Crawley at 70: Town turns platinum!

Celebrating 70 years of Crawley new town
Celebrating 70 years of Crawley new town

A year's worth of celebrations have been planned to mark Crawley new town's 70th birthday.

On January 9 1947, the Minister for Town and Country Planning, Lewis Silkin MP, announced the area around Crawley, Three Bridges and Ifield had been chosen as the location for one of eight new towns outside around London.

Crawley at 70

Crawley at 70

Along with the likes of Steveange, Hemel Hempstead and Harlow, the new town would allow people and industry to move out of the overcrowded and bomb-damaged capital and into the countryside.

Nine neighbourhoods were planned to house 50,000 people and, although the town is now home to more than 100,000 people in 14 neighbourhoods, the layout and designs of architect Anthony Minoprio still form the backbone of the town.

To mark the platinum anniversary, Crawley Borough Council has announced a number of events and celebrations, with more to be added throughout the year.

These will include:

Art projects and exhibitions by local artists and community groups

Concert of music from across the past seven decades

1940s ballroom dance and tea party

Historical walks

1947 outdoor cinema event

A procession of classic cars to coincide with a visit from dignitaries from Dorsten, Crawley's twin town.

Various school projects to celebrate the 70 years of Crawley New Town

Crawley Library will display the Roger Bastable’s Crawley exhibition, which showcases the 100 best photographs in the Roger Bastable collection showing the building of Crawley New Town in 1950s, and promote Roger Bastable’s Crawley Flickr display at www.flickr.com/photos/westsussexpast/albums

Metrobus will theme a bus for the 70th anniversary

There will be a Vintage Christmas festival at the end of the year.

In addition, Crawley Museum should open in the spring, in its new home at The Tree, on the corner of The Boulevard and High Street. It will include many never-before-seen New Town exhibits

And the revamped Queens Square will be finished by the end of the year.

Children at Thomas Bennett Community College were invited to design a logo to ‘badge’ the 70th anniversary events. Several quality logos were sent in and a design has been chosen for the anniversary.

The council would also like to hear about any clubs, societies or schools that are planning, or would like to arrange, small community led events to celebrate the town’s platinum year. The celebrations could be anything from community bake sales, 1940s themed parties, or a themed activity which remembers and celebrates any part of our town’s 70 year journey. Please email your ideas to events@crawley.gov.uk

Councillor Michael Jones, Cabinet Member for Community Engagement at Crawley Borough Council, said: “We are pulling together an exciting and varied programme of events to make this a year to remember for everyone in Crawley.

“We’re keen to hear any more ideas that residents have and have grants available to help fund events. So get in touch!”