Joe Wayte

Mathilda Rose: Behind the Counter in Lindfield

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Behind the Counter is a series of articles we started back in 2017 to take a look at the inner workings of Lindfield’s most-loved shops, and get to know the people who run them. In this latest edition we meet Nicola O’Rourke – the mastermind behind #thewindowat62 and the worldwide renowned bridal shop, Mathilda Rose.

By Joe Wayte

Born and bred in Lindfield, Nicola’s parents owned land near Lyoth Lane. She was educated locally both at Great Walstead School and Ardingly College before moving to London to study Textile Design. “I started at Chelsea College of Art and Design to complete my foundational year,” Nicola explained, “before getting a prestigious place on a degree course at Central Saint Martins School of Art.”

If you want to be well-known in any form of art, Central Saint Martins is the place to be with courses that are incredibly sought after and incredibly competitive to get in to. “There were only eight of us on my course,”

Nicola added, “and as part of the selection process my group of applicants had to create a runway look for a model using only a deck chair, and within a very short amount of time!” Included in the eight studying with Nicola was Alice Temperely, now MBE and once described by American Vogue as ‘the designer making the biggest waves in British fashion’.

After attaining her degree, Nicola started work in the commercial world by accepting a place on the Marks and Spencer graduate scheme. She gained experience across a variety of departments and then settled as a Buyer – a role she stayed in for over ten years. She spent another six years as a Buyer for many well-known retailers before realising her dream of owning her own bridal store. “In those days, if something went wrong in a factory that was supplying your fabric you were expected to get on the next plane to go and fix it,” Nicola said with an air of exhaustion. “At that time most of my suppliers were in China and balancing being a mum while frequently flying to China became too much.”

[Full article printed in the September 2019 issue of Lindfield Life magazine]

Behind the Counter: Masters & Son

Ian Masters, Lewes Road, Lindfield

Undertaking is among the world’s oldest professions. Ancient Egypt is famous for its careful mummification to preserve the dead with records dating back over 4,000 years, and in the West specialised priests were known to spend 70 entire days with a single body. While the aforementioned services were reserved for wealthy royalty and nobility, today funeral services are an essential part of remembering and saying goodbye to those we care about. In this next edition of Behind the Counter, we meet Ian Masters of Masters and Son – who have been supporting families in Sussex through the process of losing loved ones for more than 160 years.

By Joe Wayte

It feels like I can’t get away from this particular topic in my life right now. Whilst writing this article, the team at BBC Radio 1 is doing some heavy promotion around the office about a new series titled, The Youngertakers

In my personal life, a great-aunt recently passed away, giving me an opportunity to celebrate her life, as well as watch the funeral director intensely as part of my research. I’ve been to many funerals and they’ve all been different. My great-aunt, for example, asked to be cremated and requested that Händel’s Hallelujah Chorus be played loudly at the point she disappeared behind the curtain. Others have been a much more sombre affair.

“All families are different and each funeral is unique,” Ian told me. “Some choose traditional wooden coffins, while others choose ones made of materials such as willow, seagrass, bamboo or wool. On a few occasions people have come in to personally decorate the coffin. The services we carry out also vary enormously from a traditional church service to no formal service at all. On one occasion we were asked to provide champagne in our service room for a family who wanted a more casual and relaxed event before continuing the celebration of their loved one’s life over lunch at a local pub. We like being adaptable to whatever people ask for to give their family member an appropriate send-off.”

[Read the full article in March 2018 Lindfield Life magazine]

Photos by Dale Reubin