About the area:
Crawley is a town and local government district with Borough status in West Sussex, England. It is 28 miles (45 km) south of London, 18 miles (29 km) north of Brighton and Hove, and 32 miles (51 km) northeast of the county town of Chichester, covers an area of 17.36 square miles (44.96 km²) and had a population of 99,744 at the time of the 2001 Census.
The area has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and was a centre of iron-making in Roman times. Crawley developed slowly as a market town from the 13th century, serving the surrounding villages in the Weald; its location on the main road from London to Brighton brought a steady passing trade, encouraging the development of coaching inns. It was connected to the railway network in the 1840s. Gatwick Airport, now one of Britain's busiest international airports, opened on the edge of the town in the 1940s, encouraging commercial and industrial growth. After the Second World War, the British Government planned to move large numbers of people and jobs out of London and into new towns around South East England. The New Towns Act 1946 designated Crawley as the site of one of these. A master plan was developed for the establishment of new residential, commercial, industrial and civic areas, and continuous rapid development greatly increased the size and population of the town in a few decades.