Haywards Heath

From Academic Kids

Haywards Heath
OS Grid Reference:Template:Gbmappingsmall
District:Mid Sussex
County:West Sussex
Region:South East England
Ceremonial County:West Sussex
Traditional County:Sussex
Post Office and Telephone
Dialling Code:01444

Template:GBmap Haywards Heath is situated almost 20 miles north of Brighton in West Sussex, England.


Early History

    • "Haywards Heath is a town and civil parish formed out of Cuckfield" - Dec 28, 1894
"…[an]archdeaconry of Lewes, diocese of Chichester

….... it is now controlled by an Urban District Council ...." …".... the church of St Wilfred …[was] consecrated Jun 5, 1865" (From Kelly’s Directory of Sussex, 1905)

From the above extracts it is seen that, as a town, Haywards Heath is a relatively modern creation. Its beginnings were heralded by the London & Brighton Railway, when it built its main line from London. The station opened on 12 July 1841; until 21 September it was the southern terminus of the line, on which date the line to Brighton was completed. Before the railway, Haywards Heath was little more than wasteland with a few well-dispersed farmsteads belonging to the Manor of Hayworth.

The name Hayward comes from Old English meaning hedge enclosure. The heath that was the source of the second part of its name was the scene of many robberies by a highwayman who went under the name of Jack Hayward.

Some settlement had already taken place long before then: nearby are two 15th century houses, Great Hayward and Little Hayward. In the early 1850s, the population of the village was less than 200; this had risen to 2452 in 1891. The History of Haywards Heath gives details of the growth of the settlement; the following is an outline:

  • 1841 - the railway reached the village, giving impetus to more growth.
  • 1859 - the opening of the Sussex County Lunatic Asylum (later St Francis' Hospital, which closed in the early 1990s)
  • c1860 - brick-making is mentioned as a local industry; cottages for labourers built.
  • 1867 - Bannister's cattle market (12th largest in UK) opened (closed 1989)
  • 1894 - Victorian & Edwardian villas built; many City workers moved to the town, which became known as "A colony of Cockney villas."
  • 1920s - experimental settlement to help families on low incomes to become self-sufficient.
  • 1930s - Franklands village built: affordable rental housing

The railway was electrified in 1933, encouraging increased development.


The 1960s and 1970s saw the development of two light industrial estates, as well as a large number of houses. Later development of offices added to the available employment in the town, and attracted new residents. Today the population is approaching 25,000, making it one of the largest towns in West Sussex. The town was in East Sussex until the moving of the county boundary westward in 1974.

Haywards Heath claims to be "The Heart of Mid-Sussex", and despite the views of the Knowhere guide (see external links) is by no means short of leisure facilities or things to do. Recently Haywards Heath has developed a cafe culture, with the addition of several bars and restaurants on the Broadway. The local council is planning to pedestrianise this area during the summer months to create a more pleasant shopping environment.

Famous Residents

One of 'Mid-Sussex's best kept secrets' is the "Internet celebrity" and Haywards Heath resident Jon Norris.

External links

and two links with a somewhat biased view?:


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