I’m a Londoner. I lived in Horley for 25 years and moved to Crawley 10 years ago, but my roots are still in London therefore it was with apprehension that I turned up for my first event as a volunteer for Crawley museum. ‘Don’t worry’ said Andrea, ‘the people who turn up will tell you about Crawley’, and they certainly did.
The event was celebrating the 70th anniversary of Crawley New Town at Worth Park in May. Andrea had selected a hundred or so photos taken when the new town was being built to display on our stall. The photos were taken of the different ‘villages’ that now make up Crawley, as well as road networks, the airport and various events such as carnivals and parades. Those photos certainly brought back memories and provoked much conversation amongst the people who turned up – old and young alike!
A group of men in their seventies were the first to turn up and they certainly knew the history of Crawley! I imagined them in their wellies and grey school shorts playing all over the building sites after school! People recognised houses being built where friends had lived and the old shops in the various district parades. Andrea was hoping that someone would recognise one of people in the photos but sadly no-one did. The lack of cars on the roads was a talking point. No parking problems at Christmas in town in those days!
It will be interesting to have all these photos available in the new museum and to encourage people to record what they know about the places and scenes before this information is gone.
I certainly know more about the history of Crawley after my afternoon on the stall. My eight year old grandson also now knows a lot of local history after a visit to his school by Andrea and Helen. He is a bit of a history buff anyway, but was so full of interest after their talk he could recount practically word for word of what they had said without drawing breath. If the rest of his class were as fascinated by the talk as he was maybe we will have a band of junior volunteers when the museum eventually opens.
History is made by people and the legacy is carried on by people – never too young to learn! Or even too old?