Tales of pubs, rent strikes and that first school photo

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We have an interesting selection of photos for you this week showing three very different stages in Crawley’s history.

First up is the Brewery Shades pub, in the High Street.

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Crawley residents who were around before the new town will remember when the Shades was extended.

These pictures were loaned by Pam Hayes, whose parents Kenneth and Lily Ferns ran the pub from 1953.

Mr Ferns died at the age of 61 just short of his retirement. Mrs Ferns passed away in 2006 at the age of 91.

The first picture was taken in 1953 during the extension of what would be the pub’s off licence.

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Pam was 17 when the family moved into the flat above the pub and she lived there until she married at the age of 20.

She said: “I used to go down and play darts in the bar but I wasn’t allowed to serve customers.”

Pam eventually went to work at Rosina’s in the Broadwalk, which sold ladies clothes and underwear. Once the off-licence opened for business, she went to work there.

She remembers being spooked by the pub’s resident ghost.

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She said: “I never saw it but I used to hear doors closing when there was no one there.

“It could be a bit scary upstairs on your own.”

School in 1930

Years before Pam was playing darts in the pub, a class of five-year-olds were gazing solemnly at the camera for a school photo.

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Their uniforms look much the same as those worn by today’s five-year-olds, but this class of scamps attended the Robinson Road Infants School in 1930.

The picture was loaned by Brenda Langridge, of West Green. Then known as Brenda Parsons, she is fifth from the left on the back row.

Mrs Langridge moved to the area in 1928 when she was just three years old and lived for a while in Three Bridges village.

She said: “At one time they wouldn’t let children from Three Bridges go to school in Crawley. We had to go to Worth and it really was awful.

“I loved it at Robinson Road. Miss Robins was the first year teacher and Miss Church was the head of the infants school.”

Children were able to attend Robinson Road from the age of five up to 14. Mrs Langridge was able to name most of her former classmates.

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The teacher, Miss Robins, is standing at the back. Back row, from left, Alan Campbell, Dorothy Sayers, Roland King, Frank Ringrose,

Brenda Parsons, Ronald Etheridge, Richard Miles, Mary Southern, unknown.

Second row, from left, unknown, Daphne Surridge, Sam Tidy, Ettie Tullett, Margaret Butcher, Veronica Gelson, Arthur Young, unknown, Walter Chipperfield, Alan Peters, Gladys Emery, Fred Blundell.

Third row, from left, unknown, Daphne Williams, Peter Bastable, Stanley Masler.

Front row, from left, Maisie Holmes, Frank Jennings, Jean Hounsome, unknown, Joyce Macey, unknown, June Davies, unknown.

Rent strikes

The final group of photographs show scenes from the rent strikes of the 1950s.

Workers from all over town took to the streets to protest at a council-imposed rent rise.

These pictures belonged to Tony Syrett, of Pound Hill, whose brother worked for Edwards High Vacuum at the time and was involved in the march.

Mr Syrett, who paid a 26-shilling rent on his house when he moved to Crawley, said: “The strike march started in Manor Royal and all the factories were involved.”

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