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Wisborough Green History - H Balchin Ltd. (concluded) The company was also an undertakers up to the beginning of the Second World War operating from the same premises as their building business. After a death, a Balchins employee visited the deceased's home to measure the body for a coffin. These were handmade and, after a death, local people recall being kept awake at night by the carpenters' hammering and sawing as they made the coffin overnight immediately after a death. There was no chapel of rest in those days and thus it was important that that burial should take place as soon as possible, particularly in the warmer months. The deceased remained at home until Balchins delivered the new coffin and put the body into it for the funeral service and burial. Balchins were funeral directors but later they usually used Freeman Brothers of Horsham for this function. Balchins gave up the undertaking business at the start of the war, but retained an interest becoming an agent for Freeman Brothers. Continuing the history of Balchin's Builders, the wooden shack attached to the showroom, and referred to last month, was built during the period of James Balchin's trading, i.e. before c1920. This building was known to have been occupied c1912 by Balchin and Turner, a photographers business and almost certainly c1895 although I don't have explicit evidence. The co-owner of the business was almost certainly Frank Balchin, elder brother of Harold. Frank also ran a bicycle repair business and he also built new bicycles from components and spare parts. His workshop was in the barn and he also used the wooden shack as a shop. He was called up in 1914 to the Royal Engineers and survived the war, but died in 1918 from Spanish Flu. There was a radio and gramophone shop around that time. This was probably run by Cecil as he was a radio engineer before he moved to Sevenoaks. Horace James used to work in Balchin’s office and set-up a business in the shack called The Handy Shop that sold tobacco, confectionery, newspapers, ice creams, wools, etc. He passed the business to his son Maurice in 1938 who in turn passed it to his brother Geoffrey in 1940 when he was called up. Maurice had worked for Balchin’s as an electrical engineer on televisions, etc. with Mr Abbott. Balchins sold that part of the business to Abbott who traded from the shack as Abbotts Electrical before moving to old bakery (now Old Mill Cafe and Zest), in 1963. Much of this information was kindly provided by Jim Balchin (Harold's son) to whom I am most grateful. He worked for his father in the yard and was a skilled carpenter. Although the business closed in 1984, Jim continued on his own for a while. Finally, some corrections to last month's article. Harold wasn't the oldest of the seven children; Ami was the oldest followed by Frank. When Balchin's ceased trading in 1984, a developer acquired the workshops and subsequently let it to WSAT. Harold was called up to the Merchant Navy in 1917. RB RIGHT (top) - Balchin's new workshop in 1979 RIGHT (bottom) - Pond and Mill c1895 28

Ad Vincula Magazine May 2014  

Wisborough Green's Parish Magazine, Ad Vincula published by St Peter Ad Vincula PCC

Ad Vincula Magazine May 2014  

Wisborough Green's Parish Magazine, Ad Vincula published by St Peter Ad Vincula PCC

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