Key facts about East Grinstead
East Grinstead is a town in West Sussex. It is located near the borders with East Sussex and Kent, 28 miles south of London and 21 miles north of Brighton. Home to over 26,000 people according to the 2011 census, its neighbouring towns include Tunbridge Wells, Reigate, Redhill and Crawley. The town is home to several historic buildings and is situated on the Greenwich Meridian.
Historic architecture and attractions
East Grinstead is home to various 14th-century timber-framed buildings. It also plays host to famed buildings like Sackville College, where John Mason Neale penned the carol Good King Wencelas. Close to the college are Ashdown Forest and St Swithin’s Church. The Greenwich Meridian runs through the East Court mansion grounds. The East Grinstead Society was founded in the late 1960s to protect the area’s many important historic buildings. The Winnie the Pooh stories are set in Ashdown Forest. The Bluebell Railway is another leading East Grinstead attraction and plays hosts to steam trains.
East Grinstead in the war
The town was a target for German bombers in the Second World War. Two bombs fell on East Grinstead in July 1943, and 108 people were killed. This was the biggest death toll in any single Sussex air raid. The Queen Victoria Hospital was used as a specialist burns unit during the second world war and offered innovative treatments including reconstructive plastic surgery. There is a statue of the pioneering plastic surgeon Sir Archibald McIndoe outside Queen Victoria Hospital. During the war, he worked for the RAF to treat personnel suffering from burns.
The Guinea Pig Club
The Guinea Pig Club was founded at the hospital in 1941 and quickly offered a valuable support network for aircrew and their families. It continues to offer support to Guinea Pigs to this day, with meetings taking place in various East Grinstead locations. The hospital remains a leading provider of burns treatment services.
More key East Grinstead attractions
Other big attractions in the area include the East Grinstead Town Museum, which was relocated to a brand new building in 2006. The Chequer Mead Community Arts Centre hosts theatre shows, opera, ballet, music, talks and rock bands as well as art exhibitions. The Weir Wood Reservoir is popular amongst locals and visitors alike. A big draw for sailing fans, it’s home to a nature reserve and a diverse range of wildlife. It has Site of Special Scientific Interest status.
East Grinstead travel
Gatwick Airport is located ten miles from East Grinstead, and Redhill Aerodrome and Biggin Hill Airport can be reached within half an hour. The local railway station was redeveloped and re-opened in the early 2010s.
More interesting facts about East Grinstead
As the Greenwich Meridian line runs through the local town council building, staff can move from the East to West hemisphere as they move around it. West Sussex, the county that’s home to East Grinstead was voted as one of the ten best places for pensioners to live in the UK in a survey. Many people are surprised to learn that West Grinstead is actually 45 minutes away from East Grinstead.
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