The rise and progress of the town and the history of its institutions & people.

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The residents of East Grinstead and the neighbour­hood first began to agitate for railway facilities in 1845. On October 10th of that year a public meeting was held at the Crown Hotel and an influential committee, under the chairmanship of Mr. Robert Crawfurd, of Saint Hill, was formed to facilitate the scheme. Numerous meetings, followed in rapid succession and at a very large gather­ing held on November 6th a decision was come to, but not unanimously, in favour of a branch running from East Grinstead to join the South-Eastern Company's line at Godstone. This gave great annoyance to many of the gentry, who strongly favoured a branch to join the South Coast Company's line at Three Bridges. Encouraged by both the decision and the opposition, surveys were immediately commenced for both lines, and the two Companies named went to Parliament, each with a Bill to secure the necessary powers. The South-Eastern was unwise enough to change the proposed site of its terminus from where the Urban Council offices now stand to a less convenient spot; a public meeting held on March 4th, 1846, protested against the alteration; the Company would not give in, so on the 14th of the same month, at a great public gathering, the inhabitants decided that " owing to the want of straightforwardness in the South-Eastern Company" they would withdraw support from their scheme and transfer it entirely to the Brighton Company's proposals. This was apparently the turning point in the fight between the two Companies, for six days later the Brighton Company's Bill passed a Committee of the House of Commons and that of the South-Eastern Company was rejected. The raising of £106,666 was authorised to carry out the work and duly subscribed, but the railway panic of the following year induced the Company to devote the money to some other purpose, and so the town lost the benefit of both schemes.
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