This film is part of Free

New Town Story

A fascinating narrative film about the development of Crawley, from early days to its post-war transformation into a New Town.

Amateur film 1955 16 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


This fascinating account of Crawley's expansion was filmed ten years into the UK's post-war New Towns development programme. After some introductory imagery we see overcrowding in a domestic scene contrasting with views of construction sites and new buildings, including schools, shopping centres, housing and factories. We also see Crawley Football Club in action, activities at a youth centre and a parade of carnival floats – one of which has an Orwellian theme.

As the film shows, Crawley's population expanded from 9,000 in 1945 to 29,000 just ten years later. In 2011 the town's population had risen to an estimated 107,100.