This film is part of Free

Royal visit to Crawley

Crawley is about to receive a very special visitor in this film from 1950 and decks itself accordingly with flags and bunting for this special Royal occasion.

Amateur film 1950 8 mins Silent

From the collection of:

Logo for Screen Archive South East


Princess Elizabeth visits Crawley in this amateur compilation from 1950. Starting with trains on Balcombe Viaduct we next see headlines announcing the Royal visit. The Royal entourage arrives at an outdoor service attended by Bishop Bell of Chichester, after which the Princess officially opens the Manor Royal Business Park and visits a new housing estate. Crowds and dignitaries gather in Crawley High Street before we finally see the town centre decked out in bunting.

This film captures that period when the old town of Crawley was about to expand into what was called Crawley New Town - a direct consequence of the 1946 New Towns Act. By 1949, despite court challenges, a plan was made to develop the land between the villages of Crawley, Ifield and Three Bridges. Nine residential neighbourhoods fanned out from its centre while a seperate industrial area, called Manor Royal, was built to the north of the town. It was the official opening of the latter which features in this film. One can see that the new town's roads had been laid out and constructed before any buildings actually existed on those sites and this was a feature of such planned developments.