Another day, another wander around Crawley. I’ve been living in Crawley for nearly fifteen years, and this is the first time I’m going to be walking around Broadfield. I’ve been to the Barton a few times, but always on the bus.
This time I walk down to K2 and then across the road and behind the line of trees in to Broadfield Park. A lovely space hidden away only by the trees down the side of the dual carriageway, something I’ve missed the countless times. And across the park is Broadfield House, a wonderful Grade II listed building from the 1830s and extended thirty years later.
It feels hidden away again, and in many of the walks I’ve done in the last year, searching out historic buildings there is a common theme in that they are at the periphery of our vision. It makes me think of China Mieville’s “The City And The City”, where we are almost trained not to see the old historic parts of Crawley as the residents of Beszel are conditioned not to see Ul Qoma which shares the same space. There is an expectation that, as a new town, there is no history in Crawley; something I was probably guilty of thinking when I moved here.
I moved on from Broadfield House and made my way over to Woodmans Hill, snapping away at more road signs, and I walk up the hill with a long high red brick wall on the other side of the road until there was a gap and a road into the estate behind the wall. I was particularly after more road signs and this area had a number of London based names.
What I didn’t know was that this whole estate lying between Woodmans Hill and Coachmans Drive is a Guinness Trust estate, which did explain the naming of Guinness Court,
and other names where the roads in this mini estate aren’t named after London Parks: Kensington, St James, Regents, Hampstead, Finsbury & Highgate (a park now overshadowed by its more famous cemeteries next to it).
I spent quite some time wandering around trying to find a sign for London Fields…