By Peter Gwynne
CRAWLEY, together with Ifield and Worth, became one of three extremely varied parishes, as human settlement came to the north Sussex forest. The first settlers were looking for iron, which was being produced locally before the Romans developed an organised industry, with a centre at Crawley. Medieval colonisation of the forest changed the natural landscape and, though the three parishes each developed a separate identity, Crawley village eventually came to dominate local communication links and economic life.
In this well researched new book, the author explores all the strands in the local story: iron, forestry, farming, the Brighton Road, the Quakers, the railway and the motor car. The designation of Crawley, still largely agricultural and surrounded by landed estates in the early years of this century, as a New Town in 1946 produced radical and rapid change, followed by further transformation with the development of Gatwick. This book explains how all of this occurred, not simply as a string of facts but as an imaginative reconstruction of events based on informed interpretation of the evidence – roads, the countryside, place-names, archaeology, building, written documents and oral tradition.
Peter Gwynne has provided Crawley with a history that is not only thorough, indeed definitive, but also engaging and entertaining. It will fascinate many who do not normally read history for fun, while adding significantly to the published history of Sussex.
PRE OWNED BOOK
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176 pages. 77 photographs, drawings and maps