wrote Bohemian Rhapsody here. There was a nice article in The Telegraph where Roger Taylor talked about that. They were


36 ‘There are some funny stories about Ozzy, including the night Sharon apparently threw his Rolex watch off the balcony into the pond. We’ve never found it!”

The 17th Century farm includes the old studio barn (on the right of the image above) and The Cottage. It is here that Ozzy used to stay and the building is currently being transformed into a bridal suite. lovely young men, and they used to go out most evenings to The Royal Oak pub around the corner. “My parents had an outdoor swimming pool back in those days, and the bands would spend a lot of time around it. My mother was pretty open-minded about it all and thought the studio was a good idea. “In hindsight, all the bands were pretty well behaved. It was a more innocent time.” Over the next couple of years, bands including Bad Company, Thin Lizzy and Hawkwind would visit Ridge Farm Studio, whilst Roxy Music would record ‘Manifesto’ and Magazine their post-punk classic ‘Real Life’. So when Frank’s parents decided that they

wanted to sell the farm, Frank was in a position to buy it from them. It also meant that in the winter of 1978, Ridge Farm could create its own in-house, 1,200 square foot studio complete with Grand Piano. Initially, Ridge Farm was equipped with a 28 channel JH-400 mixing desk with a JH-24 multi-track and MCI quarter inch machine, all belonging to Yes singer Jon Anderson. Frank said: “We made the Roxy album ‘Manifesto’ on Jon’s equipment and that was when we started becoming a serious studio. But I wanted to get my own equipment as obviously Jon was taking a large chunk of the revenue and I had this whole farm to run. So I borrowed the money for the equipment

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and that moved us on to the next level.” In 1982 Ridge Farm had been re-equipped with a 32 channel 4000E, the MCI multi-track being replaced by a Telefunken 15A. The new equipment, which was again updated in 1985, ensured the eighties brought more success for the studio. The likes of Frankie Goes to Hollywood, Wet Wet Wet and A Flock of Seagulls recorded in Rusper, whilst the Smiths’ Meat is Murder was added to the list of Ridge Farm classics. Another regular was Ozzy Osbourne, who recorded three solo albums with some of the greatest rock musicians in the world. Occasionally, disciples of Randy Rhoads, who played with Ozzy and Quiet Riot, still visit


The bedrooms come with a variety of quirky features, with children particularly enjoying the small access point to this room above... Ridge Farm. Rhoads, considered one of the great guitarists, was killed in a plane crash aged only 26. Frank recalls those days with great fondness. He said: “Ozzy came here a number of times but we don’t have gold discs as his record company were so difficult to deal with. Getting gold discs out of some record companies is like getting blood out of a stone, as when they leave the studios they all move on to promotional work.

“He came here firstly to record Blizzard of Oz. We thought he was washed up at the time, but of course he went on to have his show and become this huge cult figure. “He was incredibly funny, and he used to go down The Plough in Rusper at lunchtime and buy everyone in the pub a drink. He used to stay in the cottage rather than the farm house. “He was with Sharon, who he later married, and there are some funny stories including

the night she apparently threw his Rolex watch off the balcony. We’ve had metal detectors in there looking for it but we never found it!” As time went on, Frank continued to invest in the farm, building an indoor pool in 1987, whilst in 1990 a Neve VR60 was installed and the tape machines (2 X 24 track Studer A800s) were moved to a machine room under the control room. The first session with this new set-up was the

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The Ridge Farm Studio is now used by Frank’s son Tom, who records electronic music under the name ‘Broken Note’ The Studio’s own

mix of Pearl Jam's ‘Ten’, an album which surprised everyone by catapulting the band to global stardom as (thanks also to Nirvana) Seattle became the heart of rock music. But by 1996, Britpop usurped grunge and Oasis was the band everybody was talking about. Late in the year, the band booked Ridge Farm to record Be Here Now after abandoning the problematic sessions at Abbey Road. You can read all about Oasis’ visit in our ‘Interesting Things’ feature on Page 66... Several other successful guitar bands of the 1990’s recorded at Ridge Farm, most notably Supergrass (their excellent eponymous third album), Muse, The Bluetones (Expecting to

Fly) with many others using the studios to rehearse. And whilst Ridge Farm had over the years built up a reputation of classic rock, it is worth remarking that leading electronic musician Goldie recorded Saturnz Return there in 1998. But gradually, the bookings dried up, and Joe Jackson was the last person to record there in 2002. Frank said: “When we started there really was just a couple of residential studios around, but people began imitating the formula, and towards the end it made it difficult. We were never short of work, but we suffered because the rates were being pushed down by record

companies. Then you would wait three months to get paid. “We were losing money and the bank wouldn’t support it anymore. I kept thinking it would come back, but it didn’t happen and we closed in 2003. “I sold the recording desk to Radio Denmark, and seeing it all go was very difficult for me. You kind of plough on through it when it is happening, as you have to, but looking back it was a sad time. “The microphones went very quickly, as that was like selling the crown jewels. There was a lot of old Neumann and AKG microphones which are highly regarded in the recording world, and most of those were snapped up

Richard Mann has seen his role at Ridge Farm change over the years


Ridge Farm Studio

equipment was sold after its closure, with Radiohead buying much of it. Tom spends much of his time performing live around the world.

“For lots of people, it’s still how we are best known. People say ‘isn’t that where Oasis recorded?’ But at the time, it felt like something we had to just get through!” by Radiohead. “There were a lot of studios closing down. England used to have the best studios in the world and there were a lot of them. But those days are gone now. “I think the 70’s and 80’s were my favourite times. It was more difficult in the 1990s, trying to keep it going through the pop and dance eras, and the earlier days were more carefree. “It’s difficult to pick any favourites, but I always liked the Roxy Music album we did here and Pearl Jam springs to mind too. Nobody knew them when they came here and recorded ‘Ten’. “That’s what we were good at, finding new young bands and bringing them on. That is what I enjoyed doing the most.” Now, Frank runs Ridge Farm as a wedding venue. The first wedding at the farm was in the 1970’s when Simon Kirke, the drummer in Bad Company was married. It was an event Frank describes as ‘pretty outrageous’ but these days the venue is geared specifically for weddings. Richard Mann joined Ridge Farm as an eager music production student, and remembers that on his first day at work Danny Goffey of Supergrass welcomed him in. Now he helps run one of the most quirky and interesting wedding venues around. He said: “We have a self-catering 11 bedroom house, and in the summer we


40 ‘What I make may not be as engaging as the prolific records created here, but I do feel I want to do something original, that people haven’t heard before’

Tom Andrews records as Broken Note

hold a lot of weddings. The guests enjoy it here because it’s a really interesting old place, and because we hire out the venue for three days so they have the freedom to schedule their wedding day as they please. “The swimming pool room becomes the reception room, so we put boards over the pool, the wedding party has a sit down meal and then it becomes the party room. “We come in early in the morning and we turn it back into the pool house, so as they wake up they can have a swim! They love seeing that transformation. “We are also renovating the Cottage (where Ozzy used to stay) into a bridal suite too, as you continually have to improve what you offer.” As for the old studio building, there are little clues to its glorious past, but innovative music is still made at Ridge Farm. A producer called Ben Watkins set up his own equipment several years ago and recorded ‘Goa Trance’ tracks under the name Juno Reactor. Now Frank’s son Tom has set up his own equipment, and is making a name for himself in electronic music as ‘Broken Note.” Tom said: “I was the little kid that used to hang around the stars, but it didn’t mean anything to me as I was so young. “It wasn’t until I was 15 or 16 that I realised

that music was something I could actually do. I ended up in the studio, which was unexpected. I used to play in punk and metal

bands, and getting into music production was a crossover from that. “Now I take a sound and see how far I can take it. I find a lot of what I do fits somewhere between bands and electronic music. It’s a link between heavy metal bands and the more commercial electronic end. I guess it’s a niche. “I’ve performed all over America, Mexico, Brazil, Scandinavia, Russia, Japan, Australia and New Zealand. I just set off with a backpack and my laptop and perform. What I do is considered quite original, so in a way it’s pioneering a sound. “The history of Ridge Farm does come into it as I feel an expectation. I have to put something in to the music or I feel like I’m putting the place to shame. What I make may not be as engaging as the prolific records that have been created here, but I do feel I am doing something original that people haven’t heard before.” For Frank, the glory days of rock ‘n’ roll records may never return, but it would seem that the spirit of Ridge Farm is still alive and kicking. And as Frank points out, wedding guests certainly don’t make as much mess as the bands used to! To find out more about Ridge Farm visit the website at www.ridgefarmstudio.com


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A Common Purpose 200 years ago, Horsham Common was ‘Enclosed’ after being part of the community for centuries. Today, only a tiny patch or green space remains...

Horsham Common, what’s left of it, is located outside the Dog and Bacon in North Parade

If Ronseal ever sponsored an award for plaques in small public spaces, you’d like to think that this would be nominated. On a small area of grassland just outside of the Dog and Bacon pub on North Parade, there is a plaque that very much does what it says on the tin. ‘This village green is all that remains of the Old Horsham Common’. Most people walk right on by and barely give it a second’s thought, as it’s no big deal. But two hundred years ago, the breaking up of the Common was to change the town forever. In today’s society, such a move would be condemned as the actions of rich people enhancing their own holdings whilst robbing the poor of their livelihood. But is that really how it happened? Horsham’s Common stretched for about one

square mile in a crescent shape encircling Horsham to the north, east and south, but it didn’t head out east because the river acted as a boundary. It was created at a time when there was a major restructuring of land holdings after the Norman conquest of the 11th Century, though it may have existed in some form before then. At that time, villages or towns would have a patch of land that was set aside for people to collect firewood, stones and graze live stock on. Some would even construct a hovel, though that wasn’t strictly within the rules. These Commons were a fundamental part of village life but over the centuries their use changed and importantly they became large areas of predominantly unproductive land. By the 17th Century commons across the

country were being enclosed. This meant that the landowner had the freedom to do whatever they wanted to do with the Common, by removing the rights of commoners to use it. In Horsham, we didn’t call the area a Common at all, even if that’s how it was defined. It was known as Horsham Heath, as the common was predominantly on poor quality, sandy soil. It only became known as Horsham Common when lawyers got involved. The Duke of Norfolk, who had for years not been interested in Horsham, suddenly changed his stance in the late 18th century. He demanded that the Common could not be used in certain ways. If anyone was using a hovel or was letting cattle graze too freely on the land, then they would have to stop or pay a fine at the Manorial court. The Duke used an ambitious lawyer, Thomas


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The Horsham Enclosure Award was granted in 1812, after it was presented by then Horsham MP Robert Hurst who may have had a hand in convincing the Duke of Norfolk to break up the Common. Hurst would arguably benefit more than anyone from the Enclosure. Medwin (after whom Medwin Walk is named), to help him manage the fines and misuse of the Common. In Horsham the only people who had the right to use the Common were 52 burgage holders, the owners of property laid out around 1206 when the Borough of Horsham was created. Other people in the town may have used it but didn’t have it as a right. People could use it, but they would have to do something in return such as manure the Lord’s fields or collect the harvest.

The story of how Horsham Common was enclosed started in 1811 when the news of the purchase of Horsham from the Irwin family, who owned Hill’s Place, by the Duke of Norfolk leaked to the press. On the 25th February 1811 the Sussex Advertiser announced: “The Duke of Norfolk has purchased of the Marquis of Hartford his property in Horsham.” The amount of legal paperwork to go through meant that it was not until June 1811 that the deal was finally completed,

with the Duke handing over the remaining £31,475 on top of the £60,000 already paid. Horsham now belonged to the Duke. The Duke was now in full command, back as the Lord Paramount. He owned most of Horsham’s burgage plots and with it the rights to the Common. In August 1811 he asked Medwin to place an advertisement in the papers proposing to enclose Horsham Common. The advert ran on 9th September 1811 in the Sussex Weekly Advertiser baldly stating that: “Notice is


Horsham Common

The Enclosure Award outlines all of the different landowners; A painting in the collection of Horsham Museum shows life in Horsham in 1812. The Town Hall had only just been rebuilt at a cost of £8,000.

The Duke owned most of Horsham’s burgage plots and with it rights to the Common hereby given that application is intended to be made to Parliament in the ensuing session for an Act for dividing, allotting and enclosing Horsham Common.” On the 1st February 1812 the Duke of Norfolk wrote to Sir Henry Fletcher, who was the second largest burgage holder in Horsham saying “Whatever be the result of this proposition the enclosure of the Common

appears to be an advantageous measure, and I am therefore preparing the draught of the Bill with as much speed as possible and will send it for your perusal.” By 25th February 1812, a Bill for enclosing Horsham Common had been presented by Horsham MP Robert Hurst, and by the 20th March the Bill had received Royal Assent. There was virtually no comment in the town.

The Common was divided into the respective owners’ holdings, holders of the tithes, and owners of the burgages. The rest was sold. The first portion of Common land was auctioned on 22nd October 1812 and that was to pay for the legal expenses. The first sale of about 28 acres raised around £100 an acre and included land from the South East Corner of New Street (then known as Pest


46

Horsham Common was formed after the Norman conquest

We will never know if Robert Hurst was the person who gave The Duke of Norfolk the idea of enclosing the Common

Duke of Norfolk

House Lane). The sale on 14th January 1813 to pay for enclosing land in Roughey Manor raised less than half that. That land was in Crawley Road, Forest Road and Comptons Lane South. Interestingly, the purchasers of the land were primarily people benefiting from the Barracks, which had been built in 1796 and housed some 1,500 people. They included Philip Chasemore, who was a butcher and had the contract of supplying meat to the Barracks, and Charles Oaks, the town gunsmith (two of whose guns are on display in the Museum). The Duke of Norfolk and John Lintott also bought land, but perhaps the biggest purchaser of land was Robert Hurst, the Member of Parliament for Horsham who had brought forward the Enclosure bill. William Albery, viewed the enclosure of the Common with distaste. His book ‘A millennium of facts in the history of Horsham and Sussex, 947-1947’ details who purchased the land at the auction, who obtained the land through the enclosure and who bought various plots of land as well as the prices paid. Albery shows that the Duke of Norfolk acquired in total around 486 acres of land, but he sold around 172 acres. Robert Hurst received as compensation for various tithes some 63 acres of Horsham Common

with Sir Henry Fletcher receiving around 47 acres. There then followed various sales between land owners with Hurst being the principal purchaser. He spent £10,005 16s 3d on land in Horsham and Roffey which came from the estate of Sarah Hurst, the diarist who died in March 1808. We will never know if Robert Hurst was the person who gave The Duke of Norfolk the idea of enclosing the Common. But he did have money to burn and through the purchase of this land he became one of Horsham’s most important landowners. After the big shake-up, the Duke of Norfolk ended up with around 330 acres of the Common (320 from the allocation and 10 from purchase) whilst Hurst ended up with around 213 acres (69 allotted and 144 bought). If the enclosure of the Common was intended to recoup the cost of buying Horsham it was a poor proportion for The Duke. He raised £9,955 16s and 3d for the sale of Horsham Manor land and a further £224 for the sale of Hawkesbourne Manor land. He also spent £776 buying up land, leaving a grand profit of £9433. One reason for the Duke only buying small amounts of land could be a shortage of cash. He was facing a problem that would affect more people in Horsham in the short term


Horsham Common

Images from the maps in the Enclosure Award Book, which is held by Horsham Museum

than the Enclosure. On the 23rd March 1812, judges declared the Town Hall unfit for use, and expressed a desire to move out of Horsham. If the Assizes left Horsham, so would all the trade that the Courts would bring in. Something had to be done. The Duke of Norfolk stepped forward and rebuilt the Town Hall at a cost of £8,000. The Justices stayed, the town folk were grateful and Norfolk had built an unusual monument. Perhaps it was this outlay of cash that ensured he was not the major winner of the Enclosure of the Common which, as well as seeing a major redistribution of land ownership in Horsham, also saw some significant developments in the makeup and layout of the town. History suggests that, whilst some people undoubtedly did miss using the Common, the soil could only be used for grazing livestock, not intensive farming. The enclosure created a large pool of land which could be developed, but Horsham still had large tracts of land within the borough which was under-developed. The other change was to the medieval roadways that crisscrossed the Common. When the land was a common, routes over the land were determined by geographical features. Now routes were determined by land ownership. This meant that some roads or tracks had to be diverted and new ones created. The enclosure commissioners foresaw this and allocated £1,393 for the making of roads, with the money coming from the sale of common land. The enclosure was, in the end, a good thing for Horsham, and somehow a tiny section of it has survived. As well as the plaque, the Enclosure Award Map is held at Horsham Museum. AAH wishes to thank Jeremy Knight of Horsham Museum/Horsham District Council for providing the historical content for this feature...

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New Mazda6 Zoom zooms in to Horsham The start of 2013 has already been a busy period at Lifestyle Europe, with a long list of new cars ready and waiting to be launched and none more prominent than the all-new Mazda6. Mazda have had a longstanding ethos when it comes to style, substance and innovative technology and all this and more is there to be seen with the latest model to come from the Japanese manufacturer. Following in the footsteps of the recently launched CX-5, the new Mazda6 uses the company’s very latest ‘KODO - Soul of Motion’ design philosophy. The 4-door saloon and 5-door Tourer ooze class and being embedded with the same SkyActiv technology as seen on the CX-5, they have certainly raised the stakes in the family car segment. The new Mazda6 is available with the choice of 2.2-litre diesel and 2.0-litre petrol engines, both of which heavily feature the cutting-edge SkyActiv technology and are available with a choice of six-speed manual or automatic gearboxes. With the onus for manufacturers being all about economy these days, Mazda have once again shown us the way forward with the lower-powered of the diesel engines

offering class-leading emissions of 108g/km and converting a gallon of fuel into the potential of 78.5 miles of driving pleasure, whilst still offering exceptional power figures with 148bhp and a colossal 380Nm torque. Prices for the all-new Mazda6 start at £19,595 for the SE-spec saloon with the 143bhp petrol engine which comes with 17” alloys, cruise control, air-con, front and rear electric windows, Bluetooth and an intuitive multimedia system all as standard. The motoring world have already started to sing the new family saloon’s praises, with Auto Express saying during a recent group test; If you’re in the market for a stylish saloon with a sporty edge, then the Mazda 6 is the one for you.

The catwalk looks are like nothing else in the class, but what’s so special about this car is how it makes you feel behind the wheel. Order books are open for the new Mazda6 and Lifestyle Horsham have models available on site to view and to drive. For information on Lifestyle Europe’s range of Mazda vehicles, please visit the Bishopric-based dealership or call 01403 282700. Alternatively, see www.lifestylemazda.co.uk where a full list of new and used vehicles, dealership locations and contact details are available.


With wedding season coming up, I thought it would be a good idea to look at the history, traditions and symbolism of wedding rings. We all know that the fourth finger on the left hand is the ring finger, but do we know why? Down through the ages, wedding rings have been worn on different fingers, including the thumb, and on both hands. Some believe that the fourth finger was eventually chosen because the Egyptians and the Romans both thought that a vein from the finger, referred to as the ‘Vena Amoris’, was directly connected to the heart. Another theory has its roots in the practices of early Christian marriages. As the priest recited ‘In the name of the Father, the Son and the Holy Spirit’ he would take the ring and touch the thumb, the index finger, and the middle finger; then, while uttering ‘Amen’ he would place the ring on the ring finger, which sealed the marriage. However the practice started, it became a tradition passed down the generations and whilst the vein theory proved to be wrong, the fourth finger became known as the ring finger. But not universally. Countries including Norway, Russia, Greece, Bulgaria, Poland, Austria, Germany, Portugal and Spain place the wedding ring on the ring finger of the right hand, whilst in Jewish tradition, the groom places the ring on the bride’s index finger. What about the shape of rings? The simple circle represents an unbroken promise of commitment. Thousands of years ago, people used shaped twigs or plant

stems into circles and placed them on their brides’ ring fingers. It was not until the 9th Century that Christians used rings in marriage ceremonies, but it was usually decorated with engraved doves or two linked hands. It was simplified to a standard ring around the 13th century. People initially used leather, bone and ivory, before moving on to stone, aluminium and metal. Today, wedding rings are usually made of gold, silver, palladium or platinum. Here at Sakakini, we have one of the largest selections of wedding rings in Sussex, and everything we do is made to order.

You can’t come in, buy a wedding ring and walk out of the shop. We have hundreds of blank designs, so customers can choose from any metal in any shape or size, as either a solid ring or in an eternity ring style or with diamonds. We also offer a buy one ring, get the second half price deal on wedding rings and that is a hugely popular offer. If you would like more information on this or any of our other services, do visit us at 45 The Carfax in Horsham or visit our website at www.sakgems.com


51

The Final Curtain Call?

Don’t be so Dramatic! Billingshurst Dramatic Society is still going strong after 70 years in the Women’s Hall Much has changed in Billingshurst since the Second World War, and few communities have had to find maintain its identity to the extent that Billingshurst has. But for about 70 years, Billingshurst Dramatic Society has been ever present, putting on plays then as they do now in the Women’s Hall on the High Street. The Hall had initially been given to the village by two ladies who felt women needed a sanctuary free of men and alcohol, but during the Second World War men were reluctantly allowed inside. In 1941, the Workers Education Association organised some drama classes and this led to a production of The Rivals in the spring of 1942. The success of this show led to the transformation of the Society, which held its first production, Tobias and the Angel. With

most of the men at war, Frances Crisp dressed as a man to take the lead role. A decade later, the Society had developed into a successful village group, boasting fifty members. They included some very talented performers such as Doctor Challis (Bill) Bousfield, Jack Leaman and Ron Oulds. Frances produced most of the plays and would be a familiar face at the Society for decades to come. Throughout the 1960’s the Society continued to prosper, with Pamela Leaman, in particular, raising the level of performance. Once a professional actress, Pamela produced and acted in many of the Society’s plays, starting with The Deep Blue Sea in 1959. No, not the shark movie with Samuel L. Jackson, but a play by Terrence Rattigan. The Society was even known to cause controversy – not every-

one agreed with their decision to perform the contentious play, Alfie, in 1968. In the 1980’s, the Society broadened its production spectrum to include musicals for the first time and even performed pantomimes, but as time has developed the group has returned to its roots of putting on predominantly plays. They have recently performed When We Are Married, a period comedy by J.B Priestley, for three nights at the Women’s Hall. Whilst some have been with the Society for many years, a number of younger members are now involved and it is hoped that they will carry on providing good quality amateur dramatics for the village for many years to come. We caught up with the cast during dress rehearsals for the latest play, When We Are Married...


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Benjamin Howarth as Gerald Forbes “I’ve been with the group for about a year. I joined because Tom and Kate Rollings at Fishers Farm were in a play called Sweet Charity. When I went to work for Tom at the farm he asked me where I could see myself in five years’ time and I told him that I had wanted to become an actor. I was trying everything I could do to get in to acting and he recommended Billingshurst Dramatics Society. I came by and I found it a lot of fun, as it involved acting and singing in a variety

of different parts. I’ve been here ever since. We work well as a team; we get a text message from Giles (Jackson) to say we need to do shed repairs or that there are sets to be built and we all come in to sort it out. I like that side of the Society helping on all sides of theatre work. At the end of the day, you feel like you’ve put a lot of work in to each show. It’s not just been arriving, stepping on the stage and acting; you’ve helped make it all possible too.”


Group Discussion

Jackie Charman as Lotty Grady

“I’ve been with Billingshurst Dramatic Society for about 33 years. When I moved to Billinghurst I didn’t know anybody so I joined the Society and have been here ever since. It’s a great way of meeting a whole range of people from across the community. The Women’s Hall has always been our home and we have costumes, props and scenery all hidden away here. We do two productions a year, in October and February, and we also do a review for our patrons at Fishers Farm. If it’s a show that might be a real crowd-puller we might put on four or five shows but it’s typically three nights and

we don’t normally have a problem filling the seats. We’re always on the lookout for new members who are willing to be active, roll up their sleeves, build sets and be involved. We are not so concerned about attracting people with the sole ambition of treading the boards. We want carpenters and people prepared to build scenery and lift heavy items. What we are lacking are people in the 30-50 age group, particularly men, as we often find we have to use the same leading man! People are so much busier and consumed by work and commitments these days and cannot spare the time. That’s modern life I’m afraid.”

‘We are not so concerned about attracting people with the sole ambition of treading the boards. We want people prepared to build scenery!”


54 “This is the second time I’ve been involved in a Billingshurst Dramatic Society production of ‘When We Are Married. The last time was 40 years ago and I was Ruby Birtle, and this time I play Mrs Northrop. It doesn’t seem so long ago. I’ve been in many shows, and I even directed the first musical we ever did in this hall, Jorrocks (in 1986). In the past I have written pantomimes too, such as Aladdin (1980) and I also write pantomimes for Fishers Farm, where I work. The group goes through phases. It’s been difficult lately as it’s hard to attract new, younger people to come and join, but that’s starting to change. People used to stay in the area they lived in and work locally, but now they go to University and never come back. We still have a good community feel, but it’s the old part of the village which supports us. The ‘new’ parts of the village all seemingly stay inside and play with their iPads. When the new estate was built we tried to invite them in and we had one response, which was Claire. I think every society is going through the same problems but we manage to keep going.”

Sue Pollard as Mrs Northrop

‘The ‘new’ parts of the village all seemingly stay inside and play with their iPad’

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abmbuilding.co.uk “I’ve been here since 1958 and I’ve probably acted in or directed 150 productions. When I first came here, it was a typical village society, but it has blossomed. At about the time I came we had three or four really good people who were enthusiastic and very capable of taking on lead roles. There were people like John Farmer, and John Humphreys who was quite the most talented actor you could see and could surpass most on the London stages. It was a crime he never got there. Another one of the very best we’ve had was Pamela Leaman who really raised the bar here. Hopefully, the

Nevin Davies as Rev. Clement Mercer

Bunty Raymond plays the role of Maria Helliwell

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Billingshurst Dramatic Society is getting back to its best. If you have a few keen people, the standard goes up, and we now have a few young people coming in. When only one young person joins, there is a real difficulty to keep them interested as of course they are isolated. You do not want a clique of old people who have known each other for years. I have made some wonderful friends and it has given me much happiness, but I am knocking 83 and I’m just delighted when there is a part for me. Most of us older ones are feeling like it’s time we sat back a bit and let the younger ones take it on.”


56

Claire Hiley as Clara Soppitt

“I joined in 2005 and this is my eighth or ninth production. I came to the Society when I arrived in the village as I was self-employed and didn’t know anybody. I hadn’t been in a dramatic society before, but I was involved is putting on productions when I was at University, mainly doing backstage work. I joined to help backstage, but people here were so welcoming and I ended up on the stage too. You see Midsomer Murders and you have visions of all these actors going around killing each other for main parts! But it’s been great and I’ve never looked back. I’ve taken on lot of different roles. In one production I was slapped on stage as I played a women abused by her husband, and in the next show I got to slap the same man back! I’ve written a bit in the programme for ‘When We Were Married’ about how I joined. I have two small children and I’m at home all day, so just being able to get out and do something different is great. There are times when it is hard work, when the shows are approaching and you’re constantly rehearsing and learning lines, but for me it’s a release to come out and do this.”


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Schoolboy has his

Pedal to th If you’re thinking that Alex Reed looks a little too young to drive, you would be right. Aged only 14, Alex still has a few years before he can jump in the car and drive to the shop at 30mph, keeping a safe distance to the car in front and remembering to signal before each manoeuvre. But thanks to the glory of sporting competition, he is allowed to put on a helmet and drive around race tracks at 100mph whilst racing bumper to bumper with a dozen other schoolboys! Alex, who lives in Horsham, is about to embark on his first full season in the new Ford Fiesta Junior championship. Having

already competed in two rounds of the championship, he is aiming for podium finishes this year with his team, Advent Motorsport. Eventually, Alex hopes to progress to GT racing or to the British Touring Car Championship, with the ultimate goal of racing in the Le Mans 24 hour race. By today’s standards, Alex started racing late. He was 12 when he first participated in a competitive race, after just a few experiences of go-karting. Hurstpierpoint College pupil Alex said: “I went karting when I was six but didn’t go again until my 10th birthday party. I went to the go kart track in Crawley, and I beat

everyone else by quite a way. It looked like there was a bit of talent there. “I went karting again for my 12th birthday at the 800m track at QLeisure in Albourne. It’s a great track so I started competing in a championship. “I took part in an eight round summer season and finished second, and then I moved up to the senior class for a six race winter season, which I won. For the championship rounds it was only £40 so it was affordable, and we could just arrive and drive, so it was a great start to racing for me.” After his initial success, Alex looked to take a huge step up to the Ginetta Junior


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he Metal Championship, but was wisely encouraged to gain more experience in karting before moving into car racing. So instead, Alex joined Ambition Motorsport and competed in 70mph Mini Max karting. He enjoyed mixed fortunes in Mini Max, winning races at Forest Edge and Bayford Meadows, but suffering a big accident at Buckmore Park. He said: “The Mini Max Championship improved my race craft by a massive amount, but there were a lot of younger racers. The eleven-yearolds had a weight advantage and were still very quick! But it was brilliant fun and a real jump up from the 40mph karts. “You also have to pay to race in the

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60 championship, and the cost shoots up to about £10,000 a year, which is a huge jump up from the corporate karting we were doing previously. “Because it was a national competition, people were not as friendly. The parents are the worst – some of them go out of their minds. “I won a couple of races, but at Buckmore I ended up sat in an ambulance. There was a race with 30 cars on the track, and at the start I went round the first corner and someone went straight into the side of me, used me as an embankment and T-boned me. “His car went over my helmet and hand, and the tyre went through the glove. I’ve not been to Buckmore since then.” After a year and a half in Mini Max, Alex moved over to Ford Fiesta Junior, as he had turned 14 so could race. It didn’t start too well, as Alex crashed on his first track day at Snetterton. “It was quite a big shunt,” recalls Alex. “I hadn’t learned much about cars, but in the last hour of the day I was getting a bit tired and frustrated as I was not getting the times I had wanted. I went round the corner, started drifting and crashed into the

inside barrier at 60mph.” But the times eventually came down and Alex put in solid performances in four races at two Championship rounds. He finished sixth in both races at Snetterton, and at Brands Hatch finished fifth in the second race after a collision in race one. The 2013 season starts at Rockingham, with 20 races held at six tracks includeing Brands Heath, Silverstone and Donington Park. Alex said: “This season I’m told there will be between 15-20 competitors and I’m looking for podiums and to finish in the top five of the championship. “If this year goes really well, I might be able to get into the Ginetta Junior. I’ll be doing my GCSE’s next year as well, so I might have to take a break from the racing. But we’ll see how it goes. “I’m targeting touring cars rather than single seat racing, which is very difficult to get into. For me, the dream goal would be the British or World Touring Car Championships or Le Mans.” You can keep an eye on Alex’s progress at www.alexreedracing.com/

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our ears as much as we need our eyes and I would recommend everyone to have a hearing check every couple of years. We offer a complimentary initial consultation and the results can be life changing.

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What hearing aids do we provide? SeboTek hearing instruments are recognised around the world for their magnificent sound quality and their patented receiver in the canal design. These hearing aids are only available through our hearing centres and you will not find them elsewhere in Horsham. SeboTek have recently created a new HD device, which pick up a far greater range of sounds. It is also very comfortable and people wouldnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t even notice you are wearing anything.

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62

Designer is no

Material Girl Fran White recently opened The Linen Shop & Gallery in Horsham, selling her own designs woven in some of the finest mills in the world...

Netherlands now produces much of the world’s highest quality linen. And unlike the vast majortiy of high street fabric stores, Fran sells linen woven to her own designs.

Multi Purpose

Fran White displays her own designs at The Linen Shop in Horsham

It’s increasingly common for people to accuse Horsham town centre of being dominated by restaurants and coffee shops. But if you look closely, you’ll see that fabric shops are giving them a good run for their money. There are now four in the town centre, three of them based in the Carfax, with The Linen Shop being the most recent addition. Linen is not the most expensive fabric in the world; that honour probably falls to vicuña, a South American relative of the llama and the alpaca. A Scottish textile company produces fabric woven from 100% worsted vicuña, which is harvested from the coat of the animal only once every three years. Its rarity ensures a

price tag of about £3,000 per yard. Linen’s price tag isn’t even remotely as obscene, but because it is made from the fibre of flax plants and is labour - intensive to manufacture, it is among the more costly common fabrics. The cultivation of linen cloth has declined in the UK and Ireland over the last decade. Many of the high quality flax cultivation mills have closed as Eastern Europe and China offers cheaper but lower quality alternatives. Yet Fran White, owner of The Linen Shop, has refused to compromise on quality. She still offers highly sought-after Irish linen, as well as linen from Scotland and Belgium, which along with Northern France and The

Most customers buy Fran’s linen to use on home furnishings such as curtains, blinds, cushions and throws. But the linen can also be used to create clothing items and the shop even sells a range of clothes including kimono robes, scarves and loose jackets. With the addition of quirky gifts such as patchwork pieces, buttons, matchbox covers, pin cushions, ponchos, and a selection of art Fran creates in her spare time, The Linen Shop is as unique as Fran’s own journey to the town centre. “I had a business called Linen Hire in London and we hired out fabrics for use in advertising and editorial photography,” said Fran. “I had a huge collection of fabrics and they were used for all sorts of things including adverts for Nescafe and even photographs in the Marks and Spencer Cookery Book. “Business was okay but the work wasn’t creative enough for me, so I started to study part-time to learn more about designing and producing fabric. “I ended up at college. I sold the business and began studying full time at the Surrey Institute of Art and Design in Farnham. “I left as a mature student in 1998 and


the following year I started trying to sell my own designs locally. I met Ann Sutton, a well-known weaver based in Arundel, and it was Ann who suggested that I find a mill to weave the fabric I had designed. “She gave me some contacts in Ireland and I found a mill that would weave me thirty metres of fabric. That arrived in February 1999 and I had to start selling that. “But the Irish mill closed down, so we tried a Scottish mill and they still weave a small amount for us. But most of the fabric we have here is woven in Belgium. “I did try hard to find a mill in England, but they were all closing just as I was starting out, mainly due to competition from overseas. Initially there was a drain to India and now it’s China. “When I began researching, I found that some people who were having their linen woven in India would regularly find mistakes in the work. But they would simply send it back as it is just so cheap. “But I didn’t want that. I want it to be right every time. So we spend a little more to have it produced by the best mills we can find. Also, for many people who know fabrics well, Irish linen is still held in high regard as it’s so fine.”

Starting Small Eventually, Fran opened a showroom close to her home in Nuthurst in 2003. The footfall was very small but gradually the customer base grew, until Fran decided to make the jump into the


64

The Linen Shop features the designs of Fran White, with the fabric mostly produced in Belgium, Ireland and Scotland. The fine, high-quality town centre. Shortly after opening at 18 Carfax, the Linen Shop won the Dressed for Success ‘Best Independent’ Award for its Christmas window display. Fran believes the cluster effect of fabric stores is good for all of the businesses, as they all specialise in different areas. There are also several local companies, such as upholsterers, furniture restorers and curtain makers, working in partnership with The Linen Shop. The location of the showroom may have changed, but Fran continues to sell designs

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very close to her original hand-woven patterns. A fashion designer called Nicole Urbanski, who has a shop in Hove, was one of Fran’s very first customers, and designer Jane Cattlin has made clothes from Fran’s designs that are on sale at The Linen Shop. Fran and colleague Trudi Robb have themselves introduced gift ideas such as aprons, sew-yourself fabric kits, the ‘best tea towel you’ll ever have’ and buttons which scooped a Homes and Gardens Magazine award. There’s even been the occasional link to the

big screen - Fran supplied five pairs of curtains for use in the 2009 film Bright Star, an acclaimed period drama about the life of the poet, Keats. Ideas, initiatives and opportunities come and go, but there has been one consistency; Fran’s fascination for the timeless, subtle qualities of linen. “The fabric is very reasonably priced for its quality,” she said. “Our range has very subtle colouring which can be used for both interiors or clothing. “Linen never goes out of fashion as it is very adaptable - for instance we sell a range of

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The Linen Shop

material can be used for anything from curtains to matchbox covers, and with a little accessorising some very nice cushions can be made too!

‘Fran supplied five pairs of curtains to use in the 2009 film Bright Star, an acclaimed period drama about the life of the poet, Keats’ Crinkle Jackets that celebrate the fact that some linens are prone to creasing. “Trudi comes up with some new ideas like pocket mice and kits, but the most recent new thing for us is our rugs which are knotted by hand in Nepal. The Swedish stripe is one of our most popular designs and this is the design we have put into the rug. “I knew a weaver who had her fabric turned into a rug and I had always wanted to do that, so she put me in touch with someone with experience in that field. He looked at the website and converted a couple of my paintings into linen rugs, and then the idea developed. “I suppose the big challenge for companies now is the Internet. “Recently a customer bought fabric from us, and admitted she had first gone home to see if she could buy it any cheaper on the internet. “But because this is all our own designs you can only buy this fabric from here. You can buy it online from us, but it’s the same price as it is in the shop. “There are a lot of people out there doing interesting things with the fabric. We cannot predict who the end user will be they might be craft workers, they might be interior designers, they might be fashion designers. “We have appeal across the board and for us that keeps it interesting.” For more details visit www.thelinenshop.biz

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66

The ‘things you probably didn’t know about Horsham that are really quite interesting’ page...

Be Here Now, the fastest selling album of all time, was

made in Rusper It’s fair to say that the third Oasis album, Be Here Now, hasn’t aged well. In the 2003 John Dower documentary Live Forever: The Rise and Fall of Brit Pop, music critic Jon Savage pinpointed the album as the moment where Britpop died. But it was nonetheless a huge success, selling 696,000 copies in it’s first week in the UK alone and reaching Number Two on the Billboard 100 in America. To this day, it is the fastest selling album of all time. A great deal of it was recorded in Rusper. Singer Liam Gallagher was under heavy tabloid focus at the time, having been arrested and cautioned for cocaine possession after the Q Awards. A media frenzy ensued, and the band's management made the decision to move to a studio less readily accessible to paparazzi. Ridge Farm Studio, located in the rural outskirts of Rusper, was perfect. Here the band recorded guitars and vocals as much

of the tracking had already been recorded at Abbey Road. Further recording sessions were held at Air Studios and Master Rock. Ann Needham, who works at Ridge Farm Studio, remembers the visit of Oasis well. “There had been a bad period for studios because of dance music and record companies had started to dictate the prices. But it had started to pick up again. “We had a booking enquiry from a band called Menswear but we had been avoiding confirming the job as they had these crazy demands which didn’t suit us at all. “It came to the Friday before their start date, and the phone rang. It was the Oasis manager and he said ‘I don’t suppose you’re available for four weeks from Monday are you?’ and I said ‘yes, we are’. “They moved in three days later. They had been in Abbey Road Studios initially to record Be Here Now, because obviously that’s where the Beatles had recorded. But

for various reasons, it just didn’t work out. So they came out to the countryside. “But they brought new problems we hadn’t seen before. Liam was very high profile at that time, and he arrived three days late as he was trying to shake off the press. They started out with minders on the front gate but that soon petered out. “We did though have a tabloid journalist snooping around here pretending to be someone else. “For lots of people, it’s still how we are best known. People say ‘isn’t that where Oasis recorded?’ But at the time, it felt like something we had to just get through!” It was very exciting for the young rock music fans of Horsham too, and there were numerous reports of Liam swaggering around town, popping into The Crown in the Carfax for a pint, and according to the AAH editor’s best friend, shopping in Footlocker in West Street.


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Throughout the area no one has got

more lettings coverage Henry Adams is continuing to show our commitment to the ever expanding lettings market with the opening of our fabulous ‘New Standalone Lettings Office’ in the heart of Horsham’s busy Carfax. Combined with five other local Henry Adams offices specialising in Lettings, we are able to offer our existing and future tenants and landlords unrivalled coverage in the local area. Our fees are competitive and we let a range of properties from studio apartments to large town and country houses, from town centre locations to rural areas and villages. For more information or general lettings advice please call

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AAH (All About Horsham) March 2013  

All About Horsham magazine March 2013 featuring Ridge Farm Studios

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