The Slaugham Archives

Handcross Hill
The Slaugham Archive
Handcross Hill

A view looking down Handcross Hill, with the milepost on the left indicating 16½ miles to Brighton.
Descending the hill is a horse and wagon, with a horse tethered behind.
A car coming up the hill is just about to overtake a parked car, almost certainly belonging to the photographer.
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Picture added on 30 January 2012 at 09:33
This picture is in the following groups
Roads - Handcross - Brighton Road
According to the inscription on the far side of the milepost on the left it is 34 miles to London.
Click on Large Version to view a map of 1899 showing the milepost just right of centre at the bottom. The small black dot next to “M.P.” marks the location, almost exactly 3/8 of a mile south of the present-day bridge.
The blue line marks the parish boundary at that time; Slaugham to the west, and Cuckfield Rural to the east.
The red lines and blobs are a mystery to me. I think they were added to the map in about 1910. They extend to just north of Pease Pottage and continue to some way south of Warninglid. I can only suppose they are telegraph wires. And not the location for fibre optic roadside cabinets!

Added by Barry Ray on 29 April 2018
I have taken a high resolution scan of the milepost, which on the postcard is very close to the white border. To view the scan, select Open Document.
The face of the post is partly obscured by branches from the hedge and makes the "16" look like a "36".
On the map of 1899 there are 6 mileposts shown on the A23 as follows (but two or three times more benchmarks!).
The figures show the miles to London and to Brighton, respectively.
Pease Pottage hill - 1/2 mile north of Black Swan 31 21
Tilgate Forest Row 32 20
50 yards north of Handcross school 33 19
Handcross Hill 34 16 1/2
1/2 mile south of Slaugham/Staplefield X roads 35 15 1/2
Fiveways 36 14 1/2
It had not occurred to me before that the mileposts were spaced out 1 mile apart! I thought they were positioned at random.
I note that the overall distance was 52 miles north of Handcross, and 50 1/2 miles south of Handcross. I think the explanation is that the 52 miles was the distance on the "old" road via Cuckfield, but when the new road from Handcross to Pyecombe was built in 1813 (see picture #1304) it was a shorter distance, but they did not bother to adjust the mileposts north of Handcross.
On the 1899 map, the mileposts show distances at South Lodge, Nymans 34/18, Staplefield Common 35/17 (picture #300), and on Holmsted Hill 36/16. These all show a total distance of 52 miles which would have been correct using the pre-1813 route via Staplefield and Cuckfield.
What the old-time highway surveyors would have made of the total distance being increased by the construction of the Crawley bypass sometime in the middle of the last century does not bear thinking about!

Added by Barry Ray on 06 May 2018
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