Balcombe History Society

2024 Programme

All meetings are held at the Victory Hall,
Stockcroft Road, Balcombe, RH17 6HP, starting at 7pm.

Wednesday, 20th March – Ian Gledhill

Originally designed for the Great Exhibition of 1851, the Crystal Palace was Joseph Paxton’s masterpiece.  It dominated the London skyline for over 80 years until destroyed by fire in 1936.  This is its story.

Wednesday, 17th AprilDr Kathryn Ferry

The history of the British seaside in a hundred objects.’  Dr Ferry is a historian specialising in Architecture, Design and Seaside Culture. She lectures to a wide audience ranging from national museums to local history groups.’’

Click here to find out more about Dr Kathryn Ferry

Notethe April talk will be preceded by the AGM

Wednesday, 15th May  – Louise McCall

An up-to-date illustrated recording of Louise’s story as a refugee from Poland ahead of the Russian occupation.  Louise will be present to answer questions.

Saturday, 18th May – ‘Exhibition’

Putting Balcombe on the Map

Wednesday, 18th September – Sir Charles Burrell

Our speaker will tell us of the expansion plans of the Knepp Castle rewilding scheme, established by himself and his wife, Isabella Tree.

Wednesday, 23rd October – Max Preston-Bell

Well known to the village as the Balcombe Fete MC, Max will give us the story of the Twinning, with some amusing anecdotes.

Wednesday, 20th November – Valerie Woodgate

Formerly a lecturer and guide for over 25 years at Tate Britain and Tate Modern, our speaker will deal with the 20th Century, relating art to specific events.

Membership 2024

Membership is open to all.

The annual subscription is now £10 per person for the talks, to include the current entrance fee. For regular attenders, this represents an actual overall reduction, and it will dispense with the need to produce £1 at the door. The visitors fee will be £5, payable at the door.

Annual fees will be collected on the 20th of March. New members can join and pay their subscriptions by attending any of our events.

About Us

An inaugural meeting took place on Tuesday 14th October 2008 and was attended by 80 residents. Votes were cast for Chair, Vice Chairs, Secretary, Treasurer and other officials. Several short talks outlined future activities and were enthusiastically received. A collection of maps and other historical documents were perused during the tea break. During the meeting, several residents shared some of their interesting personal research into the village. At the conclusion of the meeting, it was announced that there were already more than 60 members signed up.


The objectives of the Society shall be:

  • to stimulate interest in the history of Balcombe and the surrounding area
  • to encourage the identification and preservation of buildings, artefacts, written material, photographs and pictures that are of local historical interest
  • to conduct research projects, arrange meetings, talks and other activities that contribute to the knowledge and understanding of the area’s past


Vice PresidentJoan Dutton
ChairmanSheila Illsley811 313
Vice ChairmanRoy Bliss811 571
SecretaryJulie Budgen
55 Spicers Farm Cotts, Rowhill Lane
Balcombe, West Sussex. RH17 6JN
811 641
TreasurerRobert Smith  811 478
Membership SecretaryJasmine Waters                       
15 Kilnbarn Way, Haywards Heath
West Sussex. RH16 4SD
443 881
Archive Group LeaderTony Perkins458 879
Programme Secretarytba
Railway ResearcherColin Burnham01273 833 269
Committee MemberKate Priest811 388
Julie Williams