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Crawley is a town in West Sussex, England, 28 miles south of London. The area has been lived in since the Stone Age, and was a ironworking hub during the Roman Empire. Crawley grew slowly as a market town from the 13th century onward, serving the surrounding villages. Its location on the main route from London to Brighton brought passing trade, encouraging the establishment of coaching inns. Economically, the town developed into the main center of industry and employment between London and the south coast. Its large industrial area supports industries and services, many connected with the airport.