SLIDESHOW: Crawley pubs from the sun to the moon

Crawley folk of more mature years will be familiar with the old joke that the town boasted the longest road in the world – it ran from the sun to the moon.

Or, more accurately, the Sun Inn to the Half Moon Pub.

The opening of Crawley Leisure Park in 1999 not only saw the end of the Sun, it also put paid to a perfectly good joke!

This week’s collection of pictures are of Crawley pubs in days gone by and come courtesy of West Sussex Past Pictures (

The first picture shows the off licence and Wagtail Cafe at the back of the Black Dog pub, in Northgate, c1955.

While the pub itself is still going strong, the cafe closed down long ago followed, more recently, by the off licence – though the buildings themselves still stand empty.

Photo number 1 should be recognisable, even though the building and the surrounding area have changed dramatically in the 110 years since the picture was taken.

It is 101 High Street – better known as the Old Punch Bowl pub - and is one of the original timber-framed Wealden buildings which made up the High Street hundreds of years before the new town was born.

Note the lack of The Boulevard in the background.

According to the caption, the building - known as The Old Houses - was restored in the 1920s and became the Punch Bowl restaurant (also known as the Punch Bowle).

It was taken in 1952 over by the National Provincial Bank - then National Westminster Bank – before re-opening as a pub in 1994.

The aforementioned Sun Inn can be seen in photo number 2 – the picture was taken in 1905 – while the nearby Rising Sun Inn is shown in pictures 3 and 4.

Picture 4 was taken in 1979, the year before the building was demolished. At that time it was home to Crawley Cleaners and Claire’s Records, though it used to be the North House School - run by John Owen Conlan – after the Rising Sun Inn closed.

Photo number 5 is believed to have been taken outside The Plough, in Three Bridges, and shows a group heading off on a charabanc outing in 1924. The blackboard in the centre reads: “The Plough outing to Maidstone Sept 7th 1924”.

Does anyone recognise and grandparents or great-grandparents?

Of all the pubs in Crawley, arguably the biggest change was made to the Fox Hotel, opposite Three Bridges station.

Whereas now the Snooty Fox is safely set back from traffic, the old Fox saw visitors step out of the pub and onto a narrow footpath right next to the road.

Luckily, when picture number 6 was taken in 1910, traffic was a rarity so anyone who may have had a little too much to drink was in little danger of wandering in front of a bus.

Finally, photo number 7 shows the pub in Tilgate Park before it was transformed into a Smith & Western restaurant. The picture was taken in 1983 when the pub was affectionately known as the Inn in the Park or even the Pub on the Pond.

The building stands on the site of the Victorian estate’s old mansion house, which was demolished in the 1950s.