By Martin Read
Photo courtesy of Horsham Museum
This year marks an outstanding achievement for an iconic Horsham shop – the much-loved Candy Box adjacent to the bandstand in the historic Carfax has reached its centenary, a remarkable milestone. Independent family businesses are an endangered species, so it is especially heart-warming to be able to salute 100 years of exceptional unbroken service to the community provided by the Candy Box. The bijou shop is welcoming and reassuring, transporting customers back to the slightly nostalgic world of the all but disappeared corner shop, containing ice creams, sweets, newspapers, magazines, soft drinks, and, rich smelling loose pipe tobacco in jars, and, more exotically, Cuban cigars. Proprietor Howard Bayliss, born and raised in Horsham, tells the District Post: “The shop has evolved over the years and we’ve discovered what customers seem to appreciate – good, friendly old-fashioned service! The customers make the shop and it is very enjoyable to be on first name terms with many of our faithful regulars.”A more recently added facility is the outdoor café in the shop forecourt, which really comes into its own in the warmer months, Howard continuing: “It was great when that space became available for us to serve coffee, tea, cold drinks and ice creams, giving people the opportunity to relax for a while: its lovely to see them having an al fresco break in the sunshine!” The Carfax’s Richmond Terrace was built around 1840 and when the Candy Box opened 80 years later, Horsham was already an established shopping town. But, the shop began trading in a very different world – in 1920 George V, the Queen’s grandfather, was on the throne, Lloyd George was Prime Minister and Churchill was War Secretary. Rupert Bear made his first appearance, suffragettes were being jailed (but the first women jurors were being appointed), cars – taxed at £1 per horse power – were becoming popular, replacing horses when the Metroplitan Police set up the Flying Squad, prohibition was starting in the United States and Hitler presented his National Socialist Programme to the German Workers’ Party. The Candy Box has seen Spitfires and enemy aircraft overhead, and, on its doorstep, markets, concerts, fair rides, Christmas celebrations, meetings of the local hunt and much, much more, Howard Bayliss adding: “The shop is in such a superb location, right in the heart of Horsham and quite often visitors pop in, saying that they’re so pleased to see it still thriving because it was an important part of their childhood when they were growing up in the area.” Long term local resident Hugh Waller sums up the customers’ appreciation of the Candy Box saying: “It is a real piece of Horsham’s history and shoppers get a warm welcome when they enter. I feel very strongly that these increasingly rare independent businesses must survive, so long may it continue!” The Candy Box, 21 Carfax, Horsham RH12 1EB – Horsham 254174 – a convenient place to pick up your District Post!