Memories of a Crawley Man
Edited by Shirley Anne Cook
My father, Jack Cook, regularly regaled us with stories about his early life. Accordingly, one day in 1993, I gave him a blank A4 notebook and a pen and asked him to write about his life. As an avid genealogist and historian, I know how important such records are as a way of preserving precious memories and increasing knowledge of life in bygone eras.
Born in Crawley close to the end ofWW1, and the third sibling in a family of nine children, most of my father’s life was spent in the area.
Leaving school at fourteen, Dad had a variety of jobs, including a spell as a dolly turner in a laundry – a trade long gone. He also worked on the Tilgate estate (now a public park), where George Cook, his own father and my grandfather, was a gardener.
My father served in the Royal Artillery during the Second World War and met my mother on a train whilst travelling on leave from Horsham to Crawley. They married in St John’s Church, Crawley in 1944.
After the war they lived in a cottage on the Broadfield Mansion estate where Dad worked as head gardener and caretaker and where we four children grew up. With the growth of Crawley New Town, Broadfield is much changed.
I am pleased I encouraged Dad to write down his memories: the result is a book our family and descendants will always treasure.
Only available from Crawley Museum.
72 pages 79 illustrations