Horsham Museum & Art Gallery is closed. Despite the Government’s announcement of revised social-distancing guidelines, we will remain closed whilst plans are put in place to allow us to re-open the museum safely and with an improved customer experience.

Major collections

Use this page to explore our biggest collections.

To book an appointment to research items in the collections, please email us at museum@horsham.gov.uk. We will do our best to respond to your enquiry as soon as we can but it may take several weeks during busy periods.

Archives

The extensive archive collections include:

  • Maps
  • Sales Particulars
  • Manuscripts

The majority of items are connected to Horsham and the surrounding areas. Our Archives are an especially useful resource for local history projects.

A map of Sussex

Costume

The museum's rich costume collection includes items dating from the 16th century through to the 21st century. Our costumes from the late Victorian period through to the 1970s are particularly strong and well researched.

Most of the costumes have been donated to the collection rather than purchased, which means the collection predominantly reflects everyday wear rather than high fashion clothing.

We regularly display items from the costume collection in temporary exhibitions and in our dedicated Costume Gallery.

Drawers of shoes in the Archive

Photography

Our photography collection is incredibly broad, covering images taken by local photographers such as Henry Padwick and Thomas Honywood in the second half of the 19th century, through to 1980s colour photographs charting the changes taking place across the town. Some of our key collection areas are outlined below:

  • The Henderson Albums: these contain 320 photographs of Asia and America, including examples by some of the greatest late Victorian photographers such as Beato and Bourne.
  • The Cecil Cramp Collection: this set of nearly 4000 images was donated to the museum by the Cramp family. It includes views of the town and of some of the local villages.
  • The Branch Carter collection: Acquired by the Friends of Horsham Museum & Art Gallery at auction, this contains many unusual views of the town from the 1970s through to the 1990s.
  • The town's rapid changes in the 1980s and 1990s captured by Horsham District Council Civil Engineering and Planning Department.
A black and white photo of Horsham when the Odeon cinema was in the Carfax

Art

The museum has been collecting art since 1990. Our collection includes:

  • The best collection of Dr Geoffrey Sparrow watercolours and etchings in the country
  • A growing collection of Raoul Millais works
  • An impressive watercolour collection, which has rapidly expanded with the kind assistance of the Friends of Horsham Museum & Art Gallery.
  • Work by contemporary local artists such as Sarah Duffield, Alison Ingram and Gordon Rushmer.

Pictured: Cornfield near Horsham by Vincent Lines

An excerpt of the Vincent Lines work Cornfield near Horsham

William Albery Poster Collection

William Albery was an important local tradesman, as well as an historian and avid collector. On his death in 1950 he donated his collections of artefacts and documents, including the large selection of posters, to the town of Horsham.

The William Albery Poster Collection contains over 1400 posters from Horsham District covering 270 years of the area's history.

The posters offer evidence of everyday life - house prices and events, for example - underhanded political campaigns, life on the home front in World War One, and even the theft of a fat sheep.

Thanks to the National Lottery Heritage Fund, and the Friends of Horsham Museum & Art Gallery’s 2011 Albery Poster Project, these posters are now searchable online.

Click the button below to view the posters on a dedicated Horsham Posters website.

Horsham Recreation Silver Band