Midhurst Before 1918

I live in Midhurst in West Sussex and have been researching what Midhurst and the surrounding area was like in the era 1900 to 1918.

My Grandmother lived in Easebourne until 1911 so she would have been familar with the scenes depicted below.

I have been gathering pictures from old postcards to create this web page. If you have any old pictures of Midhurst and the surrounding area from a century ago then I would be very pleased to add them to this web page. All of the pictures featured date to before The Great War, unless otherwise stated as I have one or two that seem to be from the 1914-1918 period. Most of the dating for the postcards comes from the postmark. So whilst the postcard may have been posted in say 1904, the image itself must have been taken prior to this. In some cases I have found multiple postcards of the same image and have taken the earliest postmark as the earliest date it existed, but it could be earlier - I will keep looking!

In 1911 Midhurst had a population of just 1,894 people.

Let us imagine that it is sometime between 1900 and 1914 and you are arriving in Midhurst from the south.

Below we are at the south of Midhurst on South Street looking north, with the pond on our left. this postcard was posted in 1908 so the image predates it. The road is gravel and dirt and you can see the cart tracks.

Midhurst 1908

The painting below was made in around 1900.

midhurst south pond painting

Below is a slightly different view of a similar scene.

The road is made from rolled gravel and huge clouds of dust would be kicked up by passing cars, it did not endear them to the walkers and horse riders.

midhurst pre WW1

If we carry on up South Street we come to The Spread Eagle Hotel on our left. In 1907 The Spread Eagle added a Garage to its business to attract passing motorists.

Spread Eagle Hotel 1908

spread eagle hotel

As we pass The Spread Eagle we come to the Market Square and the Church.

midhurst church and sqaure c 1910

market square c 1905

We can then head West, down West Street (below)

Somewhere on West Street was Rice Bros., which specialised in Saddles, leather goods and fishing tackle.
I have a great interest in very old motorcycles, especially those made in the Veteran (pre 1915) era.
In 1904 Rice Bros owned a Werner motorcycle that was registered on 1st January 1904 (the day registrations started), its registration was BP112 and it would have joined the surprising large number of very early vehicles that were owned by Midhurst residents.

Midhurst west street 1908

One of the shops in West Street was Holdens the Cycle Agent.


Also on West Street was Maides, who also sold cycles and also as a stationer sold many local postcards.

midhurst west street maides store

Below are two period pictures of Wool Lane which is on the right/north side of West Street.

Midhurst Wool Lane


Below we still on West Street and are looking back down West Street

midurst west street 1908

The picture below had a postmark of 1915. The little car in the picture may be the photographers as I have seen it or very similar in several photographs.

midhurst west street c1915

When you reached the end of West Street you would have come to the junction with Station Road - now called Bepton Road (on your left) the Petersfield Road (straight ahead) and North Street (on your right).

The picture below is taken c1911 on Station Road looking towards this junction with West Street.

West Street is on the right after the white washed building and before the building with the dome.

The building on the left with the pillars was sadly destroyed by a WW2 German bomb.

midhurst 1912

At the end of West Street we then join the main road through Midhurst and turn right and head down into North Street.

midhurst north street 1907

A short walk down North Street and Knockhundred Row is on the right. It loops up to Church Hill and Red Lion Street

The painting below dates from around 1904 and shows the view from North Street looking up Knockhundred Row.

knockhundred row 1904 painting

Below, we are back in North Street looking up towards the middle of Midhurst.

midhurst 1905

midhurst north street 1909

I think the picture below may be from the 1914-18 period as we can see a chap in uniform.

During The First World War around 50 German prisoners of war were kept in Midhurst, in a building close to the clock on the left side of the road.

The locals were not happy about it and a great flurry of letters from outraged locals filled the local papers in early 1918.

midhurst north street

midhurst North Street Lower 1914

As we reach the end of North Street we cross over The River Rother at the North Mill.

Shortly after you will reach Easebourne, below

easebourne 1908

The picture above shows the road that is now the A272 and would lead you Eastward and away from Midhurst and Easebourne past what is now the golf course.

If you were leaving Midhurst and heading west towards Petersfield along the Petersfield Road (now the A272) then you would have used the road below.

You would pass Midhurst Common and what is now the Half Moon Pub.

Below is the Old Blacksmiths shop on Midhurst Common from 1906

And out of the town past the Toll House on the right that still exists.

Petersfield Road Midhurst c1910 Toll House

The road (above and below) led towards Petersfield.

In 1904,  E. V. LUCAS published a book - 'Highways and Byways in Sussex' and in describes this road thus - "There is no better road in England."

That being the case it would be an ideal spot for a run on your motor.

You can read an electronic version of the book here

If you were heading South out of Midhurst on what is now the A286 towards Chichester, then you would come to Cocking village.


Below, if you were heading North out of Midhurst up the road that is today the A286, you would pass (on your left) the entrance to The King Edward Sanitorium.

road to sanitorium 1907

Finally, we have various other early (pre 1918) views of Midhurst.

Below, The Chestnut Avenue 1904

Below, Dunfold Hollow

Dunford Hollow

Below is Church Hill and the building is now the local library.

Midhurst 1905 Church Hill

Below, Lodsworth 1907 taken from School Common

I would like to develop this page into a detailed photographic history of Midhurst and the surrounding area.

To do this I need more pictures. If you have any of the Midhurst area I can easily scan them and add them to this page. You can email me on paulg@go-faster.com

I wondered if any racing took place in the area and both Fernhurst and South Harting ran regular and nationally reported events.

South Harting MotorCycle Hill Climb 1914

South Harting MotorCycle Hill Climb 1914

cycle car racing South Harting 1914 Morgan L W Spencer

You can read my ramblings about my 1914 Triumph on my 1914 Triumph pages.

If you are looking for more old pictures of Midhurst or some good value clothing or embroidery - then visit the local business Lavant Workwear and see http://www.lavantworkwear.co.uk/midhurstpast.htm