|Area: 44.97 kmē|
Crawley is a town and local government district in West Sussex, England. It covers an area of 44.97 kmē and has a population of 104,829 people (2005 census). It is bordered by the Sussex Local Authorities of Mid Sussex and Horsham Districts; and by the Surrey authorities of Mole Valley and Tandridge Districts, and the Borough of Reigate & Banstead.
The area now known as Crawley was peopled by Stone Age, Bronze Age and Iron Age settlers, as remains show. During the Roman times the iron industry flourished. The Saxons first named the settlement craw leah (crow infested clearing); both Ifield and Worth are mentioned in the Domesday Book; Worth church is Saxon. A weekly market charter was granted in 1203.
Crawley's position on the turnpike to Brighton helped to boost its population. It was, however, the coming of the railway in 1848, when the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway opened the line from Three Bridges on the line to Brighton to Horsham railway station that started the real town growth. Some 900 houses were added between the two world wars, bringing the population to around 10,000 people by World War II, mainly clustered around the main London to Brighton road (by then the A23).
Other local developments included the opening of Gatwick Racecourse in 1891; and an aerodrome, later to become Gatwick Airport, opened in the 1930s. Ifield railway station was opened in 1907.