Haywards Heath, East Sussex

In 1876 PM was the first to arrive in the area, during the ministry of William Dinnick in Brighton. It mainly attracted the working class, but also key figures such as Charles Clarke, a local businessman who founded the Mid Sussex Times. A chapel and schoolroom were built in Sussex Road, with a Sunday School added in 1882. Attempts to expand into the neighbouring villages had only limited success and led to financial problems. Clarke's leading role was taken up by George Hilton, a furniture retailer. In 1910 a rift between the Haywards Heath society and the PM authorities in Brighton led eventually to a separate Haywards Heath circuit.

The 3rd London District (WM) launched its Sussex Mission (Central) in 1898, extending through the rural area between Redhill and Brighton. Its first minister, W.L. Bennett, had been a missionary in the West Indies. A room in Boltro Road was replaced by a saleroom in the Market Place and societies were established in Cuckfield and Burgess Hill. The Perrymount Road church was built in 1900, with a 'temporary' school hall (not replaced until 1959!) added in 1912.

Following Methodist Union in 1932, Perrymount Road had 74 members and Sussex Road 50. The 1950s and 60s saw a rapid expansion of the town. Despiute declining numbers the Sussex Road premises were extended and refurbished in 1955; but after further decline the society united with Perrymount Road in 1991 to form the Haywards Heath Methodist Church. The Sussex Road chapel became Baptist.

  • Wyn K. Ford, The Church in Sussex Road (1994)
  • Haywards Heath Methodist Church, Perrymount Road: its history and its people (2000)

See also

Category: Place
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