Just off Henfield High Street there is a twitten, called Caudle Street. Next door is a house called Elm Lodge. Today a hairdressers and a charity shop occupy the ground floor, and where the carriage house was is now Caudle Street. Built by Dr Adolphus Caudle in the 1830s, Elm Lodge was home to Dr Caudle and his wife Eliza (neé Wisden) and their six children. One of his sons, also Doctor Adolphus Caudle, was a doctor in Henfield for 43 years until his death in 1903. He and his parents and a sister are buried in Henfield. His twenty years service in the Sussex Rifle Volunteers is reflected in his uniforms on show at the Museum. There is also a portrait, so you can see what Dr Caudle looked like.
Come and look at our new costume display, "The Ladies Emporium", which has been in place since 21st July 2017. Purple stockings, lace trimmed underslips, and silver dancing shoes. There's a fine velvet bonnet and some long kid gloves, plus a cotton nightdress, a black lace cape and a rather beautifully decorated pair of combinations. This cotton 'onesie' lets you see what Victorians dressed in next to their skin. Sadly this charming garment was never worn. It was lovingly made by a Henfield lady called Miss Tobitt for her wedding trousseaux, but it was not used. I wonder what happened?
Held in our reserve stock are many wondrous costumes. For instance, in the1870s a Miss West lived in Henfield. Her father was the Chemist here in the latter part of that decade. And her father's widow went on to be the landlady of the White Hart pub. Miss West married and became Mrs Holdaway. Shortly after that she and her new husband immigrated to Australia and went to live on a sheep farm. She left one of her crinoline frames behind and this beehive shaped structure of canvas and steel hoops has found a new home in Henfield Museum.
Many of the costumes in our stock have Henfield connections, like the 1920s silver beaded black flapper dress complete with a Bourne and Hollingsworth label, and a c1970s evening dress, also black with silver beading. Same colour, same beads, but completely different style.
The museum also has clothing from not so long ago. Most recently we received a donation of items made from parachute silk, dating from the 1940s.
So keep checking in at the museum for new displays.
You never know what you may see.
By Stephanie Richards. Henfield Museum
More details about Henfield Museum can be found at
More details of the costume collection can be found on