Portal:West Sussex

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West Sussex is a county in the south of England, bordering onto East Sussex (with Brighton and Hove), Hampshire and Surrey. The county of Sussex has been divided into East and West since the 12th century, and obtained separate county councils in 1888, but it remained a single ceremonial county until 1974 and the coming into force of the Local Government Act 1972. Also at this time the Mid Sussex region (including Haywards Heath, Burgess Hill and East Grinstead) was transferred from East Sussex.

West Sussex is a diverse county; it is well known for its gastronomy, stately homes and castles such as Arundel Castle and Bramber Castle. Over half the county is protected countryside, offering popular walking and cycling ground for visitors and residents alike [1].

Most settlements in West Sussex are either along the south coast or are situated in the M23 corridor. Crawley and Worthing are the largest settlements in the county, with populations of approximately 100 000 inhabitants each. Next in size order comes Horsham, a market town, followed by the coastal towns of Bognor Regis and Shoreham-by-Sea. Chichester, the county town, boasts a cathedral and city status, and is situated not far from the border with Hampshire. Other towns in alphabetical order are Burgess Hill, East Grinstead and Haywards Heath in the Mid Sussex district, and Littlehampton in the Arun district. The smaller towns of the county include Midhurst, Petworth, Pulborough and Steyning.

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Goff's Park House, Crawley, winter scene

Crawley (About this sound pronunciation ) is a town and borough in West Sussex, England. It is 28 miles (45 km) south of Charing Cross (London), 18 miles (29 km) north of Brighton and Hove, and 32 miles (51 km) north-east of the county town of Chichester. Crawley covers an area of 17.36 square miles (44.96 km2) and had a population of 106,597 at the time of the 2011 Census.

The area has been inhabited since the Stone Age, and was a centre of ironworking in Roman times. Crawley developed slowly as a market town from the 13th century, serving the surrounding villages in the Weald. Its location on the main road from London to Brighton brought passing trade, which encouraged the development of coaching inns. A rail link to London opened in 1841.

Gatwick Airport, nowadays one of Britain's busiest international airports, opened on the edge of the town in the 1940s, encouraging commercial and industrial growth. After the Second World War, the British Government planned to move large numbers of people and jobs out of London and into new towns around South East England. The New Towns Act 1946 designated Crawley as the site of one of these. A master plan was developed for the establishment of new residential, commercial, industrial and civic areas, and rapid development greatly increased the size and population of the town over a few decades.

The town contains 13 residential neighbourhoods radiating out from the core of the old market town, and separated by main roads and railway lines. The nearby communities of Ifield, Pound Hill and Three Bridges were absorbed into the new town at various stages in its development. In 2009, expansion was being planned in the west and north-west of the town, in cooperation with Horsham District Council. Economically, the town has developed into the main centre of industry and employment between London and the south coast. Its large industrial area supports manufacturing and service companies, many of them connected with the airport. The commercial and retail sectors continue to expand. Read more...

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West Sussex news

Current news may be found on the BBC web pages for Sussex.

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Michael John Elphick (19 September 1946 – 7 September 2002) was an English actor known in the UK for his trademark croaky voice and his work on British television, particularly his roles as the eponymous private investigator in the ITV series Boon and later Harry Slater in BBC's EastEnders. He was nominated for a BAFTA Award for Best Supporting Actor for his performance in Gorky Park.

In his prime, Elphick always looked older than he was, and with his gruff Cockney accent and lip-curling sneer he often played menacing hard men.

Elphick struggled with a highly publicised addiction to alcohol; at the height of his problem he admitted to consuming two litres of spirits a day, which contributed towards his death from a heart attack in 2002. Read more...

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