Should our town give more recognition to its cultural icons?

By Nik Butler

I would hope that in past articles I have made it clear regarding my distaste for the Shelley Fountain. Whilst I have used words, both medically and anatomically correct, to describe how I view it; they have remained unprinted.

It is in my opinion a gargantuan folly and an excoriatingly poorly placed item of art that continues to demonstrate that there truly is something for everyone.

So when the conversations regarding the recent loss or Ray Cusick, creator of the much feared and greatly appreciated BBC Icon ‘The Dalek’, came to pass then such conversations naturally lead towards monuments and recognition.

I for one would welcome our new Dalek monument overlord should it be unveiled. We would not be the first town to recognise the role of Science Fiction literature in their histories.

Woking town centre have a magnificent three legged martian striding across one of their streets in a nod of recognition towards that H.G.Wells classic ‘War of the Worlds’.

With all the conversation surrounding parking charges and retail resilience we too easily forget that Horsham is more than the sum of its Malls.

There are many more reasons to come to Horsham than to fill your arms with shopping bags.

We have a wealth of art and connections to artists from stage to sculpture; we have open gardens and open studios and the occasional event at the Capitol or the Human Nature Garden though we appear to lack the drive or the support to enhance the value of those opportunities to a wider audience.

Micheal Cain began his acting career here in Horsham; Diana Dors drove her big American car around the streets and more recently Tank Girl artist and the man responsible for the Gorillaz iconic style Jamie Hewlett was a pupil at Tandbridge House School; before it became a series of flats.

There is a remarkable and undiscussed history in Horsham which goes beyond the evacuated fluids of artistic interpretation.

It is either too readily dismissed or guarded too closely and in neither scenario have we capitalised upon the opportunity to shine a light on what Horsham hides.

I don’t expect Horsham to knock over the cabbage and replace it with a scary pepper pot but I would like to see more demonstrations that we can go beyond the car parks and cafes to view Horsham in terms of its own residents and the difference they made.

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