In this week’s Crawley Observer there was a letter following up last week’s story about the proposed demolition of the old cinema in Brighton Road.Â I had meant to make some comment on the story at the time and just never got round to it, but not because of the cinema.Not that I have anything against the cinema: it looks like a fine building and I am sure it holds many memories for anybody who has lived here long enough to remember when it still showed films instead of new cars, its just that another part of the proposal caught my attention much more.
The actual plan is for Crawley Down Motors to demolish their showroom, their workshop which backs onto it and No. 8 West Street, a house which also backs onto their property – or as the Observer described it “historic 8 West Street”
And it is historic.Â It is just a fairly ordinary detached cottage, dating from about the 1860s with a tiny garden, but it is the place I lived when I first moved to Crawley.Â So it may not have a blue plaque outside (I checked…Â I have been cruelly overlooked again!) but it looms large in my own personal history and although the bad times there may outnumber the good times I did have some good times there.
To be honest, I half-expected the place to have gone before now.Â It is next to the garage workshops and backs onto the car park behind their showrooms.Â When I sold it to the owner of the garage I thought it possible that he may have plans to use the plot to give access to the car park via West Street or something like that – maybe even to extend the workshops.
I would like to have sold it to a normal family instead, but that was the only offer, and I was in a hurry to have it sold so that I would not have that connection with my ex-wife any more – and of course she also had a say in it.
Maybe the plans will come to nothing, and I rather hope that is the case, but when everybody else is mourning the loss of the old cinema building I shall be regretting the passing of “historic 8 West Street” instead and wishing I had found some way to keep hold of it ten years ago.