About Crawley Museum
Crawley Museum is an independent local history museum. It tells the history of the town through objects and their stories. It consists of two museums, Crawley Museum and Ifield Watermill.
Crawley Museum is a place where you can find out about the history of the town and the surrounding areas. We tell the history of Crawley through objects and and exhibits along with the stories associated with them. We have an active programme of events, temporary exhibitions and permanent collections which reflect various aspects of the town and the local area's development. We have educational and entertaining aspects alongside the historical, making the space appealing to all. Our collections include objects from Crawley's prehistory and iron age beginnings, its medieval settlement, the Victorian town and the 20th Century New Town development. We also collect contemporary objects, putting them in context with society today, as well as their connections with the past. We celebrate Crawley’s communities today through our oral history collections, temporary exhibitions and community engagement projects. Items on permanent display include our 1903 Rex Forecar and a Bronze Age sword. We also have a temporary exhibition space with displays which change regularly, but which always reflect the varied and rich community which makes Crawley its home.
Ifield Watermill is believed to be the only working Watermill in West Sussex which is still powered by its original water source (the Ifield millpond). Though there were known to be mills in the area from as early as 1274, Ifield Watermill was in operation from 1660. Rebuilt following a fire in 1683, it continued to operate commercially right up until the 1920s when it was left to deteriorate. Ted Henbury was alerted to its presence by his son, and together with the local rescue archaeologist John Gibson-Hill they set up a restoration group to work on rebuilding the watermill. Work started on the restoration in 1974, and the watermill now boasts a working waterwheel as well as the renovated mill building itself. While restoration work at the mill is ongoing, Ifield Watermill contains a variety of working mechanical instruments which show how the mill used to function when it was operational. It also houses exhibitions about the history and restoration of the Mill and the history of the local area.