Perryfield Road 1907, Crawley
Memories of Perryfield Road 1907, Crawley
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Crawley & local memories
Read and share memories of Crawley and West Sussex inspired by Frith photos.
Tilgate Park Stables 1964 to 1966
We used to live in the stables part of the old house, when it was used as council homes. The old house was still there when we moved in. I remember it being vacant and briefly owned by a 'famous' footballer although I don't remember his name. It was a magical time for my brother and I. We played badminton in the washing lines and used to climb over the fence into the park. Everything was overgrown and we would discover something new every time we explored. Finding lakes and waterfalls, secret gardens walled with wild strawberries and lilies of the valley. We collected sweet chestnuts from the old tree. There were several families living there and it was a lovely community. We had the most amazing bonfire nights. We children started collecting wood from the park and made a guy, collecting in the local shops.There was a very tame swan that used to walk through Tilgate up to the lake. I was told that his mate had been killed... Read more
The Old Punch Bowle as A Bank
In the 1950's The Old Punch Bowle became the Crawley Branch of National Provincial Bank. I worked there from 1970 - 1973, a lovely place to work. In due course, as a result of the 1970 merger with Westminster Bank, the accounts were moved to the former Westminster Bank branch in the Boulevard. About 1994 the venue reverted to being a place of hospitality as a pub owned by Greene King. The photo has to be pre-1955 (the date shown) as I think the NP Bank bought it in 1952.
I was lucky enough to be looked after by the warden of Tilgate Forest and his wife whom I referred to as Aunty and Uncle Bill. Bill Wratten was employed by Crawley Council as warden and lived in a Nissen hut with his wife Emily; known as 'Warden's Bungalow' which was situated on the opposite side of the lane where the groups of huts were and are still used today by various clubs. I was taken there by my father early in the morning and collected after tea at night as my mother had returned to work. From the age of 2 until 5 years I was there all day and then in school holidays. At this time Tilgate Forest was very natural and not the manicured area it is today. Tilgate lakes were not accessible to the public at that time. There was an elderly lady called Mrs Cross who lived in a cottage near the stables who kept Chihuahua's and could often be seen shopping locally with one... Read more
My First 'hamburger'
I remember the upstairs cafe here, it is where I ate my first hamburger and drank a banana milkshake! This would have been in 1959 (ish!) I also worked as a Saturday girl in Queensway Stores which was just out of shot in this photo - later to become a Tesco's and now I think is Next. Also memories of Leon's Dance Hall - jiving in Queens Square to jazz bands in the bandstand!
West Green Primary School
The picture shows the Junior School assembly hall which also doubled for PE with neatly stowed ceiling ropes and wall ladders. The headmaster was Mr Dennis who I believe lived in nearby Smalls Mead. I remember Mrs Gowings and Miss Parr who taught three generations of my family. The Infants school building adjoined the main school and the headmistress was Miss Howes. I only remember one teacher; Mrs Thomas. The Infants and Junior Schools each had a dedicated entrance and playground. Sadly, the large playing field where we all had so much fun on sunny days, was sold off for housing development.
The Old Coach House
I used to live in the Coach House (now park offices) of Tilgate Mansion, when I was a very little boy. I went to school at Desmond Anderson. The Coach House and courtyard made up four dwellings. The groundsman lived in one, his name was Francis, with his wife and little boy - they later moved to Holmbury St Mary in Surrey. In those days, the lake was almost surrounded by rhododendrons. Mr Francis used to take us out on the lake in a rowing boat, from a very dark and scary boatshed. I only have fleeting memories of this place, but they always make me smile.
As a small boy, my father-in-law Derek Munson was evacuated with his siblings to Crawley. They stayed at a farm house (which was later owned by Peter Butterworth - any further info on this would be much appreciated) but used to go to Tillgate Mansion for their baths once a week. He was very sad to hear that it had been demolished.
Tilgate Mansion Crawley West Sussex
This is the first time I have ever seen such a wonderful photo of Tilgate Mansion, other than bits of it in the backgound of faded family snaps. It means a lot to me because my father, Peter, spent part of his youth living there sometime in the late 1950s with his family (Tayman of the Crawley area) and when he was courting my mother, Elizabeth Robinson, they spent many happy hours walking around the estate and lake. Dad regaled me with many tales of ghosts and I can see why! It is such a shame they tore this place down, it was magnificent - all I have ever seen were some steps when I visited the site and some old photo's long since lost... Dad used to play by the lake and took me there when I was a little girl. Thank you so much for posting this picture...
The car in the photograph is a Wolseley. I am the Secretary of the Wolseley Register and recognise the car. The interesting thing is that a similar car exists in Hertfordshire and that also has the wicker tubular basket on the rear of the car.
My great grandad worked as a gamekeeper on the Tilgate estate. He moved with his family from Suffolk to Crawley in the 1880s.
I have many happy memories of visiting my grandparents at Tilgate estate. They lived in the house next to the walled garden. I used to help pick the peaches and strawberries that my grandad grew. They were sent to London to be sold.
The estate was beautiful in those days. It is now a public park...
Some of my Boyhood Memories of Three Bridges
I lived in New Street, and my boyhood friends were Richard Freakes, John Denman, Michael and Graham Goring, Jeff and Billy Kowatch and Alfie Manzoli. Amongst many others, we used to play in the woods opposite Alfie's house and up on the hawth and where there was a huge bomb crater we used to ride our bikes. I was a paper boy for Dacks newsagent then later for Stones when the Daks retired. We used to buy fireworks from Barkers and penny lollies from Ushers. I can remember Three Bridges football club playing by the side of the river Mole. I remember Wilkinsons hardware shop which sold everything, and I always coveted the Indian canoe hanging at the back of the shop. Halls fish and chips were delicious, they always used hard fat in the fryer. Banks shop with the two steps up to the door. Kennards, where my mum used to shop next to Walders the fruit and veg shop. One of my golfing colleagues, Bob Hazelwood's dad,... Read more
Blue Pencil Cafe, County Oak Crawley
Built as an Egg Farm and local produce outlet pre WW2 it became a Transport Café during the 1940's through the 1950's and into the 1960's. Well known on the A23. As a schoolboy I lived 100 yards south over the Surrey/Sussex border from 1945 to 1956. I remember the glass in our front door being rattled by overloaded trucks struggling to reach enough speed for the next gear change, and have been a petrol head ever since. My father set up as a Signwriter and Draughtsman, and for a while, rented one end room of the Café as a workshop. About 1948 he made new signs for the owner including one shaped as large blue pencil. It stood above the hedge opposite, and pointed across the road. I hear tales from slightly younger friends about grabbing a pillion ride in the small hours to the one venue open all night, "The Blue Pencil." Tea, Coffee, and a Juke Box in the 1960's, a meeting place for Rockers. Now the... Read more
Crawley CofE Village School
I attended the small village school which was located a bit behind the George Hotel. The school was on a corner with a small park across the road. A vaguely victorian stone building .... and an incongruous copy of a Bernini sculpture in the little park. Could not locate it on any maps and it looks as if later roads have been pushed through the site. Many happy memories of my childhood and of passing my eleven plus exams from there. Went to Christs Hospital and then ... to Canada in the mid 50s with my family. My father had, with a Mr Bateman, been the town's scout masters.
The Birches Three Bridges
I too remember playing by the River Mole; great excitement when we found what we thought was a dead scorpion on the riverbank. When they we building the Three Bridges estate, they had a narrow gauge railway for moving stuff around. We used to ride on this evening & weekends after the builders had gone home! My Parents ran the Fox Hotel close to the river.
County Oak A23 Southdown Coach Station
The Coach Station had a cafe (or restaurant) backing a large parking area for London to Brighton Southdown Coaches. It was sited 100 yards south of the County border opposite "Overton's" Beehive workshop on the main Brighton Road. Unfortunately accidents did occur involving coaches turning right into the park when travelling south, mostly due to drivers not seeing the coach signal trafficator arms protruding from the offside. I remember Mr Brunker was the manager when the Coach Station reopened after the Second World War. His daughter was a friend of mine. Where is she now?
Life in County Oak
I was born in the cottage that was named Morning Dawn in 1937. The house is now a Muslim mosque. I remember the recreation area very well. We played there often. My dad had an allotment nearby. I remember the Covey and Brown farms that were just across London Road from my home. My aunt, Joan Brown, was married to my mother's brother, Major Stewart Collett, and I remember the Brown family. It sticks in my memory that in front of the Brown house was what had at one time been a swimming pool. It certainly had water in it. I remember collecting tadpoles in it on numerous occasions. Next door to Morning Dawn was the house occupied by the Haywards. He looked after the sewage farm, I think. Olive Hayward often took me on the bus to school in the mornings. I remember one morning watching a German bomber dropping bombs on the town and... Read more
County Oak/Tushmore Sports And Social Club.
So named because members were from north of Crawley on the main A23 Brighton Road, not big enough to be a village, but a hamlet stretching half a mile north and south of todays Manor Royal Estate original entrance. County Oak boasted one general store, a garage, and occasionally an additional sweet shop. There had been two Cafes at some time, but the main one in my memory from 1945 to1955 has to be the "Blue Pencil". This was for Commercial vehicles having a fair size parking area at front and rear. Even the Police would stop by for an egg and bacon sandwhich at their beat's southerly border. The Surrey boundary was marked by a footpath to the west at this point, and to the east was a hedge and ditch.
County Oak And Tushmore Sports And Social Club
Tushmore Lane and either side of the main A23 had properties forming the catchment area for club members, also another general store and petrol station. County Oak boasted a recreation ground with one swingboat and a six by five foot pavilion. Many an enjoyable "Stoolball" match was played out on the grass mowed by Mr Barratt, a local bus driver. Although cycling was not allowed, some of us would race round the field perimeter, or if stopped, then the square enclosed by the Brighton Road to the east, the County boundary footpath on the north side, the farm drive on the west, and the track along the southern edge back to the recreation ground gate. By about 1953 the "club" commitee managed to organise enough fund raising to assemble a new hut on the gifted extension to the recreation ground. This was officially opened by (local builder) Mr Percy Wales, the Mayor for that year. I well remember the first dance when the new red floor... Read more
Memorial Gardens/Recreation Ground
I am researching the history of the Memorial Gardens and wonder if anyone in Crawley has memories of when this was a recreation ground, and when exactly it bacame known as the Memorial Gardens - I think during the 1960s.
Thank you if you can help.
A Small Boy's Paradise
Moving from Lewisham in London to Three Bridges in 1953 was wonderful. I was only 9 and we were, I believe, the first family in the Birches. We had the river mole with rainbow trout, horses, rabbits, all manner of wildlife and forests to play in with hectic construction going on all around. It was just amazing - great memories.