A Visitor’s Impression (1)
Since last I had the pleasure of a visit to your village, several Yuletides have passed.
In those days I chose Ringmer as a place for rest owing to its absolute freedom from the hurly-burly of business activities. How different today, with business asserting itself everywhere.
While waiting tea, my eye fell on what proved to be the Ringmer Record, a very youthful publication as full of promise as the first crocus. A member of the staff soon exacted a promise to contribute.
I had arrived by bus from Brighton, part of a service connecting everyone’s front door with the next County.
The area from Shortgate is dotted with pioneer bungalows.
Recollecting a timber yard, I again pictured the very methodical rites of timber conversion, but the sawmills are gone, and a builder’s yard full of wise saws and modern instances, where I. spent an admiring half hour watching the machinery. It was perhaps fitting that a new state like the Irish Free State should come to the growing Ringmer. Building Works, for I saw work destined for Ireland.
Too busy to build houses for their own workmen!! I suggest the loan of tents.
Further on I found a site pegged for the builder, next to the constabulary domicile, and in the distance behind I saw a three acre field, now the property of the Ringmer School, which again is in new hands.
If the children here attended a town school, whose playground was in the street, (and there are many yet, where I come from) they would indeed be truly grateful to the donor, Captain Christie.
I was sorry to learn that the old Reading Room had passed out of the hands of the Village, for there we once found rest, recreation, and a chance to study a bit, but I guess it won’t do to express any opinion about it now, but I trust there is still somewhere in this village where young ambition may find a chance.
Then my friend the miller, Mr. Holter, has transformed his business and the old mill on the hill looks down sadly, and sometimes a little stern, on his supplanter.
To the right along Goat Lane, a new bungalow, with attractively laid out gardens, kept me in touch with the modern idea, which is showing everywhere
At Goat Farm I found a 60-cow stall, looking as beautiful as a public bath. On the road to Lewes I perceived more evidence of the builders’ activities in a promising new Residence.
I confess that a church is the last place where the ordinary man would expect to find innovations, and my acquaintance with the new organ left me speechless. In the town private individuals spend thousands just to hear “the band” and here in the country your lucky village has a band all to itself. You would be rich if your village had no other attraction.
On the way I passed the Village Sign, again in the forefront. A new telephone exchange at the Post Office.
May I offer my congratulations to Mesrs Geering and Hooper for their improvements. Alas, it used to be my ambition to drive a ball from the Green into those windows, but I dare not now, even were fortune to favour me with a chance.
At the foot of the Green I saw signs of vigour in the many businesses there.Then I thought of the football team, but though it was Saturday there was no match. This I could not understand for it was unlike the old Ringmer to have even one Saturday without a match.
(1) This article is taken from an unnumbered Issue of Vol. 1 of the
Ringmer Record published in the early spring of 1924. The
Ringmer Record was a monthly magazine first published in the
autumn of 1923 and edited by Mr. B. Gurr, the headmaster of
Ringmer Council School. We have not established how long its
publication continued1 but the few issues we have seen all date from 1923 or 1924. For further information about this magazine see Ringmer History Newsletters 13,3 and 15,3. The issue from which this article is taken was lent to us by Mrs. Mary Kenward through the good offices of Anna Beckwith. We have not identified the author. The transformation he describes is due in the main to the initiatives and activities of John Christie in the years after World War I, described in more detail in Wilfred Blunt’s 'John Christie of Glyndebourne' published by Geoffrey Bles in 1968.