What? Crawley Has History?

Saturday was showing as being another warm one, but it didn’t prevent me from going for a wander. I was after more pictures of street signs, some to add to collections already started, and others to start new collections or have new complete collections. Yes, it sounds a weird thing to do, but it keeps me out of mischief (allegedly). I hadn’t really planned where I was going to go; I was just going to keep walking until my legs gave up.

I headed towards town, there were some more drinking establishments and churches that I would pass that could be photographed as well. The Railway was first, and the level crossing was just closing as I got to it, which made my mind up as to where I would go first. I took a couple of pictures of the signal box and other interesting buildings as I walked along Springfield Road to Horsham Road, where the level crossing there was just opening as I got there.

The Swan was pub number two (unfortunately only from a photo perspective), and the old St Peter’s church sat in the middle of its own large traffic island in the old part of West Green. I pass the Hallan cash and carry sits in the building that used to be The Crown, as I head along Ifield Road back towards town. I walk down Pegler Way to the High Street and across into Northgate Road and up to the old Dyers Alms-houses, hidden away from casual passers-by only a couple of hundred yards away from the main shopping area of the town centre.

I went back to the High Street and walked along its length taking pictures of the numerous historic buildings, current and former drinking establishments and anything else that caught my eye.

I then doubled back into the entrance of St John’s, the medieval church of the old village of Crawley (before new town status). I was wandering around the outside of the church when a voice called out from under a tree, “don’t take photos in the graveyard, it will remove the spirits”. But enough about his drinking habits.

Coming out of the other end of St John’s grounds and crossed over to the Friary church of St Francis and St Anthony. A more modern church, built in a Mediterranean style to look older, built on the site of a much older church, as the graveyard would attest to. It’s a fascinating graveyard as well, with its own crypt, mausoleums and grand statues. None of which I’d ever seen before. I have walked past the surrounding walls countless times, never really thinking what lay behind them.

I headed east after leaving the friary, past the library and college and onto Three Bridges Road, taking a few street sign photos, before heading over to Gales Drive. Almost hidden away behind trees and bushes on its corner with Crossways is the church of St. Richard’s. A much more modern church than the other three seen so far. Inside the gate are two covered wooden benches at an angle to the path. On one side sat the vicar, and on the other side sat one of her parishioners. After taking photos of the church I had a brief conversation with the pair of them before carrying on, covering just how many places of worship Crawley has, and how the vicar is glad she has chairs not pews inside the church, as it will make reopening with social distancing so much easier.

After the row of shops there was a quick picture of LB1 before making my way back to Three Bridges Road. Three drinking establishments and three places of worship following in very short succession, the last of which now appears to be closed, the white barn looking building on New Street that was a Spiritualist Church now shows no signs of being used for anything.

During this section of the walk my fat-bit had a celebration of me reaching ten thousand steps again, and my legs still felt fine so I carried on. I walked past the Montefiore Institute and around past Three Bridges station, the Snooty Fox and under the railway bridge into Pound Hill.

First up there was the United Reform Church, then it was back across the road to head up Worth Road to St Barnabas’, a stop to get a drink at the parade of shops, past the Knight and then across the open land to Crawley Lane to walk up the hill in the shade until I got to the catholic church of St Edward the Confessor.

I came back down Worth Road to Spring Plat and worked my way around the winding streets there as I was taking pictures of the street names there as they are all names of Sussex castles. Having got them all I went down The Bower and under the Worth Way and into Maidenbower.

On previous photographic adventures during lockdown I have found a lot of street sounds partially hidden by long grass / weeds. This is to be expected, as there aren’t the same amounts of environmental workers out there in these strange times. However in Maidenbower, the residents don’t like outsiders as they think they are special (yes, I know I normally follow that word with needs, but I thought it was obvious in this case). They appear to deliberately grow their trees and bushes so they hide the road signs. This must be a ploy to prevent people from finding out where they are. I did manage to find readable signs for all the collection of building styles, and a couple of others for other collections.

I walked back down the hill of Maidenbower past the Frogshole and past the community centre and shops before my legs started screaming at me, saying enough was enough, and so I got the bus back into town, using my new snood as a face covering. With dark glasses I don’t look like I’m about to rob a bank at all. I had gone through twenty thousand steps at some point in Maidenbower, but the fat-bit hadn’t got excited this time. I later found out that this was because, being cheap, it only holds one level of celebration, not increasing ones as on better known brands.

Once back in town I walked home, back up past the signal box and The Railway where I’d started taking photos on Brighton Road some four hours earlier. I could hear the shower and sofa calling.

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