Crawley Coat of Arms

Wooden coat of arms, depicting lion with hammer on top of a crowned helmet. Shield below shows 9 martlets and 4 acorns. Motto reads 'I grow and I rejoice'

This hand carved coat of arms was donated by the Borough Council to Crawley Museum in 1992.

This version of the coat of arms was officially granted on February 8th 1957 and thus the carving dates back to the late 1950s.

The cross represents the position of the town geographically at the intersection of the main London to Brighton road and the Horsham to East Grinstead road.

The birds on the cross are the traditional Sussex Martlets which appear in coats of arms throughout the county of Sussex as they have done since the South Saxons first settled in this area. The fact that there are nine of them refers to the original nine neighbour hoods planned for the New Town, namely Gossops Green, Ifield, Langley Green, Northgate, Pound Hill, Southgate, Three Bridges, Tilgate and West Green.

The acorns symbolise the oak forests that once covered most of North Sussex whilst also representing steady growth.

The royal lion at the top of the coat of arms represents Manor Royal whilst the hammer it holds represents the industry situated there. The palisaded crown out of which the lion is rising comes from the crest of the now defunct Crawley Development Corporation and signifies a planned environment.

The coat of arms was modified in 1974 because of boundary changes which saw the transfer of Gatwick Airport from Surrey to West Sussex. The shield is now supported by two winged creatures, one an eagle representing the Airport and the other a winged lion because it is a British airport. The fret work on their wings and the thunderbolts they are holding represent the growing electrical and electronics industry in the town.

Underneath the shield is the Borough motto “I grow and I rejoice” which is a translation taken from Seneca’s Epistulae to Lucilius. Seneca was a Roman philosopher, statesman, dramatist and humourist who wrote a series of moral guidance letters to his friend Lucilius who was the procurator of Sicily during the reign of Nero as Roman emperor. Seneca lived from 4BC to 65 AD. The motto was chosen to signify the building of a happy and expanding community.

The Coat of Arms is on permanent display in the Modern Crawley Gallery at Crawley Museum.

(Written by Steve Leake)

Charles Kenneth Mitchell

Portrait of a young man

Portrait of Kenneth Mitchell, year unknown. CWSCM:2019/4880.157.13

Charles Kenneth Mitchell was born 1st October 1889 to parents Charles James and Sarah Blanch Mitchell. He had one sister; Blanche Mary who was 4 years older. Charles senior worked as the Postmaster for Crawley while the family lived in locally at 24 High Street and later New Road.

Kenneth or Ken to his friends was a popular lad, a member of the local choir as well as playing football and cricket in Crawley and Three Bridges. In the 1911 census he is a 21-year-old man working as an estate agent while living at the family home, Roxham, Post Office Road, Crawley.

When war broke out there was a need for young men to sign up. The 11th Battalion Royal Sussex Regiment was formed on 7th August 1914 in Bexhill. The 11th along with the 12th and 13th regiments were know locally as Lowther’s Lambs because they had been raised by Claud Lowther MP. We do not know when Ken signed up, but it must have been soon after the battalion’s formation.

Shortly after joining, tragedy struck when Ken was admitted to Bexhill Hospital with Spotted Fever which developed into Meningitis and killed him on Friday 5th February 1915. He was 25 years old. During the time spent with the battalion in Cooden Camp, Bexhill he achieved the rank of Lance-Corporal.

Grave stone of Charles Kenneth Mitchell

Kenneth’s grave stone in St John’s churchyard, Crawley.

Ken’s body was transported by motor hearse to Crawley where he was buried in a military grave at St. John the Baptist Church the following Wednesday. His coffin was partially draped in a union flag, carried from the family home by uniformed service men, followed by floral tributes, the Crawley Boy Scouts, The Manchester Regiment which was based in Three Bridges and mourners. At the end of the service three volleys were fired over the grave and the Last Post played on the bugle. Sadly, Charles James was too ill to attend the funeral.

At a local fundraising event for the war effort shortly after Ken’s death, Mr Lehmann is reported to have said “Mr Mitchell had died for his country just as surely as if a bullet from the Germans had brought him down in the trenches. … and when the time came to erect a Roll of Honour for those in the district who had died for the country’s cause, the name Kenneth Mitchell would not be absent.” (Richardson, 2011, p. 75-76).

Bronze plaque inscribed with Charles Kenneth Mitchell

Kenneth’s death penny was donated to the Crawley Museum in 2019. CWSCM:2019/4880.173

The 11th, 12th and 13th Battalions went on to be sacrificial lambs at the Boar’s Head raid to draw German attention away from the battle of the Somme further south. 30th June 1916 subsequently became known as The Day Sussex Died due to the amount of men that were wounded or killed at Boar’s Head and is where Lowther’s Lambs got their name.

Ken is one of two soldiers who died during the First World War to be buried at St. John the Baptist Church Crawley. Gunner Howard Clement Pace died on 5th July 1916 aged 22 and was buried in the plot next to Ken shortly after. Both are remembered on the plaques outside of Memorial Gardens, Crawley and on the war memorial outside the same church.

References

Commonwealth War Graves Commission

Find My Past

Imperial War Museum

Richardson, Renny. (2011). All the Bright Company of Heaven, Menin House, Eastbourne.

Contemporary Collecting and Covid 19

Crawley Museum shut its doors to the public in March this year due to Covid-19. The staff have been working behind the scenes, creating new website and exhibition content.

We particularly like sharing memories of Crawley from local residents and would love to hear from anyone who would like their memories to feature on our  website or in the museum.

We’ve also been looking at our collections. We know that they don’t fully reflect the diversity of Crawley’s  communities and want to change this. If you have anything you’d like to donate to the museum to help give a fuller picture of life in Crawley please contact Holly, our curator, for a chat.

We’re hoping to be able to open to the public again in the next few months. It won’t be until August at the earliest.  Shortly after opening we will be seeking people’s memories, photographs and objects to help create a  collection about life in Crawley during lockdown. So do please hang onto anything that you think may be of interest.

Stay safe and we hope to see you soon!

Crawley’s Collections Revealed

Display cabinet with teddy bear, milk bottle, cruet set, trophy and toy robot, with handwritten labels.

In 2019 Crawley Museum was awarded a grant from Arts Council England for a new project – Crawley’s Collections Revealed.
This 18 month project runs from November 2019 until April 2021.
It has been doing two main things:

1 Going through our collections to identify things that are not relevant to the history of Crawley. We will offer them to other museums. This will make room for more objects which reflect the history of Crawley and its communities.

2 Working with members of the community to select items from our collections that are not currently on display. Project participants have been creating their own text labels. The items are being exhibited in a project display cabinet. There will also be an exhibition about the project in 2021. Members of the community will help to create this.

Because the museum is currently closed to the public due to Covid-19 we are posting images of the objects online. We are inviting people to create labels by commenting. We will then use these comments to create a display.

We are looking forward to being able to run more face to face sessions at a later date!

Crawley’s Collections Revealed – label an object! (1)

Crawley’s Collections Revealed – label an object! (2)

Crawley’s Collections Revealed – label an object! (3)

Crawley’s Collections Revealed – label an object! (4)

Crawley’s Collections Revealed – label an object! (5)

Visit Us

01293 539088
office@crawleymuseums.org

The Tree

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West Sussex

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