Crawley New Town: Economic history

A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town. Originally published by Victoria County History, London, 1987.

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'Crawley New Town: Economic history', in A History of the County of Sussex: Volume 6 Part 3, Bramber Rape (North-Eastern Part) Including Crawley New Town, (London, 1987) pp. 83-89. British History Online [accessed 25 April 2024]

In this section



Crawley, like other new towns, was intended to be economically balanced. The planners feared that it would become a dormitory town; it was therefore essential that Crawley should be provided with its own industry. (fn. 1) As a result the early years of the town's growth were dominated by a rapid expansion of manufacturing industries; the second largest source of employment was the large-scale civil engineering and building works needed to provide main services, roads, factories, houses, schools, and shops, even though many building workers at first commuted from elsewhere. By 1956 newly established industries employed 46 per cent of all workers, old industries nearly 15 per cent, building and civil engineering 18 per cent, and non-industrial concerns only 21 per cent. (fn. 2) During the second phase of development from the mid 1950s to the early 1960s the growth of Gatwick airport, of the retail trade, and of town services, provided a growing proportion of employment while building declined. Manufacturing industry continued to grow but did not increase its overall share of employment. By 1958 industrial employment was lower than the average for new towns, because Crawley's shopping and commercial facilities were more advanced. (fn. 3) In 1962 manufacturing industry, old and new, employed just over 60 per cent of all workers, Gatwick and service trades 34 per cent. (fn. 4) During the third phase, to the early 1970s, manufacturing grew steadily but nonindustrial employment expanded far more quickly. In 1971 services employed 53.5 per cent of all those working in the new town, manufacturing 46 per cent. In the 1970s, however, there was little net growth of manufacturing employment, while service employment doubled. Of 63,610 employed in Crawley in 1981, 42,890, over 67 per cent, worked in service trades. (fn. 5) By then, far from being a dormitory town, Crawley gave work to many people living outside its boundaries. In 1971 c. 15,000 people from outside Crawley worked there, while c. 5,000 Crawley people commuted elsewhere to work. The net inflow had doubled by 1981 to 20,120. (fn. 6)

The changing pattern of employment affected the class structure of the town. Crawley always had a lower than average proportion of unskilled and semiskilled workers; thus while those classes comprised 29 per cent of the nation in 1951, they comprised only 12 per cent of Crawley's population in 1960. On the other hand, skilled and clerical workers and their families formed an above average proportion of the population, some 60 per cent in 1960. (fn. 7) The proportion of different classes among workers moving to the town changed. Between 1948 and 1952, for example, professional and senior white-collared workers formed 17 per cent of newcomers, skilled and clerical workers 62 per cent, and unskilled and semi-skilled workers 21 per cent; between 1957 and 1960 the comparable figures were 25.5 per cent, 63 per cent, and 11.5 per cent. (fn. 8) Moreover the low proportion of unskilled jobs could not be expected to be matched by a low proportion of unskilled school leavers. Hence by the early 1960s the development corporation was giving special attention to the employment of young people, and the Crawley youth employment committee was pressing industry to expand training facilities. In early 1961 only two out of 1,262 school leavers were unemployed, and at Christmas 1960 some 65 per cent of boys and 59 per cent of girls who had left school that year had been placed in posts leading either to indentured apprenticeships or day-release courses. (fn. 9) Nevertheless by the early 1980s it had become apparent that 'attempts to solve a threatened shortage of opportunities for school-leavers . . . increased the demand for labour; attempts to solve the labour shortage by importing workers only generated large numbers of future school-leavers'. (fn. 10) It was perhaps because local skills could not match local opportunities that despite the increasing influx of non-resident workers in the 1970s unemployment, following national trends though below the national average, rose from 1 per cent in 1970 to 6.4 per cent by 1983. (fn. 11) In early 1986 it was 5 per cent, said to be the lowest of any town in Great Britain. (fn. 12)

Existing industry

Crawley was already a centre of manufacturing industry, particularly light engineering, when the new town was designated. In 1949 there were 1,529 people employed in manufacturing, of whom 506 worked in machine tool manufacture and engineering, 420 in aircraft repair, 240 in motor repair, 175 in metalworking, and 130 in plastics. (fn. 13) More were employed in service trades including 636 based at Three Bridges station, (fn. 14) where employment later fell to 40 by 1981. (fn. 15) Existing firms shared, at least at first, in the growth of the new town, employing 2,500 in 1956 and 2,700 in 1959. (fn. 16) Crawley Industrial Products (Crawley Tools) employed between 300 and 400 people in 1949. (fn. 17) Hellerman Electric Co. Ltd., established in 1948 and employing 130 in 1949 in making plastic sleeves for the electrical trade, had moved by 1971 to Gatwick Way where as Bowthorpe & Hellerman Ltd. it employed nearly 1,000, making cable identification and cable-fixing products and thermoplastic mouldings. The firm claimed that every British aircraft then flying included one of its products. (fn. 18) In the 1970s the firm moved most of its operations out of Crawley because of a labour shortage, but as Bowthorpe plc it still had a works in Gatwick Road in 1985. (fn. 19)

Building and related trades were the town's most important industry in 1949, employing c. 800 people. Besides the large firms of James Longley & Co. Ltd. and Richard Cook & Sons Ltd. (fn. 20) there were 4 other firms of builders, 9 jobbing builders, and 4 firms of joiners and carpenters. (fn. 21) Construction work for the new town greatly boosted employment in the trade, but with the completion of the original planned neighbourhoods and the slower development of new ones employment in building and civil engineering declined from 3,000 jobs in 1956 to 1,200 in 1962. (fn. 22)

New industies

The master plan 'plonked industry down in an isolated area'. (fn. 23) It designated a single zone of c. 260 a. north-east of the town for industrial development. The land was fairly flat and near to the sewage works, and flanked the London-Brighton railway, whence sidings could be provided; it was also close to Gatwick and Three Bridges stations, to the main London road, and to the proposed motorway. Medium and light industry was to be west of the railway and any heavy industry on 44 a. east of it, a distinction not followed in practice. A green belt would screen the area from the ring road. Service industry was to be sited near Crawley and Three Bridges stations and each neighbourhood centre. (fn. 24) It was assumed that manufacturing industry would eventually employ 8,500 workers. (fn. 25) The first section of the industrial area was opened in 1950 by Princess Elizabeth, duchess of Edinburgh, who named the main carriageway Manor Royal, (fn. 26) a name later applied to the whole industrial estate. (fn. 27)

The development corporation specified six or seven industries whose labour requirements could be easily met, including engineering, woodworking, printing, and the manufacture of food, drugs, and electrical goods. (fn. 28) It planned to bring to the town firms whose employees would mainly be men, which paid high wages, and which took a progressive attitude. (fn. 29) Since Crawley was the only new town south of London, was developed during the economic boom following the Second World War, and provided space both for factories and for workers' housing, the corporation had no difficulty in attracting such firms. (fn. 30) Sites were offered on lease to larger firms who wished to build their own factories; in addition, the corporation designed and built standard factories of various sizes which could be let to smaller firms. (fn. 31) The corporation planned to build small and large factories next to each other to ensure that no part of the industrial area should be looked on as a section of small men or small industries. (fn. 32) In fact, however, the larger works lined Manor Royal, Fleming Way, and Gatwick Road, while smaller factories were mainly on minor roads at the rear of the thoroughfares.

The first ten years saw rapid progress in establishing factories. By March 1950 sites for four large factories of 10-25 a. had been let to three firms, and four standard factories had been built. (fn. 33) By 1951 provision had been made for 18 firms, of which one employed over 1,000 workers, four between 100 and 200 each, three between 50 and 100 each, and the rest under 50. (fn. 34) In 1953 there were 14 firms involved in engineering, 4 in making electrical goods, 5 in printing, 3 in making detergents, glassware, and food and drugs, and 3 in woodworking. (fn. 35) By 1958, when the new factories covered nearly 2 million sq. ft. of floor space, there were also 4 firms making plastics products and 4 engaged in metalworking; engineering and electrical trades still predominated. (fn. 36) That was still true in 1962, with 31 out of 78 factories engaged in engineering and 13 in electrical and electronic work; in addition the plastics industry occupied 9 factories, printing 7, food and drugs manufacture 7, woodworking 5, metalworking 5, and the clothing trade one. (fn. 37)

In 1964 there were thought to be two firms each employing over 1,000 people, six employing between 500 and 1,000, 12 employing between 250 and 500, 36 employing between 50 and 250, and 22 employing fewer than 50. (fn. 38) By then new industries employed nearly 16,000, almost double the number originally planned; 82 factories and 40 extensions had been built, providing over 3 million sq. ft. of floor space. In the next ten years the area of factories increased by half and employment in new firms reached a peak of c. 22,000. The slumps of 1974-6 and 1980-1, despite recovery in between, reduced industrial employment (fn. 39) which in 1984 was estimated at 22,300. (fn. 40) Nevertheless the number and extent of new and enlarged factories continued to grow, though more slowly. By 1984 a total of 156 completed factories was claimed, with 476,900 square metres (over 5 million sq. ft.) of floor space. (fn. 41)

The range of industries had changed little. In 1985 firms in Crawley (including those outside the industrial area) comprised 44 in metalworking, metal goods manufacture, and mechanical engineering; 43 in electronics, making electrical goods, and electrical engineering; 31 builders and building material suppliers; 12 in printing and publishing; 8 in chemical and drug manufacture; 7 in the glass, plastics, rubber, and synthetics industries; 4 in woodworking; 2 in the textile, clothing, and footwear trades; and 2 in packing and paper goods manufacture. (fn. 42)

Although the development corporation was anxious to avoid the risks to employment of dependence on one or two large firms, a few Crawley firms, mostly among those established in the first ten years after designation, have usually accounted for a high proportion of industrial workers. Several of them grew rapidly in the 1950s and 1960s, but some were taken over by outside concerns which in the late 1970s and the 1980s reduced production in Crawley.

One of the largest firms was the A.P.V. Co. Ltd., a family company founded by Richard Seligman (1878-1972), which supplied processing equipment to the brewing, dairying, and allied industries. In 1949 it began to investigate a move from Wandsworth (Surr.) and four other sites around London to Crawley. Encouraged by the development corporation's willingness to rehouse its London employees, it leased a site in Manor Royal in 1950. Its operations moved there in three stages in 1952, 1955, and 1956. (fn. 43) It was later claimed that A.P.V. brought 1,500 families to Crawley. (fn. 44) The move coincided with a fall in profitability, and in 1956 the Crawley works suffered the first large strike in the firm's history. Its fortunes, however, began to recover in 1957 and except for 1963 its turnover and profits increased steadily for the next twenty years. (fn. 45) In 1962 the firm became a subsidiary of A.P.V. Holdings Ltd. (fn. 46) In 1965 more land was leased and the works extended to over 400,000 sq. ft., an eighth of all new factory space in Crawley. There were further extensions in 1968 and 1971. (fn. 47) The Seligman family gave up the chairmanship in 1977. (fn. 48) In 1984 the site was occupied by APV International Ltd., with 1,600 employees, making and supplying both plant and process engineering services to the dairy, food, and chemical industries, and by APV Paramount, a foundry company with 350 workers making high alloy steels. Vent-Axia, by then another A.P.V. company, had a site nearby from 1958. Most of the group's employees in Britain, however, worked outside Crawley in 1984. (fn. 49)

W. C. Youngman Ltd., makers of industrial trucks and builders' plant, leased a 10-a. site in Manor Royal in 1949 and began production there in 1951 with 187 employees. By 1964 the factory had over 500 workers. The founder died in 1968, and in 1984 the firm was a subsidiary of the SGB Group Ltd. (fn. 50)

W. Edwards (London) Ltd., a south London vacuum-pump maker, arranged to move to Crawley in 1953 and opened a works with c. 300 employees on a 9½-a. site in Manor Royal in 1954. In that year it became a public company as Edwards High Vacuum Ltd. An extension of 45,000 sq. ft. was added in 1959, and in 1963 the firm became Edwards High Vacuum International Ltd. After the death of the founder it was taken over in 1968 by the British Oxygen Co. Ltd., which had had a factory in Crawley since 1959, and in 1970 Edwards became a division of that firm. Employment in the Crawley works reached a peak of c. 600 that year, later reduced to c. 450 in 1985, when it was a subsidiary of BOC Ltd., a member of BOC plc. The main products were then secondary vacuum pumps, special pumping systems made to customers' specifications, and small vacuum systems for laboratories; three quarters of production was exported. Other work had been transferred to the firm's works at Eastbourne (acquired in 1957) and Shoreham-by-Sea (acquired 1963). (fn. 51)

Silentbloc Ltd., a subsidiary of T. V. André, automotive engineers, opened a factory in Manor Royal c. 1954 for manufacturing anti-vibration components for vehicles and industrial machinery. The works was extended in the 1960s, when it employed between 250 and 400 workers and was the headquarters of the André Silentbloc group. About 1980 the company, with c. 400 staff, was taken over by the BTR group. The workforce in Crawley had been reduced to c. 200 by 1985, partly because the site was no longer a head office. At the same time, however, the factory was re-equipped and the range of products extended to include, for example, aircraft engine mountings, although bearings and mountings for railway trains, marine engines, road vehicles, and industrial plant remained more important. (fn. 52)

Telcon Metals Ltd., an alloy and metal product manufacturer, was formed from the metals division of the Telegraph Construction and Maintenance Co. Ltd. of Greenwich (Kent) and moved to a 10-a. site south of Manor Royal in 1955. BICC Ltd. bought it in 1959. An enlarged sheet metal shop was built in 1957, the laboratories and the foundry were extended in 1958 and 1967 respectively, and a cooling tower was built in 1973. The firm employed over 500 in 1965 and 1970, but its workforce later declined to 475 in 1975, 414 in 1980, and 234 in 1985, when 2½ a. of the site were sold. In 1983 the management bought the company and continued trading as a private limited company which in 1985 made alloys and metal products for the electronics, electrical, aircraft, automotive, and instrument industries. (fn. 53)

M.S.E. Precision Instruments Ltd. (later MSE), centrifuge and scientific equipment maker, moved its staff of c. 90 from the east end of London to a works on the south side of Manor Royal in 1955. Concentrating on export, the firm grew rapidly, employing between c. 250 and 500 people in 1964 and over 900 at its peak in the early 1970s. It was taken over by Fisons Ltd. in 1972 to form part of Fisons' scientific equipment division. In the later 1970s MSE was losing money; Fisons transferred production to Uxbridge (Mdx.) and reconstructed MSE as a marketing company, with c. 85 employees in Crawley in 1985. (fn. 54)

Redifon Ltd., a subsidiary of the Rediffusion Organization and a manufacturer of flight simulators and advanced training devices, moved from Blackfriars, London, to Crawley in 1954 and occupied its present site in Gatwick Road in 1957. The main factory was extended from 90,000 sq. ft. in 1957 to 230,000 by 1985. A second works was established in 1974 and two more in 1975, with a total of 103,000 sq. ft. Employment increased from c. 450 in 1954 to c. 750 in 1959, c. 1,400 in 1963, and c. 1,800 in 1979, falling back to c. 1,300 in 1985. The firm's style changed to Rediffusion Simulation Ltd. in 1980. In 1985 besides the main works in Gatwick Road it or its associates had works in Crompton Way, Kelvin Way, Gatwick Road, and Manor Royal. (fn. 55)

Mullard Equipment Ltd., a division of the Philips group, moved from London to a large site bounded by London Road and Manor Royal in 1961 to make electronic and telecommunications equipment. The works was extended to 312,000 sq. ft. in 1966. As M.E.L. Equipment Co. Ltd. the firm employed over 1,000 in 1964, almost 2,000 in 1971, and c. 2,250 at its peak in the 1970s. The style changed to MEL in 1981. In 1985 the works, with c. 2,000 employees, produced mainly electronic components and systems for military purposes, medical and industrial particle accelerators, optical components, and optical character readers. (fn. 56)

Although several of the larger firms experienced takeovers from the later 1960s and contraction from the later 1970s, smaller firms were more severely affected by the depression. Of firms on the industrial estate in 1964, fewer than a quarter of those which then had over 250 employees had disappeared altogether by 1984, whereas almost three quarters of those with between 50 and 250 employees had gone. Very small firms with fewer than 50 employees in 1964 proved somewhat hardier; just under half had disappeared by 1984. Of the firms existing in 1964, those which were longest established were more likely to survive. Three fifths of those which had been established in Crawley in the earlier 1950s were still there in 1984, compared with only two fifths of those established in the later 1950s and earlier 1960s. (fn. 57)

The Crawley Industrial Group was founded c. 1953 as a pressure group for companies wishing to accelerate the building of houses, roads, and schools in Crawley. By 1960 there were c. 70 members. The group negotiated regularly with the development corporation. In the early 1960s the corporation underestimated the growth of industry in the new town, and the Industrial Group in 1964 brought direct pressure to bear on the Ministry of Housing to get more houses built. (fn. 58) The group, by 1985 renamed the Crawley and District Industries Association, was still voicing similar concerns in 1986. (fn. 59)

Trade unionism developed rapidly in the 1950s. Some incoming firms, such as A.P.V. and Edwards High Vacuum, were already unionized, but the Amalgamated Engineering Union (later the Amalgamated Union of Engineering Workers) in particular was active in recruiting members in other firms. A committee which it started is alleged to have organized the rent strike in 1955. Union membership reached a peak in 1962, then declined. (fn. 60)


In the 1970s the spread of warehousing was the most notable new feature of Crawley's economic development; it was only in part a result of the growth of Gatwick airport. Warehouses encroached on land formerly reserved for factories. In 1972 a transport firm completed a 90,000-sq. ft. warehouse in the industrial area. (fn. 61) By 1973 the demand for warehousing and storage exceeded that for factories, and the Commission for the New Towns agreed that a 100,000-sq. ft. factory should be converted to a warehouse. (fn. 62) A total of 72,000 sq. ft. of warehouses was built in the 1970s, excluding those on Gatwick airport; 29,000 sq. ft. were for regional distribution, 24,000 were for purposes related to the airport, and only 4,381 were for the use of local industry. (fn. 63) Moreover three quarters of new factory space was for ancillary storage rather than manufacturing; the proportion increased in the late 1970s. (fn. 64) In 1981 the Commission for the New Towns completed the Gatwick International Distribution Centre in Gatwick Road, with 17 warehouses providing 11,680 square metres of storage; the centre was particularly aimed at the needs of Gatwick. (fn. 65) While warehouses and factory stores consumed much land, they employed few people. (fn. 66)


From the late 1950s the growth of Crawley has been distorted by the development of an international airport on, and from 1974 within, its boundary. In 1948 the development corporation was alarmed by suggestions from the Ministry of Civil Aviation that the small airport of Gatwick should be raised to international status; it feared the constraints on the height of buildings and a distortion of the employment pattern. (fn. 67) When the proposal was revived two years later, the corporation regarded it as incompatible with the proper development of the new town; it hoped that the airport would be retained as a base for private and charter flying. (fn. 68) By 1952 the corporation had withdrawn its objections and a public inquiry was set up. (fn. 69) In 1954, following the inquiry, the government decided to expand the airport for continental services. (fn. 70) Queen Elizabeth II opened the new airport in 1958. (fn. 71) By 1960 it employed at least 1,300 people and the development corporation had provided 628 subsidized dwellings for airport staff. (fn. 72) Further housing problems were foreseen in 1961. (fn. 73) In the 1960s Crawley industrialists complained that competition with the airport made it hard to attract workers, and that high airport wages caused people to leave skilled jobs in industry for unskilled airport work. (fn. 74) The Commission for the New Towns in the early 1970s continued to express anxiety about housing problems and labour shortages expected from the airport's further expansion; by 1971 Gatwick employed 7,300 people, and by 1972 c. 9,300. (fn. 75) One effect of the airport's growth in the 1970s was a need for warehouses, which the commission felt obliged to meet. (fn. 76) In 1979 the British Airports Authority agreed not to build a second runway at Gatwick within 40 years. (fn. 77) In the early 1980s, however, proposals were accepted to increase the number of passengers that the airport could handle. A satellite terminal was opened in 1983. A public inquiry was held in 1981 to assess whether a second main terminal to increase the airport's capacity from 16 million passengers a year to 25 million should be built. The borough council, fearing unemployment, supported the scheme, West Sussex county council opposing it for fear of overemployment; industrialists again claimed to suffer from competition with the airport for labour. The government approved the proposed terminal in 1982, when already 11 million passengers were passing through each year; in the early 1980s the airport was the fourth busiest in the world. It then employed c. 14,000 people, of whom fewer than a third lived in Crawley, and 15,740 in 1985. (fn. 78)

Nevertheless the airport's growth was providing opportunities for local companies, particularly those engaged in warehousing, office work, and catering. Most airport-related activities c. 1980 involved fairly well established local firms which had moved to nearby sites. Six in every seven firms depending on the airport, however, were branches of larger companies. (fn. 79) The borough council planned that firms serving the airport should be within the airport boundary to reduce competition for land in Crawley's industrial areas, (fn. 80) where in 1985 several such firms, notably caterers, were nevertheless established.


The 1960s and early 1970s saw a rapid increase in the building of offices in Crawley. By 1962 the development corporation had completed only 55,000 sq. ft. of offices; the Commission for the New Towns claimed that it had completed 321,000 sq. ft. of offices by 1965, 621,000 by 1971, and 726,000 by 1976. (fn. 81) Although the figures for the 1970s seem to have been exaggerated, (fn. 82) the increase was proportionately far greater than that in factory accommodation. Notable buildings, besides those for local government, included a four-storeyed block south of Three Bridges Road for the Westminster Bank, completed by 1963; (fn. 83) the 120,000-sq. ft. headquarters of Woodhall Duckham Construction Ltd. completed in 1965 to employ 520 people; (fn. 84) a 144,000-sq. ft. national headquarters at Three Bridges for the Paymaster-General's office, completed in 1969 (fn. 85) and extended by 52,500 sq. ft. c. 1975; (fn. 86) a large office block above the new railway station, opened in 1968; (fn. 87) and 47,150 sq. ft. of offices above Sainsbury's store in the town centre, opened in 1970. (fn. 88) Other very large office blocks were being proposed in 1973; the large British Caledonian headquarters at County Oak was a prominent feature by 1981. (fn. 89) More office blocks were built in the early 1980s, mainly in Crawley High Street, Station Road, and Station Way. (fn. 90)


A survey of 1949 counted 177 shops in the new town area, including 99 in Crawley High Street; (fn. 91) the existing shops were adequate only for basic needs. (fn. 92) The Crawley chamber of trade, founded in 1939, opposed the designation of the new town because it thought that compensation for shopkeepers would be inadequate, and because it feared the development corporation's powers under the New Towns Act, 1946, to build and run a towncentre store. (fn. 93) In fact the master plan gave little attention to shopping problems. There was to be a small shopping centre with at least 20 shops in each neighbourhood. (fn. 94) The shopping area in the town centre was to cover 30 a. including the High Street and the area east of it; space for 573 shops would be provided if there were no large shops, although a department store was foreseen. (fn. 95) It was claimed, however, in the early 1970s that Crawley still had no good department store. (fn. 96) The development corporation compulsorily purchased 76 shops in Crawley High Street in 1950, reletting them to the occupiers on 21-year leases. (fn. 97) In the neighbourhoods the corporation was faced with the problem whether to build houses before shops, making shopping difficult for the inhabitants, or shops before houses, depriving the first traders of a market for their wares. In Langley Green, for example, the first policy was followed; in response to local criticism, at Ifield neighbourhood the shops were built first. (fn. 98) The earliest neighbourhood shops were finished in 1954, with 7 at West Green and 13 at Northgate. (fn. 99) Broadwalk in the town centre, with 23 shops, was opened later that year. (fn. 100) By 1956 the corporation had built 73 shops in the neighbourhoods but only 26 in the town centre; (fn. 101) it began to concentrate on correcting that imbalance. By 1958 some 140 new shops had been finished in the centre and 108 in the neighbourhoods. (fn. 102) Nevertheless there was then only one shop to every 110 people in the new town, compared with a national average of one for every 68 people; there were far fewer shops in neighbourhood centres than at, for example, Harlow (Essex). (fn. 103) By 1960 the corporation had completed its shop-building programme in the town centre. By then the town served as a regional shopping centre; a survey in 1960 showed that most cars parked in the centre came from a wide hinterland. (fn. 104)

By the late 1960s many neighbourhood shops had been taken over by 'multiples', which had less stake in the community. Conflicts arose between neighbourhood traders and the town-centre businessmen; the latter, mainly professional people in service trades rather than retailers, controlled the chamber of trade and wanted to divert as many shoppers as possible to the centre. (fn. 105) At the same period the Commission for the New Towns encouraged large chain stores to build and open supermarkets in the centre. Marks & Spencer opened a store in Queensway in 1968; Tesco Stores Ltd. bought a store in Queens Square in 1969, when it was the company's largest; Sainsbury's moved to premises adjoining Marks & Spencer in 1969. (fn. 106)

From the 1970s the shops in the town centre were threatened with competition from hypermarkets outside the new town. The commission successfully opposed a plan for such a market at Pease Pottage (in Slaugham) in 1973, and again when it was revived between 1978 and 1981. (fn. 107) It also decided in 1975 to expand the town-centre shopping area southeastwards towards Haslett Avenue to provide by 1981 a further 500,000 sq. ft. of shopping space and a multi-storey car park. (fn. 108) Because the scheme was delayed by public spending cuts, by 1983 only the 10 new shops north of Haslett Avenue, which included large stores for C & A and Mothercare, were trading. It was decided in 1981 or 1982 to sell the site south of the avenue for private development, (fn. 109) which had not taken place by 1985. A hypermarket at Three Bridges was proposed in 1986, perhaps partly to counter the attractions of another opened in that year at Hookwood (Surr.) 3 miles north of Crawley. (fn. 110)

The Crawley consumers' association was founded in 1962 as a branch of the national Consumers' Association. It survived until 1971, publishing a quarterly magazine, Crawley Choice. (fn. 111)


  • 1. Minoprio, 'Master Plan', 7.
  • 2. C.D.C. 9th Ann. Rep. 1956, 144; below.
  • 3. Manchester Sch. of Econ. and Soc. Studies, xxviii. 140.
  • 4. C.D.C. 15th Ann. Rep. 1962, 154.
  • 5. Crawley Boro. Dist. Plan: Rep. of Surv. (1981), p. 17.
  • 6. Ibid. 18.
  • 7. C.D.C. 15th Ann. Rep. 1962, 154.
  • 8. Urban Studies, v. 46.
  • 9. C.D.C. 13th Ann. Rep. 1960, 155; 14th Ann. Rep. 1961, 161.
  • 10. Clarke and Stoppard, Crawley Expansion Study, 83.
  • 11. C.N.T. 8th Ann. Rep. 1970, 30; 21st Ann. Rep. 1983, 29.
  • 12. The Times, 7 Feb. 1986.
  • 13. C.D.C. research section, 'Surv. of Ind.' (1949), 306 (reverse nos.) (copy in Crawley Ref. Libr.).
  • 14. Ibid. 305.
  • 15. Crawley Observer, 15 Apr. 1981.
  • 16. C.D.C. 9th Ann. Rep. 1956, 144; 12th Ann. Rep. 1959, 164. Later figs. are not available.
  • 17. 'Surv. of Ind.' 306.
  • 18. Ibid. 305; Crawley Official Guide (1971-2), 128.
  • 19. Inf. from Mr. Kay; Ind. in W. Suss. (W. Suss. C.C., 1985).
  • 20. Above, Ifield, intro.; econ. hist.
  • 21. 'Surv. of Ind.' 304.
  • 22. C.D.C. 9th Ann. Rep. 1956, 144; 15th Ann. Rep. 1962, 154.
  • 23. Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', R. Marsh, p. 1.
  • 24. Minoprio, 'Master Plan', 7-8, 40-2.
  • 25. Ibid. 39.
  • 26. C.D.C. 3rd Ann. Rep. 1950, 55.
  • 27. e.g. Crawley, ed. Gray, 37.
  • 28. Building, 16 June 1972, p. 109.
  • 29. C.D.C. 8th Ann. Rep. 1955, 139.
  • 30. Crawley, ed. Gray, 33.
  • 31. Ibid.; C.D.C. 3rd Ann. Rep. 1950, 58.
  • 32. Building, 16 June 1972, p. 109.
  • 33. C.D.C. 3rd Ann. Rep. 1950, 75.
  • 34. Idem, 4th Ann. Rep. 1951, 129-30.
  • 35. Idem, 6th Ann. Rep. 1953, 143.
  • 36. Idem, 11th Ann. Rep. 1958, 154, 169.
  • 37. Idem, 15th Ann. Rep. 1962, 152-3.
  • 38. Crawley Ref. Libr., C.D.C. reps. binder, C.N.T. list of ind. firms in Crawley, MS. annotations, 1964.
  • 39. C.N.T. 2nd Ann. Rep. 1964, 11, 16; 11th Ann. Rep. 1973, 34; 12th Ann. Rep. 1974, 34, 37; 14th Ann. Rep. 1976, 33; Crawley Boro. Dist. Plan: Rep. of Surv. (1981), 17.
  • 40. C.N.T. 22nd Ann. Rep. 1984, 28.
  • 41. Ibid. 29.
  • 42. W. Suss. Industries Dir. of Products (W. Suss. C.C., 1985).
  • 43. G. A. Dummett, From Little Acorns: A Hist. of the A.P.V. Co. Ltd. 1, 121, 140-1, 147-8, 228.
  • 44. Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', Rob. May.
  • 45. Dummett, From Little Acorns, 172-8, 189.
  • 46. Ibid. 182-3.
  • 47. Ibid. 191, 223, 226.
  • 48. Ibid. p. ix.
  • 49. APV International Ltd. (information leaflet, 1984); J. Goepel, Devel. of Crawley (Crawley, 1980), App.
  • 50. C.D.C. 3rd Ann. Rep. 1950, 75; 4th Ann. Rep. 1951, 115, 129-30; Ind. in W. Suss. (W. Suss. C.C., 1985); Crawley Ref. Libr., C.D.C. reps. binder, meeting, 9 Apr. 1960, 13th speech of Sir Thos. Bennett; ibid. C.N.T. list of ind. firms in Crawley, MS. annotations, 1964; plaque in factory foyer.
  • 51. Inf. from the firm (1985); Goepel, Devel. of Crawley, App.; Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', E. R. Wallis, p. 1.
  • 52. Inf. from the firm (1985).
  • 53. Inf. from the firm (1985).
  • 54. 'Brief Hist. of MSE' (TS. supplied by MSE, 1985); Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', R. Marsh; ibid. C.D.C. reps. binder, C.N.T. list of ind. firms in Crawley, MS. annotations, 1964; inf. from the firm.
  • 55. Inf. from the firm (1985); Ind. in W. Suss. (W. Suss. C.C., 1985); Computing Age, Jan. 1986, 48-50.
  • 56. Crawley Official Guide (1971-2); Crawley Ref. Libr., C.D.C. reps. binder, C.N.T. list of ind. firms in Crawley, MS. annotations, 1964; Ind. in W. Suss. (1985); inf. from the firm.
  • 57. Crawley Ref. Libr., C.D.C. reps. binder, C.N.T. list of ind. firms in Crawley, MS. annotations, 1964; Ind. in W. Suss. (1985).
  • 58. C.D.C. 11th Ann. Rep. 1958, 160; Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', R. Marsh, p. 1.
  • 59. The Times, 7 Feb. 1986; Crawley Ref. Libr. files, 23 Sept. 1985 (ref. from Mr. Kay).
  • 60. Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', Alf. Pegler; ibid. E. R. Wallis, p. 1; for rent strike, below, public servs. (housing).
  • 61. C.N.T. 10th Ann. Rep. 1972, 15.
  • 62. Ibid. 11th Ann. Rep. 1973, 12.
  • 63. Crawley Boro. Dist. Plan: Rep. of Surv. (1981), 23.
  • 64. Ibid. 21.
  • 65. C.N.T. 20th Ann. Rep. 1982, 17.
  • 66. Crawley, ed. Gray, 37.
  • 67. C.D.C. 1st Ann. Rep. 1948, 26.
  • 68. Idem, 3rd Ann. Rep. 1950, 61.
  • 69. Building, 7 July 1972, 87-8.
  • 70. C.D.C. 8th Ann. Rep. 1955, 149.
  • 71. Idem, 11th Ann. Rep. 1958, 155.
  • 72. Idem, 13th Ann. Rep. 1960, 154.
  • 73. Idem, 14th Ann. Rep. 1961, 159.
  • 74. Crawley, ed. Gray, 36.
  • 75. C.N.T. 8th Ann. Rep. 1970, 14; 9th Ann. Rep. 1971, 6, 20; 10th Ann. Rep. 1972, 14.
  • 76. Idem, 14th Ann. Rep. 1976, 10; 20th Ann. Rep. 1982, 17; above.
  • 77. Crawley Official Guide (1983), 79.
  • 78. Second Terminal, Gatwick: Public Enquiry, 85 (copy in Crawley Ref. Libr.); Crawley, ed. Gray, 37; 'Boro. of Crawley: Outline' (1983), 5; Gatwick Airport Master Plan Rep. (1983), 4, 6, 8, 21; C.N.T. 21st Ann. Rep. 1983, 21; British Airports Authority Ann. Rep. and Accts. 1984-5 (ref. from Mr. Kay).
  • 79. Crawley Boro. Dist. Plan: Rep. of Surv. 20.
  • 80. 'Crawley in the 80s' (Crawley B.C. planning div.), 2 (copy in Crawley Ref. Libr.).
  • 81. C.N.T. 1st Ann. Rep. 1963, 16; 3rd Ann. Rep. 1965, 29; 9th Ann. Rep. 1971, 41; 14th Ann. Rep. 1976, 36.
  • 82. The area claimed as completed was later revised downwards to 41,670 square metres (453,000 sq. ft.) by 1984: idem, 15th Ann. Rep. 1977, 35; 17th Ann. Rep. 1979, 28; 22nd Ann. Rep. 1984, 29.
  • 83. C.D.C. 15th Ann. Rep. 1962, 156; C.N.T. 1st Ann. Rep. 1963, 12.
  • 84. C.N.T. 2nd Ann. Rep. 1964, 6; 3rd Ann. Rep. 1965, 13.
  • 85. Idem, 5th Ann. Rep. 1967, 22; 7th Ann. Rep. 1969, 23.
  • 86. Idem, 13th Ann. Rep. 1975, 18.
  • 87. Above, communications; above, pl. facing p. 64.
  • 88. C.N.T. 8th Ann. Rep. 1970, 15.
  • 89. Idem, 11th Ann. Rep. 1973, 13, 19; Crawley Observer, 28 May 1981.
  • 90. Inf. from Mr. Kay.
  • 91. C.D.C. research section, 'Shopping Facilities in Crawley' (1949) (copy in Crawley Ref. Libr.).
  • 92. Ibid. 12.
  • 93. Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', L. Giles.
  • 94. Minoprio, 'Master Plan', 28-30.
  • 95. Ibid. 61.
  • 96. Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', E. Ibbotson, p. 1.
  • 97. C.D.C. 3rd Ann. Rep. 1950, 162.
  • 98. Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', E. Ibbotson, p. 1.
  • 99. C.D.C. 7th Ann. Rep. 1954, 162.
  • 100. Idem, 8th Ann. Rep. 1955, 141.
  • 101. Idem, 9th Ann. Rep. 1956, 142.
  • 102. Idem, 11th Ann. Rep. 1958, 169.
  • 103. Ibid. 157; V.C.H. Essex, viii. 151.
  • 104. C.D.C. 14th Ann. Rep. 1961, 161.
  • 105. Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', E. Ibbotson, p. 1.
  • 106. C.N.T. 7th Ann. Rep. 1969, 23.
  • 107. Idem, 12th Ann. Rep. 1974, 18; 16th Ann. Rep. 1978, 21-2; 19th Ann. Rep. 1981, 21.
  • 108. Idem, 13th Ann. Rep. 1975, 17.
  • 109. Idem, 19th Ann. Rep. 1981, 21; 20th Ann. Rep. 1982, 17; 21st Ann. Rep. 1983, 20-1; 22nd Ann. Rep. 1984, 21 and pls.
  • 110. Inf. from Mr. Kay.
  • 111. Crawley Ref. Libr., 'Devel. of Community Life', Gillian Pitt, pp. 1-3; ibid. E. Ibbotson, p. 1.