MARKET FORCES One industrialist who had already made a profound impact in Haywards Heath before Turner’s arrival was John Saxby. Born in Brighton in 1821, Saxby later came to set up his own manufacturing business in Haywards Heath. Beginning his career as a carpenter and joiner’s apprentice at thirteen years old, he was later employed at the Brighton railway works. When the railway opened officially in 1841, Saxby settled into working in railway signalling. In the early years of his career, two accidents took place due to signalling failures. Saxby soon became interested in railway safety and bent himself to the problem of accident prevention.
PICTURE COURTESY OF CUCKFIELD MUSEUM
the traditional Sussex farmhouse was hugely popular. Take a stroll around Haywards Heath today and you’ll see plenty of houses with his signature curly gutter brackets. His most notable project, though, was designing Franklands Village in the mid-1930s. Created to supply young couples with inexpensive housing, it was a world away from the detached, spacious properties he designed for Haywards Heath’s wealthier commuters and self-made industrialists.
Turner’s Arts and Craft twist on the traditional Sussex farmhouse was hugely popular His first move was to invent an interlocking system of points and signals, which he won the patent for in 1856. Saxby left the Brighton Railway Works to start his own business
in Haywards Heath in 1861 to manufacture his patented signalling apparatus. He was joined the following year by his business partner, John Stinson Farmer, creating the Saxby and Farmer firm. They soon became the leading manufacturers in England and expanded their works into Kilburn, eventually employing 3,000 workers. In 1868, the company constructed the world’s first traffic signal for road traffic in London’s George Street. While Saxby was busy making his fortune in transport, another local entrepreneur saw a very different trading opportunity. Thomas Bannister was a farmer and auctioneer who capitalised on the arrival of the railway with a thriving cattle market at the foot of Boltro Road. Originally established in 1868, the market quickly became one of the largest in the UK. According to Phillipa Malins of Cuckfield Museum’s Curatorial Team, it handled “about 100,000 animals a year, and brought in huge amounts of money and custom to the town as the banks and businesses in Boltro Road testify. ‘The lowing of cattle’ was a familiar sound to anyone working in that part of Haywards Heath right up until the closure of the
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September 2019 | SUSSEX LIVING 53