A West Green Wander

Kev Neylon
8 min readMay 14, 2022

I was at a loose end on a Saturday for a change, so it was time for another Crawley wander. I was heading (nominally) for St Peter’s Church for their book sale. It was a bright morning when I set out, and as I turned onto the path at the end of my close, I was greeted with a sight of a green tunnel, a view that would make you think you were in the middle of the country, and not in the middle of a load of houses.

I head down Southgate Road and laugh (again) at the sign for the new house behind and the lack of imagination of the road being called Southgate Road Gardens. They have a gate across the entrance to the houses now. Probably to stop nosey gits like me going down there to have a look. I wonder if they had a vote on whether to put a gate in. And if the one house outvoted curses their neighbours every time they have to stop and open the gate (and close it behind them) every time they leave or come home.

Carrying on I turn into Brighton Road, passing as I often do the sign for Godolphin Court, and wonder if it is just a misspent youth (and probably adulthood as well) that every time I do, all I can think of is racing horses.

Passing the big boarded up house, the question enters my mind of whether whatever is being done there will ever be finished, and we’ll be able to see its grandeur again.

Looking at the former Imperial Cinema building I also wonder if they will ever have the retail units originally planned for the ground floor level.

I do love the locally listed building Nightingale House (now a solicitor’s office) on the corner of Springfield Road, one of those I take a picture of every time I pass.

On the other side of the road is the signal box, and I take the time to notice the plaque on it (which I hadn’t seen before) and note that the view of the side of the signal box is ruined by the billboard in front of it. And note that it is worse than usual at the moment as it has the waste of skin that is Piers Morgan on it.

As I amble up Springfield Road, I take time to notice the variety of styles and ages of the buildings along there.

And one named Crawley Hotel, which looks as if it has seen better days.

As I cross over the level crossing, I feed another compulsion and take photos of the tracks in both directions. I will get caught out by this one day and be caught by the barriers coming down as I’m mid shot in the middle of the tracks. But not today.

Because I know it is there, I take a detour to snap the blue plaque to Sir Charles Court on Albany Road

Before heading towards to church and past the Swan. We went in a couple of weeks ago and were surprised how nice the refit was. Granted a couple of people with us weren’t impressed having known it from their youth, but I really liked it.

I took pictures of the conservation area street signs

And the church

Before going in.

I hadn’t been inside the church before, and so spent the first five minutes in there taking photos of everything I could (as another obsession kicked in, this one with church interiors).

Before looking at the books. There were lots and I like to think I showed restraint by only buying an unlucky thirteen. There were some boxes that looked as if they could have been my bookshelves in the nineties or noughties (especially the box full of Dean Koontz books).

When I came out there was a helicopter overhead. They are looking for me again.

And looked back towards Southgate and home it would appear that Bill’s mother lives there.

I change the filter on the camera to get the red pop of the phone box and pillar box outside the church before heading on.

I take a slow walk around the loop of St Peters Road and St Johns Road, and back up past the (now for sale) Smugglers Cottage

And to another blue plaque, this one to Sarah Robinson, tucked away on the new builds behind Asda.

I carry on along Ifield Road and onto the High Street, where there are photo opportunities every few yards. Two more blue plaques. Roger Bastable.

Mark Lemon.

St John’s Church.

The George.

Ancient Priors.

The White Hart.

A plaque on Prezzo (why couldn’t they have gone instead of Ask).

The listed phone boxes outside the Jubilee Oak (the red pop didn’t work quite as well on these).

And the Brewery Shades.

Before heading towards Wilkos, where in a first for me I remembered to take a picture of both the blue plaque to Richard Browne

And the statue he created on the side of the building on the same day.

After some shopping I head towards home, and as I do I walk toward the station and Overline House. Now, naively when I saw work starting on Overline house I was under the impression they were going to be tearing the whole building down. So, it was somewhat of a surprise to see they have put modern glass fronting on one side of the ground and first floors. Definitely not what I was expecting.

I cross over the iron footbridge, when the plates with the bridge number on have both been covered by hemp sale stickers. Them being there does make me wonder what exactly they are expecting to crash into the footbridge. I mean, it’s not as if we’re going to get a stray Godzilla or King Kong rampaging through the town, is it?

Yes, I take photos each way as I cross over the train tracks.

The new flats next to the station entrance on East Park look as if they are coming along well and it can’t be long before they are being populated.

As I head up Malthouse Road towards home, I notice two things. One which is there most of the time. The wonderful Hanging (basket) Gardens of Crawley.

And at the end of the spur off Malthouse Road opposite Brewers Road I wander up and take a look as when passing it recently it looks to have changed, I could have sworn it ended sooner than it does now (a view shared by my better half). But going up and looking around I can’t see how it could have done. There are two houses down there beyond where I thought the end was, and they are not new, and then road markings suggest it’s always been that way. It’s strange how the mind remembers things.

For other pieces on Crawley, click on the link below.

Crawley Wanderings

32 stories

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Kev Neylon

Writing fiction, travel, history, sport, & music blogs. Monthly e-zine with all kinds of writing at www.onetruekev.co.uk. All pictures used are my own.