Sunday, 2 October 2011

The Dun Horse, Mannings Heath, Horsham

On the Brighton Road a few miles south of Horsham stands this white-plastered, red brick roadhouse, notable for its very fine Art Nouveau leaded and stained glass windows bearing livery from the long-defunct Rock Brewery, Brighton. The two identical, larger windows feature a dun horse in the central panel. The left side panel advertises ROCK ALES; the right side has WINES & SPIRITS. The windows of the central, projecting bay present (left-side) ROCK ALES and (right-side) PRIVATE BAR.

In the glass of the two doors we have, respectively, GOOD FOOD and GOOD CHEER. The emphasis on food was typical of the interwar ‘improved public house’, of which the Dun Horse is an example. Photographs of the pub c. 1900 show it to have then been a wooden-boarded cottage-style inn advertising Michells Ale from the West Street Brewery, Horsham, taken over by the Rock Brewery in 1912.

In 1794 the inn was called the White Horse but it changed its colour soon afterwards.

The present building dates from 1926, just a couple of years before Rock were acquired by Portsmouth United Breweries to form Portsmouth and Brighton United Breweries Ltd. The interior has two rooms and three distinct areas but it may have been built with four rooms. A left-side public bar has a dartboard and bar billiards table. The bar counter and panelling appears to be a modern replacement.

The right-side door leads into an extended saloon bar with a clear spatial division to the right of the counter.
The parquet floor and matchwood dados remain from the interwar rebuild. The raked and angular matchwood counter is also original but the top half of the bar back is new. This middle area most likely once consisted of two rooms entered by a now blocked-up central doorway. On the right of this arrangement was accessed the Private Bar, as can be deduced from the window glass.

The Dun Horse, Mannings Heath, Horsham, West Sussex.

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