Tag Archives: horley

Walk to Work Week: Horley to Gatwick Airport

17 May

The 14th to 18th May 2012 is Walk to Work Week in the UK and although I would love to walk all the way to work it would probably take me six or seven hours so that is not really practical. This evening I seized the opportunity to make the start of my journey home on foot.

It wasn’t a particularly long walk, possibly 1½ miles at a stretch, but it was different from my usual route (the one I walked on Monday) and I have to confess once I had got beyond the rows of houses it was quite pleasant.

The streets of Horley, Surrey

From Horley town centre the first three-quarters of a mile were along residential streets. Although I had studied the map previously it was an unfamiliar route and I mentally laid myself a trail of breadcrumbs so that I could retrace my steps if needed. It wasn’t particularly inspiring walking, but I have walked along worse streets.

Entrance to Riverside Garden Park

My reason for taking this route was to take a look at Riverside Garden Park. This seems to be one of the few green spaces in Horley, not particularly large, but supposedly a remnant of the old Horley Common. An interesting survivor, sandwiched between the residential streets of Horley and the sprawling Gatwick Airport.

The entrance to Riverside Garden Park is not particularly inspiring, there is a useful noticeboard with a map of the park and a little bit of history. However once over the bridge and into the park things improve dramatically. The park is also part of two longer walks, a Millennium Trail (18 miles) and the East Horley Circular Walk (5.8 miles).

Path through Riverside Garden Park

I took the path heading towards the airport, I am not sure where the other paths go (that is an exploration for another day) but it is a very pleasant walk, following the course of the Gatwick Stream, the river which gives the park its name.

Pond in Riverside Garden Park

There are some nice mature trees and a lovely pond (with geese, ducks and a heron), it seemed to be relatively free from litter but not too neatly manicured. It wasn’t quite possible to forget the presence of the airport and the busy (and elevated) main road running along the south-western edge of the park, but it wasn’t as intrusive as I had imagined it would be.

Underpass to Gatwick Airport

All too quickly I was heading down the narrow underpass (which is a little daunting because it is shared with a cycle path) leading under the A23 and into the concrete and car parks of Gatwick Airport.

In Riverside Garden Park I think I might have inadvertently stumbled on the nicest part of Horley and a much nicer alternative to my usual route between the airport and Horley town centre. It is a little longer, but if time is not an issue then it seems a much better route.

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Walk to Work Week: Gatwick Airport to Horley

14 May

The 14th to 18th May 2012 is Walk to Work Week in the UK and although I would love to walk all the way to work it would probably take me six or seven hours so that is not really practical. However I did my bit this morning by getting off the train one station early and walking the last bit.

I have to admit that this a route I regularly take when the weather is good and time permits. It is not a particularly long walk (only about 1¼ miles) and not particularly exciting or picturesque, but on a bright sunny day like this morning it a great way to start the day.

To me there is something a bit strange about starting a walk in Gatwick Airport, it is a great place to start a journey, but few people will be making that journey on foot like me. Getting out of the airport building can be a bit challenging if you are not sure where you are going.

I have to admit that descending the unmarked stairs at shuttle terminal always makes me feel a little uneasy, it feels a little like I am going behind the scenes, perhaps somewhere I shouldn’t be going. As passengers wait for the shuttle above I emerge out into a world of concrete and car parks as the shuttle rumbles overhead.

Gatwick Stream

Amongst the concrete however there is one rather unexpected glimpse of nature, a stream carefully funnelled through the grounds of the airport, surprisingly clean although that may just be an indication that a large volume of water has passed through here in the last few weeks, washing any accumulation of rubbish further downstream.

To the mix of concrete and car parks you can also add chain link. For about a third of a mile the path is enclosed by two tall chain link fences. To the west the car parks, to the east the railway line. Surprisingly this path is part of the Sussex Border Path, probably its least glamorous section, but for those tracing the Sussex border relief from the concrete and chain link is not far away across the other side of the railway.

Approaching the West Sussex/Surrey border

For those with an interest in boundaries, passing under the bridge carrying the A23 over the railway line takes you from the county of West Sussex and into Surrey. Not surprisingly there are no signs marking this transition, only lines on a map, however hardly a day goes past without me noticing the crossing.

Horley and the Gatwick Express

The end of the chain link fences marks a watershed, those following the border path head east over the railway footbridge. Those like me heading for Horley turn east and then north and chain link is replaced by wooden garden fences and residential streets. In the far distance, on a clear day, one gets a glimpse of the North Downs in the gaps between the houses, but really the only interest now is the contents of people’s recycling baskets along the side of the pavement.

Above the pavements however there is something else which catches my eye, an unlikely point of interest among these residential streets. A simple but for some reason unexpectedly pleasing wooden finial upon the top of a telegraph pole. This example was not unique, I counted three today, but they must count as a rarity these days.

Telegraph pole

Copyright © 2012 John Gasson.
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Personal Research Update: Tuesday 13th September 2011

13 Sep

Where am I now with my research?

Most of my very limited time has been devoted to Henry and Catherine GASSON and in particular their children. I have been trying to find out what happened to all their children, mainly using census returns and various parish register transcriptions.

There have been a few challenges but on the whole this has been pretty straight forward stuff, however I am reaching the stage where I really need to supplement the transcriptions I already have with a trip to the West Sussex Record Office. I can’t remember the last time I paid a visit to an archive, so it is long overdue.

I still have several more of the children to work on so I will probably try to complete the work on them and make sure I have a nice bundle of look-ups to do when I do finally get to the record office.

I don’t want to get dragged too far down these family lines, researching people who are not my direct ancestors, and need to remember that my original plan was to find out more about the migration of Henry and Catherine from Horley, Surrey to Nuthurst, Sussex and identify similar migrations by other GASSONs.

The “other GASSONs” part got unintentionally sidelined, but it is something I still want to pursue so I really need to start doing something about it. The trouble is I am not really sure how it is going to work, but I will probably start by looking at the 1841 census and parish register entries for Nuthurst and see if I can pick out any other GASSONs and see what develops from there.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Boundary significance

3 Aug

I should have been doing some family history last night, but I got side-tracked into fiddling about with the “new” Ordnance Survey getamap website. It is not really that new and is an updated version of the old website where you can view portions of Ordnance Survey mapping.

I have been struggling to get the website to print any more than a few pixels of any map, but I think I have a work-around for that now. I was then trying to work out whether it was worth subscribing to the website (£30 per year at the moment) to get extra features, but I was then distracted into looking at the county boundary that I cross every day to and from work.

I was playing with the route creating facility, it is really quite good as not only will it show you the distance but also the elevation and tell you how long it ought to take to walk (and run or cycle) the distance, practising using the route that I sometimes walk between Horley to Gatwick Airport.

With Henry GASSON in the back of my mind I started to study the route of the Sussex/Surrey border. I am pretty certain that the border has been moved since Henry’s time, and I am positive that Henry wouldn’t have recognised the land surrounding the boundary. I am not convinced that he would have realised that there was a boundary there in the first place, let alone placed any significance on the fact that he was moving his family from one side to the other.

For my own part though the boundary seemingly holds a significance which I can’t really explain. Measuring the distance from my place of work to the boundary I worked out I could make my way back over into my native Sussex in just under 15 minutes. The closest point is just under two-thirds of a mile away, admittedly it is not a particularly appealing part of Sussex, being on the outskirts of Gatwick Airport, but it is Sussex nevertheless.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Henry GASSON – some migration questions

28 Jul

I mentioned the other day that I have a particular fondness for my 4x great-grandfather Henry GASSON because he was the one that brought my particular GASSON line over the border from Surrey into Sussex.

It happened some time around 1830 and as migrations go it wasn’t particularly spectacular, being only about 15 miles or so in distance but even so it was quite a big jump, not just to the neighbouring parish. It wasn’t as if it was only Henry and his family that made the move, there seem to have been several other GASSON families that migrated southwards over the border about the same time, and in the big scheme of things it is just part of the gradual movement of my GASSON line westwards from Kent into Surrey and then southwards into Sussex.

Whilst I am waiting for the two death certificates I ordered to turn up I will take a closer look at this particular migration and try to answer a few questions:

  1. Exactly when did Henry and family move to Sussex?
  2. Was their move straight from Horley, Surrey to Nuthurst, Sussex or was there somewhere in between?
  3. How many other GASSON families moved from Surrey to Sussex around that time?
  4. And what were their relationships to Henry GASSON?
  5. Did any other families that moved from Horley to Nuthurst around that time?
  6. Were there any related GASSON families already living in the Nuthurst area?
  7. Can I identify any particular reason for this relocation?

My main resources for this will be parish registers and census returns, but there may also be some rate books that will help me narrow down some details. The good news is that I work in Horley and travel back home through Horsham, so can make use of the libraries in both of tho se places, although I will probably still need to visit the West Sussex Record Office and the Surrey History Centre to dig a little deeper.

Of course it goes without saying that if the distance is only 15 miles or so then it would make for a good days walk. I may not be able to follow exactly in their footsteps with any certainty, but by using some old maps I could probably find a route that would have been available to them at the time.

Copyright © 2011 John Gasson.
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Personal Genealogy Update: Week 34

22 Aug

I don’t know quite what happened last week, I didn’t really achieve a great deal, in fact I am struggling to remember what I did achieve this week. I guess I have been a bit lazy this week, I have had opportunities to do family history but have been distracted by other things.

I did get started on capturing details from the National Probate Calendar, but I didn’t get far. One entry I did look at was the entry for Thomas DRIVER (my 3x great-grandfather) and this illustrated one of the problems of these entries. The names of the two executors, his daughter and son-in-law, lead to tracing them and their children. It is a good problem to have, but it makes it all very time consuming.

One positive thing that I did do last week was join Surrey libraries. My week means that I have the opportunity to visit Horley library during my lunch break and after work, in fact it will probably be easier to visit Horley library than my local library at Horsham. The main benefit of library membership is access to their online library including the Times Digital Archive and Nineteenth Century Newspapers websites.

I need to try and get focused again this week, I suppose I have been spending more time writing about family history than actually doing any research. I guess it boils down once again to being more organised.

I need to order the copies of wills that I said I was going to last week, and I need to process the two BATEMAN certificates that I didn’t get around to working on last week. Apart from that I will probably just work on capturing more probate entries.

Picture Postcard Parade: Horley Church

24 Jul

I bought this postcard today in the lovely town of Rye, East Sussex. It is of St Bartholomew’s Church in Horley, Surrey. The card was posted on the 26th June 1905, the name in the bottom right-hand corner is W. Wilkins, who was probably Walter Wilkins, who is recorded in the Kelly’s 1911 Directory of Surrey as a stationer in Station Road, Horley.

Horley Church

My 4x great-grandparents Henry and Catherine GASSON had nine of their children baptised here between 1814 and 1830. One of those children, James was also buried here in May 1830. After this the family moved to Nuthurst, Sussex where another five children, including my 3x great-grandfather, were baptised.

There is another reason for showing you this card. Horley is the town in which I now spend my working day. You can expect to hear lots more about Horley in the future, as I make the most of my lunch breaks (and my season ticket for the train).

I have previously written about their wonderful library, so I can explore their holdings further (not just Horley but surrounding parishes) and also visit the church and get some photographs. Eventually I hope to be able to find out where my 4x great-grandparents lived and pay that a visit too, if it has survived. I am sure there must also be other GASSONs that remained in Horley after my direct ancestors moved on.

All in all lots of things I can be doing to take advantage of the fact that I am am going to be working in a place with an ancestral connection. The truth is that there are very few places where I would have been able to work that didn’t have a family connection of some sort.

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