Events

Carnivals

Since the end of the war Crawley Carnival Day was held on Whit Monday (which from 1967 was replaced by the spring bank holiday), with a procession through the streets, ending at West Green playing fields where stalls and sideshows were set up. The venue changed to Southgate for ten years, before moving to Goffs Park in 2007.


Fairs and Markets

In 1202-3 Michael de Poynings received a royal licence to hold a weekly market, and in 1279 Luke de Poynings received permission to hold an annual fair on August 28th. The weekly market had lapsed by the sixteenth century, and by the nineteenth century fairs were held twice yearly on May 8th and September 9th in the High Street, lasting until 1924.



Parades

A parade was held every year to raise money for Crawley and Ifield Cottage Hospital.


Queen Victoria's Visit to Sussex, 5th October 1837

Decorations were put up and crowds gathered to witness Queen Victoria, accompanied by her mother The Duchess of Kent, on a visit to Sussex, stopping at the George Hotel for a change of horses.

Wayfarer Denman's Crawley Revisited, Nadine Hygate (1993), pp. 11-12

Duke of York's Wedding, 6th July 1893

On 6th July 1893 a parade was held to celebrate the wedding of the Duke of York. Headed by local schoolchildren with the Crawley Temperance Brass Band the procession included locals dressed, amongst others, as the bride and groom, Queen Victoria, and the Prince and Princess of Wales. The Royal party formed a circle on a platform around the maypole, when the National Anthem was sung before giving three cheers for the bride and groom. Subscriptions were raised for the event and to provide a substantial tea for the school children.



Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee, 22nd June 1897

The town held a parade to mark the Queen's Diamond Jubilee. A band led the parade, followed by children representing the countries of the world. The parade passed through the High Street on it's way to the cricket ground, were a fete was held. A fete was also held at the Elm's in Horsham Road on 9th June. The money raised was used to build the entrance to St. John's Church from the High Street.



Stock Exchange Walk

The Stock Exchange Walk was first held on May Day 1903, and passed through Crawley High Street. The favourite, G.D. Nicholas, led from the start, but by the time he had reached Bolney he had been overtaken by E.F. Broad. Broad crossed the finishing line first in 9 hours 30 minutes, with Nicholas in second place a few minutes behind. Charles Harper gives an account of the walk in his book "The Brighton Road".



Mademoiselle Florence, The Lady Globe Walker, June 1903

Mademoiselle Florence, an 18 year-old American music hall artiste, walked between London and Brighton on a 26 inch globe. She started from Westminster Bridge on June 16th 1903, passed through Crawley on June 19th and arrived at Brighton Aquarium on June 20th. The Sussex and Surrey Courier reported:

Sussex and Surrey Courier, Saturday, June 20, 1903

Royal Visit by Princess Alice, 1st July 1908

Princess Alice (Princess Alexander of Teck, later Countess of Athlone) travelled from London by car, accompanied by Lt. Col. Rawson, Lady Beatrice Rawson and Miss Whittock, the Princess' Lady in Waiting. They were met in Three Bridges Road by the Royal Sussex Regiment, which accompanied them into the High Street. Princess Alice opened a Grand Bazaar and Fete at the Elms in Horsham Road, held in aid of Crawley and Ifield Cottage Hospital, which she then went on to visit. The bazaar raised 555 5s 11d. Concerts were held during the afternoon and evening, ending with illuminations and a firework display. On arrival at the hospital in Post Office Road they were met by Dr. A. Burn, Mr. Matthews, the hospital's secretary, Mr. Bruce Hills and the Matron, Miss Davison who escorted the Princess on a tour of the hospital.



King Edward VII's Memorial, 1910

The people of Crawley held a parade and memorial service in the Square, opposite the George Hotel, after the death of King Edward VII.



Army Airship "Eta", 13th September 1913

The Airship "Eta" circled at Crawley for nearly fifteen minutes, whilst on an engine test, before leaving just after 9 a.m. for Brighton, which it reached at 9 40. It continued via Worthing, Littlehampton and Portsmouth before returning to Aldershot. The airship was commanded by Lieut. Wilson, brother of Mr. Alec Wilson, the organist of West Crawley Church. A message, attached to a small parachute, was dropped close to Hethersett, the residence of Mr. Trelawney, who was a relative

Sussex & Surrey Courier, 20th September 1913; The Times, 16th September 1913

Air Race, 8th November 1913

The Hendon to Brighton and back air race passed over Crawley, and according to the newpaper report the locals gained a fine view. Of the nine machines starting just four completed the round trip, with Gustav Hamel recording the fasted time of 1h 40m 14s.

Sussex & Surrey Courier, 15th November 1913; Flight, 15th November 1913

Fire at Longleys, 20th March 1924

On the morning of 20th March 1924 a spark from a passing train started a fire in the joinery yard of Longley's. The fire spread to the workshops and also a doctor's house nearby in the Brighton Road. Crawley and Horsham fire brigades attended, but after four hours all the buildings were ablaze and the entire stock and machinery destroyed.


Accident at Crawley Railway Crossing, c. 1930

A Rolls Royce travelling along the Brighton Road found the railway crossing gates closed and crashed into railings above the entrance to the pedestrian subway under the railway line at Crawley Station.


Royal Visit by The Prince of Wales, 15th November, 1932

Prince of Wales at Three Bridges



Royal Visit by Princess Elizabeth, January 1950

Princess Elizabeth came to Crawley on 25th January 1950 to open the Manor Royal Industrial Estate. She met dignitaries at the Brewery Shades and was presented with a spray of orchids by six-year-old Penelope Street. She planted a Canadian Maple tree in the High Street and then took lunch at the George Hotel. Accompanied by Sir Thomas Bennett she then visited a new housing estate in West Green.


Queen Elizabeth II Coronation, 2nd June 1953

Crawley residents celebrated the Coronation by holding street parties.


Royal Visit by Queen Elizabeth II, 9th June 1958

The Queen and Prince Philip were greeted by Diana Staples, who suffered from Polio, at Gatwick Airport. They officially opened the airport which was followed by a tour of the airport. They went on to Manor Royal before opening Crawley College of Further Education. In Queen's Square Dr Richard Seligman of APV gave the Queen a copper spade which she used to plant a commemorative tree. The Queen met representatives of various local bodies, and accompanied by Sir Thomas Bennett, who was chairman of the Crawley Development Corporation, walked through the Broadwalk to the George Hotel for lunch. After lunch they toured West Green and Ifield, were they visited a Corporation house, before going on to Langley Green community hut, the Territorial Army centre in Northgate, St. Mary's Church, Southgate and Three Bridges Junior School.


Royal Visit by Queen Elizabeth II, 17th December, 1969

Queen Elizabeth visited the Town Hall were she met members of the council and inspected plans for the town's new sports centre. She then went on to officially open Holy Trinity School, Gossops Green, which opened in September 1967. The Queen addressed the school and unveiled a plaque, then visited class-rooms, including the home economics department where she had tea with some of the pupils.


Royal Visit by Princess Alexandra, 13th June, 1977

Princess Alexandra visited Crawley Town Hall and was met by the Mayor, June Clay. Crawley Girls' Venture Corps. formed a guard of honour. The Princess had tea in one of the Committee rooms with council members and officers, official of the New Towns Commission and Crawley Jubilee Appeal organisers.

Crawley & District Observer, 17th June 1977.

Royal Visit by Queen Elizabeth, The Queen Mother, November 1982

The Queen Mother was met by the mayor, Alf Pegler, and after a tour of St. Catherine's Hospice she laid the foundation stone.


Royal Visit by Queen Elizabeth II, 1988

Queen Elizabeth opened the North Terminal at Gatwick Airport.


Royal Visit by Diana, Princess of Wales, 29th August 1988

Princess Diana was met by the Vice-Lord Lieutenant of Sussex and toured St. Catherine's Hospice before cutting a cake decorated with the hospice logo.


Royal Visit by Queen Elizabeth II, 3rd November, 2006

Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip returned to Crawley as part of the towns 60th Anniversary celebrations. The Royal Party arrived by helicopter at Southgate playing fields. The Mayor, Sally Blake, welcomed the Queen in Queen's Square where she unveiled a statue. She was presented with flowers by Kayleigh Henry, 8, at County Mall and then moved on to Thomas Bennett Community College were the pupils performed a dance and African drum demonstration. Prince Philip stayed on for lunch before visiting Varian Medical Systems and Carey House Sheltered Housing Scheme in West Green.

Crawley Observer, 8th November 2006; Crawley News, 25th October 2006