Although the new display in the old temporary space will devote itself to the history of the Queen Victoria Hospital, Sir Archibald McIndoe and the Guinea Club, the remaining gallery will still tell the story of the history of our town, which goes back over a thousand years.
From its inception in the early Twelfth Century when it was laid out by a descendant of one of the French nobles who came over, in 1066 with William, Duke of Normandy to the, present day.
Prosperity in the town was built on livestock, and thus leather trades and timber from Ashdown Forest. Three of the areas were essential in the lives of the Mediaeval and Tudor people. Later the town’s prosperity can be traced to thriving coaching business, as we are strategically placed halfway between the capital and the coast. Decline set in when the railway between London and the south coast was routed through Three Bridges.
This was countered by local business men and landowners getting a branch line to Three bridges where the London train could be picked up. East Grinstead became prosperous again, thanks to its own initiative.
The country-wide period of depression between the two World Wars was partly mitigated in the town by two major building projects. These were the new hospital on the Holtye Road and the Radio Centre and its surrounding estate. In both cases it was stipulated that local labour had to be used, thus giving valuable employment to the residents of the town.
After the war saw another period of building to replace the housing stock destroyed in the war. The large Victorian estates were broken- up and Imberhorne and Halsford Park estates were built. The population expanded rapidly and continues to do so today.