A new local history series.

No1, Petworth Road

These photos show the premises of H Balchin and Son in the early 1960s compared to the scene today.

James Balchin started the business in the late 19th century and was a joiner.  After the business went bankrupt in the 1920s, it was acquired by James’s son Harold.  The company employed many craftsmen in the village and also trained apprentices.  It built many houses in the village.

The company operated from a large barn.  This was fronted by a long wooden building facing the road which contained showrooms at the front and offices behind.  At the rear of the building was a workshop containing woodworking machines.  The company’s workshops moved to new premises in Balchin’s Close in 1963.  The showroom and office continued for a short while and were vacated by 1965 and demolished soon after.  The company ceased trading in 1984.

The company was also an undertaker’s up to the start of World War Two.  After a death, the body would be measured and a coffin made.  Local people recall being kept awake at night by carpenters hammering and sawing.  The body would be kept at home until Balchin’s delivered the coffin.  Balchin’s were funeral directors but later they used Freeman Brothers at Horsham.

There were also once a photographer’s business, a cycle repair business, a radio and gramophone shop, and an electrical engineer for televisions run by Mr. Abbott who traded as Abbott’s Electrical.

The Village History Society has an extensive archive of photographs, documents and artefacts about the village and some of the characters who lived here.  It meets on the second Tuesday of every month in the Committee Room of the Village Hall.


Wisborough Green Village History Society