This month, we celebrated Crawley’s 70th anniversary – marking the moment where Lewis Silkin MP, the Minister for Town & Country Planning, confirmed that Three Bridges, Ifield and the small market town of Crawley would be brought together as one new town, on 9th January 1947.
It was fascinating to see the coverage in the paper this month, featuring pages from what was then known as the Crawley & District Observer, which wrote in 1947 that the Minister expected “to see Crawley and Three Bridges completed as a satellite town…between 1957 and 1962.”
Of course, the plans from the time did not include the communities of Bewbush, Broadfield, Furnace Green or Maidenbower as we know them today. Seventy years later, the town’s development goes on, with progress in the building of Forge Wood, and a host of businesses and shops which move here, continue to expand, or begin entirely.
For my part, I was pleased to be able to mention our town’s birthday in the House of Commons last week.
I look forward to seeing the Crawley Library display of Roger Bastable’s photographs of the development of our town. A selection of these are on the West Sussex Past page on Flickr, which is certainly worth looking at.
Additionally, the new Crawley Museum is due to open this year with a number of exhibitions on the New Town development. This should be a further reminder of the strength of our history.
Perhaps we sometimes underestimate the facilities and opportunities we have on our doorstep. A global airport, internationally-recognised sporting facilities at K2, a shopping centre which attracts customers from across the area, a club enjoying its sixth successive season in the Football League, a host of international corporations with their UK base at Manor Royal and small businesses which are the heart of our local economy.
Our borough’s motto is ‘I Grow and I Rejoice’ – in this spirit we can continue to go forward as a community.