Shock as historic mosaic is found dumped in park

A mosaic originally in Queens Square found dumped in Tilgate Park SUS-170320-130954001
A mosaic originally in Queens Square found dumped in Tilgate Park SUS-170320-130954001

A historic mosaic which once decorated a part of Crawley town centre has been found abandoned in a nearby park.

Civil servant Richard Flynn, 37, stumbled on the mosaic when he was walking through Tilgate Park last week.

Len Baker working on a mosaic in Queen Square, Crawley SUS-170320-130923001

Len Baker working on a mosaic in Queen Square, Crawley SUS-170320-130923001

The mosaic - depicting chess boards and a scene from the Lewis Carroll classic Alice In Wonderland - was lying half covered with debris including a plastic bin and old fridge.

“When I saw it I had a flashback and thought ‘Oh my God, that’s from Queens Square’,”said Richard. “I remember it from when I was about five with my Nan. It was outside the old Abbey National building near the old Boots store on the corner. I was shocked when I saw it.

“Crawley Borough Council are terrible at keeping the history of Crawley and terrible at keeping our heritage.

“The chessboard was one of the most recognisable things in Queens Square.”

The council is currently regenerating the square and plans to move another of its iconic landmarks - the bandstand - into the nearby Memorial Gardens.

The mosaic was originally built back in the 1950s by master mosaic fixer Len Baker, from Carter Tiles.

His daughter Jeannie Smith, 75, from Furnace Green, said her dad had created the mosaic to depict Lewis Carroll’s ‘queens’ as an association with Queens Square.

“When dad spoke about it about 15 years ago he said ‘I suppose they chopped it all up.’ He didn’t even know it still existed.”

She called for the mosaic to be preserved, either back in the square or in the Memorial Gardens.

A spokesman for Crawley Council said: “The mosaic has not been dumped. It’s being stored at Tilgate Park in an outside storage area to the side of the Walled Garden. It has been offered to Crawley Museum Society but they have not taken up the offer. There are currently no plans for rehoming the mosaic.”