Campaigners against plans for a second runway at Gatwick say they are appalled at the possible demolition of ancient buildings if one is built.
On Saturday 26 April the Charlwood History Group visited a number of fine historic buildings which would be demolished if a new runway were to be built at Gatwick.
Patrick Cox, chairman of the Charlwood Society said: ‘If this were ever to happen it would be a tragedy for our local district, and for our heritage. We must see that it never happens.’
40 members of the Society packed into three mini-buses for a tour of the area where a new runway is planned. According to Gatwick Airport eighteen listed buildings would need to be demolished. That includes five buildings listed by English Heritage as ‘Grade 2 star’ which puts them among the 6% most important historic buildings in England.
As well as the Elizabethan building, Charlwood House (main picture), the group also visited:
· Rowley, dating from around 1200, and owned at one time by the Culpeper family whose grand-daughter Catherine Howard, fifth wife of Henry VIII, was executed when she had an affair with her cousin Thomas Culpeper.
· The Beehive – the first Gatwick terminal built in 1936 when the aerodrome had grass runways. ‘It is ironic that this airport building now listed as of great historic interest would be destroyed by a new runway,’ said Patrick Cox.
· Hyders, now renamed the Gatwick Manor Inn, recorded as the home of Richard ate Hyde in 1263. During a break for tea, the History Group were able to admire the open hall built in the days before chimneys were invented.
· The church of St Michael and All Angels. Now sadly surrounded by warehouses and radar masts, the church is all that remains of the village of Lowfield Heath demolished in 1974.
All the buildings were in the Parish of Charlwood until a boundary change in 1974 moved them into Crawley.
The tour was led by local history enthusiast, Brendon Sewill who, as Chairman of GACC, is leading the campaign against a new runway.
Henry Smith, MP for Crawley, joined the party for part of the tour.
The Charlwood History Group is a part of the Charlwood Society.