This Sunday, Crawley Museum will be officially opening at its new location in the High Street. The project is the culmination of eight years’ effort, several million in investment—most of which from the Heritage Lottery Fund, and countless hours of work by volunteers, the museum’s staff members and council officers. It will be exciting to see the final result.
The project itself was kicked off under the Conservatives and at the time many of us were concerned about the council taking on expensive new commitments while our grant was being cut year-on-year. Yet, with the funds committed, under Labour the council has continued to dedicate itself to ensuring the new museum will be a success.
I believe that learning about our local history is an important part of understanding the community we live in, where it has come from and where it is going. This was something we were lucky to get a taste of at Holy Trinity, where Roger Bastable, Crawley’s preeminent historian and himself an important figure in the development of Crawley Museum Society, was one of our teachers.
In the years since, I have continued to enjoy reading and listening to the memories of early New Towners and hearing about the villages which once existed where the town now stands. In many ways, Crawley’s story is the story of Twentieth Century Britain and beyond.
Today, we are a prosperous, diverse town and we are continuing to grow as we seek to meet the housing needs of local people and the economic potential of our area. Crawley’s story is certainly not over, but as we celebrate the opening of our new and much improved town museum we have the opportunity to take stock, to feel proud of our past and look with growing confidence to our future.