Burgess Hill is a town in West Sussex, England, UK. It is not far from the border with East Sussex. It is 38 miles (62 km) south of London, 10 miles (16 km) north of Brighton and Hove, and 29 miles (47 km) east-northeast of the county town of Chichester. It had a population of 28,803 at the time of the 2001 Census. Other nearby towns include Haywards Heath to the north and Lewes, the county town of East Sussex, to the east.
Burgess Hill is mainly situated just on the West Sussex side of the border dividing the two counties. Parts of the town are across the county boundary in East Sussex.
History[change | change source]
Early history[change | change source]
Although a Roman road was built joining London to the South coast and passing through what is now Burgess Hill, there is no evidence that the Romans settled in the area.
From the fourteenth century or earlier the annual Midsummer Fair was held on this common land on 24th June and the last such sheep and lamb fair was held in 1913.
With the development of the London to Brighton mainline railway, however, those in the business soon realised that taking sheep by train was much cheaper and easier than using the old roadways. Most of the animal trading business began to revolve around rail side markets such as those at Hassocks, Haywards Heath and Lewes train stations. By the start of the 20th century, the animal trading business had all but left the Burgess Hill area.
1700 to 1900[change | change source]
By the early seventeenth century there was a lot of small brick and tile making companies and during this time pieces of common land were given for house building and small businesses. By the early eighteenth century brick making had been extended and four shops and one or two drinking houses were established on the common. Brickmaking by hand still happened until very recently, by Keymer Tiles (formerly the Keymer Brick and Tile company) whose tiles can be found in buildings such as St. James Church, Piccadilly and Manchester Central Station (now G-Mex).
The growth of Brighton in the late eighteenth and early nineteenth centuries brought in professional people looking for places to live. Between 1850 and 1880 the area changed from a small rural settlement to a town of 4,500 residents.
In 1897 the Victoria Pleasure Gardens were opened by local household name Edwin Street, a well-known farmer and butcher. The gardens were opened in honour of Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, and contained a large lake, and what can only be described as a small early version of a roller coaster, known as a switchback . The lake was used for boating in the summer, and skating in the winter. The frozen lake was always tested by Mr Street, a man of 23 stone, before being used in the winter. This area is now the Victoria Business Park.
1900 to present day[change | change source]
The town gradually grew bigger, having its largest population increase between the years of 1951 and 1961, when the population of about 7,000 residents almost doubled. This earned Burgess Hill the title of fastest growing town in the south-east. By 1956, the Victoria Industrial Estate was completed, and has since expanded. It now contains the local headquarters of two large international companies. In 1986 a smaller industrial estate to in the north of the town developed, known as Sheddingdean Industrial Estate. Both Sheddingdean and Victoria have now been renamed as business parks.
Housing estates played their part in building up the population of Burgess Hill throughout the second half of the 20th century; in the west of the town they provided a wide mix of new residents; many of them young families and the Folders Lane estate more families settled, along with some richer residents.
The next substantial development was Priory Village in the south west of Burgess Hill, sometimes known as the Tesco estate, due to its proximity to the supermarket. Again, this brought in a mix of incomes, again, many of them young families.
It must be noted that as well as the aforementioned developments, there have been two council estates built in the town - one close to Cants Lane, in the town's north east, and the area around Denham Road in the west, both of course adding to the ever rising population of the town.
Although now part of the town, World's End, to the north of the town, was originally a separate community. It still retains its own shops and community association, and is served by Wivelsfield railway station.
Governance[change | change source]
Burgess Hill has a Conservative member of parliament.
Education[change | change source]
There are ten schools for children aged up to 11 years and four schools for children aged 11–16/18.
Religious sites[change | change source]
There are a total of 9 churches and a Christian centre in Burgess Hill.
Burgess Hill is also home to the Mid Sussex Christian Centre.
Recreation[change | change source]
In the town centre there is a large park (St. John's), and many other smaller recreation grounds around the town. There is a substantial leisure centre on the northern edge of Burgess Hill named the Triangle.
Sport[change | change source]
There is also a Squash Club  that plays at the Triangle Leisure Centre every Saturday and Monday, and has a team that plays in the East Sussex County League.
There is also a Running Club  that meet at the Burgess Hill School for Girls every Wednesday evening. Members compete in local and national charity and fun races.
The Skate Park in the centre of town provides sporting opportunities, and holds an annual competition.
The Triangle (or Olympos Burgess Hill as it has been rechristened) is one of the venues in the South East supporting the London 2012 Olympic Games, and will serve as a base and training centre for teams from around the globe.
Town Twinning[change | change source]
Burgess Hill's twin towns are:
A square in Schmallenberg has been named Burgess Hill Platz.
References[change | change source]
Other websites[change | change source]
- Burgess Hill at Wikivoyage
- Burgess Hill Town Council
- Burgess Hill Uncovered
- West Sussex County Council Education Information
- Britinfo Page on Burgess Hill
- Burgess Hill Museum
- InBurgessHill - News, events, forums, accommodation, ratings, eating and drinking
- Eating Out in Burgess Hill
- OnMyDoorstep - Local Information about Burgess Hill and also images of the local area
- Mid Sussex Brass Band (Traditional brass band based in Burgess Hill)
- Burgess Hill Musical Theatre Society (local musical theatre - formerly Burgess Hill Operatic Society)
- The Burgess Hill and District Rotary Club
- The Friends of the Burgess Hill Green Circle Network