Letter: Crawley shop’s history

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Your views

Your article of January 22 concerning the closure of the Art Shop in Church Walk after so many years of business in the town was very sad but inevitable given the lack of shopping facilities in the vicinity.

I remember well the original premises, 57 High Street, this being opposite to The George Hotel. In my youth the business was the property of Mr and Mrs Crowe, Reginald Minton, know as Jim, and his wife Marigold. Both were members of the local amateur dramatic society and he was a keen photographer. They lived above the shop, as most shop owners did in the Hight Street.

From their sitting room window there was a fine view of the street from where he photographed many street scene activities. Mr Crowe was also a parish councillor.

When he first took over the business after the end of the First World War he describes himself as a ‘print seller and frame maker’. In later years his stock expanded to include the trappings of what we today associate with an art shop and small china gift items.

In 1954 the whole of the High Street business premises were compulsory purchased by the New Town Commission, with the exception of public houses, so people needed to find other living accommodation, being unable to afford the cost of short term leases offered. For a short while after this Mr Crowe continued his business before retiring.

Nadine Hygate, Essex