A Crawley Night Out
in the 40's and 50's
Village Menu Page
Les Pearce was born in Crawley in 1935. Here he recalls the social events that took place in the village, and in particular in the Reading Room.

The Reading Room
"I remember the monthly dances at the Reading Room. We used to do that sort of ballroom type dancing. The bands were really good and people would come from all over to them. I remember when I was very young they used to say to me, "No, you can't come in you're not old enough," so we used to sit up on the sills outside and look in through the window, then, when it got late, my Dad would come and find me and say, "Come on, it's time you were home".

All ages would go to the dances, but for the young ones it was a good place to meet girls. I think that's where a lot of people met their wives. I remember the girls would sit at one end of the hall and the boys the other. If you wanted to dance with a girl you had to go up and say, "May I have the pleasure of this dance?". You had to do it properly. It was nice really, although of course she might say "no"!
The Whist Drive
There was always a Whist Drive on a Monday in the Reading Room and Bill Neale was the M.C. We used to like those Whist Drives. It took us quite a while to learn how to play properly. We used to get in quite a muddle as you had to move around the room sitting at different tables depending on how you were doing. My friends and I were quite young when we started and we always ended up getting in a muddle and sitting in the wrong place. But it was great fun and you could sometimes win a few pence or so. It got really popular at one time. Lots of people would come down to it and then afterwards we'd go across to the White Horse for a drink.
The Cup Final at Mr. Sedgwicks
By the 60's there didn't seem to be so many dances going on, maybe it had something to do with the telly. The first time I ever watched the telly was at Old Mr Sedgwicks who lived at 54 School Lane, where he had an allotment. It was the cup final and we hung about outside his house and then asked him if we could come in and watch it. . He said, "Yeah, so long as you get my digging done first!"