This year is a significant point in the story of Crawley. Today’s vibrant, diverse town is 60 years old, a marked contrast to the small settlement of the 1940s. The success of Crawley, that is set to continue into the future, is due to the people who live, work and play in the town.
It is a perfect time to make a monument for the future that honours the Crawley of today, and its people. Prior to the Royal visit in November a project was begun that aims to do just that by creating a new town feature that bears the marks of the people of Crawley. To discover more about any aspect of the project follow the links below.

Overview of the project
The Monument: - The Royal Visit: - The Location:
The People Represented: - The Artists: - How to get involved:

Background to the project

The Queen and the Mayor examine the first part of the work,
while Prince Phillip talks to the artists.
Crawley was granted New town status in 1947 under the New Towns act of 1946, it was one of six such towns. This event marked the beginning of Crawley as an important regional centre.
The Crawley of today is a thriving bustling place, It is a modern town filled with diversity and energy that has come a long way from the small turnpike staging post of the 1800’s. Yet despite this extraordinary growth, hints of Crawleys past can still be found, through its architecture and the layout of the town it is possible to understand some of the changes that Crawley has seen.

Alongside these clues to Crawleys past, The town like many others, has a tradition of making more formal commemorations of particular occasions when everybody comes together to mark special moments in the life of the town or the country. Jubilee Oak in the High Street was planted c.1887 to celebrate Queen Victoria's Diamond Jubilee festivities. Queens square and Queensway were named to commemorate the royal visit of 1958

To continue this tradition a return Royal visit was planned to celebrate Crawleys 60th anniversary as a new town, and a new commemorative feature was inaugurated by the Queen and Prince Phillip to mark the occasion.

For the public reception, at the beginning of the Royal progress around Crawley on the 4th of November 2006, the first part of the new feature, along with a model of the final intended monument, was temporarily exhibited in Queens Square for the Queen and Prince Phillip to inspect. The concept and future location of the work was described to the Royal visitors and they consented to be the first to provide their signatures towards the new monument that celebrates the town and the people of Crawley in 2007.

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How to get involved

We need to collect as many autographs as we can from people living, working or in some way linked with Crawley. To learn more about why we need so many autographs see the section entitled Crawley People Represented.

how you can help:

  • Tell as many local people as you can about the project and our search for autographs.
  • Contribute your autograph, better still those of your friends and family as well.
  • Do you now of someone that you think should be represented, ask them to contribute too.
  • Even better, collect as many autographs as you can and deliver them to a collection point.
  • If you run a Local business, make sure it is represented, get all your staff to contribute autographs - and your clients.
  • help to publicise the project - perhaps by prominently displaying a notice (A .pdf file that you can print out will be available soon for download here)
  • You could even volunteer to become a collection point for public autographs.

Keep looking at this website for news and updates about the progress of the project.

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Crawley People Represented

Why Autographs?
The purpose of the new monument is to symbolise the town of Crawley as part of the substance of Britain, its individuals and its community. The forms of the boulders themselves represent the community and the place, if you like, the collective identity of Crawley.
In order to find a way of representing the actual individuals of Crawley, we considered the people that make up the town and looked for some commonality that everyone has, but is unique to each individual, something that epitomises each persons individuality.

One choice would have been to use photographs, images of people; for many reasons this was far too complicated both to gather and to use within the design. Photographs are also in a way, about being seen from outside, captured by others; photographs are 'taken' - for this monument it is more appropriate that something be 'given'. A token that comes from the person themselves has a very different meaning.

An autograph is a simpler personal mark, we have each developed one that comes from our own understanding of ourselves, we are known by it, relatives and loved ones recognise it.
As a signature it is evidence of the actual presence of a person, touching the paper at a moment in time. From an artistic point of view the autograph is also a mark, a design, a unique pattern, if you like, a drawn symbol of someones own sense of self.

Autographs provided the answer, the ideal starting point for developing a decorative design for the boulders of the new monument.

In gathering autographs, how can we best represent all the people of Crawley?

The ideal would perhaps be to gather autographs from everyone in the town. This is clearly an impossible task, the population in 2001 stood at 100,000 people. If we were to miss a single person it could be seen as unfair, and in terms of the project, a failure.

In addition the population figure only includes residents, it does not take into account the important contribution of those who work and visit the town on a regular basis, or those who have worked on behalf of the town, surely an attempt to represent Crawley should not exclude them.

The answer is to see the collected signatures as a symbolic snapshot of the people of Crawley in the year 2007. To seek autographs from all walks of life and to refuse none. Everybody that wishes their autograph to be used toward the monument will be included, provided that they give one.

To actually make contact with a fair, reasonable and representative cross-section of the people that can honestly be said to represent Crawley is still a tricky proposition. We aim to be as inventive as possible in reaching people, to begin with we will seek help from the usual media sources such as the local papers, and we will work with Crawley Borough Council to reach schools, organisations and societies that they are aware of. We will approach employers, shops and individuals, encouraging everyone to spread the word.

We will establish collection points so that people can submit their autographs in shops and council premises – keep an eye on this site for a collection point near you.

Considering fears regarding identity theft that many may have about contributing their autograph. We make all assurances that any autograph that is submitted will never be stored with any personal details that could be used to identify you. In fact we strongly recommend that all autographs are contributed anonymously, without an attached name or address on small pieces of paper. A signature alone is of very little use for those who might attempt abuse.
Autographs progress so far
So far, apart from the signature of The Queen and Prince Phillip, we have collected initial autographs from people that use Queens Square regularly. We are currently in the process of setting up methods of collecting autographs from as wide a selection of the people of Crawley as possible.

Drop point locations
A separate entry in this website will list all available points for collection of autographs
- click here to see this entry

A separate entry in this website will list major organisations and businesses that have agreed to participate - click here to see this entry

How to get involved
click here to see this entry

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The Monument

A maquette showing the aproximate masses of the planned monument.

Immediately that it was known that the Queen and Prince Phillip intended to visit Crawley to mark the Towns anniversary it became clear that some form of commemoration should be planned to mark the occasion for future generations. Despite the obvious secrecy due to security fears, the council set in motion a selection procedure and sought funding for a project to commission a unique new feature for the town.

The chosen design was presented by Jane Sybilla Fordham and David Parfitt who proposed a work that sought to fix in a symbolic monument, this particular period in the life of Crawley, including its inhabitants as part of the larger British community.

The way they chose to do this was to seek a way of representing the current inhabitants of Crawley, amongst an object that somehow symbolises the nation in time. These two themes developed in parallel, while all the time considering the simplest, most direct ways of combining them.

The Object
Looking back, the earliest form of monument within the British Isles, standing stones, suggested the use of natural boulders. Glacial boulders from Scotland that have been shaped by thousands of years of movement. Smooth, rounded, almost living shapes that perhaps represent individual people, each one self contained but arranged as a group. Like a nest of huge eggs, a clutch, a family, looking forward.
Taking the locality into account it became obviously appropriate to surround the nest with newly planted trees. This nest of boulders, a community in the weald.

As successfully as these forms may, in basic simple terms, symbolise the town of Crawley as part of the substance of Britain, its individuals and its community, the work would still lack the spark that makes them specific to this particular moment and the actual living people that they are intended to commemorate.

To represent the actual people of crawley, each one in some way built into the monument,
we shifted our perspective to consider the individuals that make up the town and looked for something that everyone has, but something that also epitomises each persons individuality. Something that we could, in some way, develop to fit with the boulders.

The answer came in the form of autographs; on the face of it, an autograph is the mark of a person. As a signature it is evidence of the actual presence of a person, touching the paper at a moment in time. From an artistic point of view the autograph is also a mark, a design, a unique pattern, if you like, a drawn symbol of someones own sense of self.

Autographs provided the answer, an ideal starting point for developing a decorative design to cover the surface of the boulders with. Exploring the many ways that autographs could become the basis for recording this moment on the boulders we realised that we were once again following an ancient tradition, petraglyphs, inscriptions in stone. Our task then became clear to find a distinctive, original way to incorporate the autographs of the people of Crawley onto the boulders of the new monument.

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The Royal Visit

The signatures of Queen Elizabeth and Prince Phillip,
the first to be contributed to the memorial.

Section to Include:

The royal Visit

  • Description
  • Images and Royal Signature
  • "The largest signature I have ever done". Royal Quote
  • Movie of the event

A longer version of this video is here
10 minutes 45 seconds long

The text is not yet complete for this section. to be continued

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The Location

Map showing the location of the new monument
The purple pin symbol represents the temporary siting of the first boulder during the Royal visit.
The red marker is located at Broadwalk East - the permanent site of the new monument.
Click on either marker for more information - use the + and - buttons to zoom in or out.

The Location:
The new People's monument is to be permanently located in Broadwalk East, Crawley and is included as part of the renovation of that part of town. The works are scheduled to be completed in the autumn of 2007

The first part of the monument was temporarily exhibited in the centre of Queen's Square for the duration of the Royal visit where it acted as a focus for that part of the Royal walkabout. During a brief ceremony the project was described in detail to the Royal visitors who inspected the first boulder and added their signatures to the project.

Broadwalk East is a small open area adjacent to The Broadway. It is currently in a poor condition, and is cluttered with isolated additions over many years of piecemeal maintenance. It is widely accepted that the area will benefit from the considered introduction of a coherent meditative space with increased tree planting and seating.

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The Artists

We hope to have information about the artists here soon.
In the meantime you can visit the Artists websites.

Jane Sybilla Fordham
David Parfitt

Both links will open in a new window or tab

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A section for comments and questions.

Please click on the 'New comment' link below if you wish to post a comment or question.
All good ideas are welcome as well as any interesting observations.
Try to be as clear as possible regarding what aspect of the project you are discussing.
We will try and answer any questions that you have as quickly as possible, but please bear in mind that this website isn't 'manned', so a reply may take a few days.

All comments and questions that contribute something constructive to the understanding of the project will be moved up into this body of text.
As you are aware public posting boards such as this are prone to being 'spammed', we will do our best to remove offensive or irrelevant messages whenever they appear.

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Related Links

This section is to provide associated links:
If you know of a link that should be here please leave a message on the comment page

Organisations or individuals that are involved in the project

Crawley links

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