Crawley History: In the news 100 years ago this month

World War One, Crawley SUS-140807-162907001
World War One, Crawley SUS-140807-162907001

A browse through the Sussex & Surrey Courier of 100 years ago gives an interesting take on life in Crawley on the eve of World War One.

The paper, which eventually developed into the Crawley Observer, offered a fascinating mixture of news, sport and adverts from July 1914.

Here is a selection from the courts:

William Silvester, of Crawley-lane, Three Bridges, was summoned for riding a bicycle without a light, at Worth.

The defendant wrote stating that he had just lit the lamp when PC Steer stopped him and he did not know it was out.

PC Steer proved the case, and said that he found that the lamp was quite cold and the carbide was flooded.

Defendant was fined 2shillings 6 pence.

Trevor Tweedale Edwards, of County Oak-villas, Crawley, was summoned for not having the front identification plate of his motorcycle illuminated, but the summons was dismissed on payment of 3 shillings 6 pence costs.

Percy Norman Hibbs, Pease Pottage Bakery, Crawley, was summoned for not having his motorcycle properly lighted and he was dealt with in a similar way to the previous defendant.

In general news was this report about a garden fete:

“A garden fete and bazaar extending over two days took place, the object being to wipe off or reduce the debt existing in connection with the enlarging of the West Green School, Crawley, and the building of an infants’ school in the rear.

“It was a continuance of the earnest efforts made by local church people to retain the schools in which the rising and future generations shall receive that religious education for which the schools were established, and the results were very satisfactory, though not so much so as was hoped.

“To comply with the demands of the Board of Education considerable alterations had to be effected in order to prevent the County Council taking the schools over, and though the cost represented nearly £1,500, the Managers and their supporters were determined to do their utmost to keep the schools under Church of England influence and so carry out the wishes of those who founded the schools for that purpose.

“The actual cost of the new infants’ school and alterations to the existing building was £1,441 9 shillings and one penny and of this sum £861 8 shillings had been collected, leaving about £600 to be raised, and it was to obtain this sum, or a large proportion of it, that the bazaar was organised.”

As for adverts, we have the following:

“General servant wanted at once. Good salary and outings, four in family, help given. Apply Mrs Leer, Strathmore, Ifield, Crawley.”

“Enormous attraction! For tea gardens, fetes etc. The Dutch Windmill revolving summer houses. J Stoner’s Rustic and Wood Appliance Works, Crawley.”

Does anyone know if J Stoner was the same Mr Stoner after whom Stoner House, in Barnfield Road, Northgate, is named?

Finally we have sport and a rip-roaring cricket match between Crawley Workingmen and Lowfield Heath.

The report read: “This match was played at Crawley, the homesters gaining a well-merited victory.

“The chief features of the game were the sound batting of Smith for Crawley and R Dann for the visitors, the bowling of Godsmark (six wickets for 17 runs), and the efforts of Tullett with the ball and in the field.”

Crawley won the match by 128 runs to 62.

Well done, chaps!