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Sunday, April 26, 2009

Queens Park Crewe April 2009

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Old Pictures of Queens Park Crewe

The old pictures of the Queens Park Crewe are printed with kind permission of Gordon Davies who I have known for over 30 years. They are taken from his books Memories of Crewe which can be obtained from any good book shop. He has a series of books showing Crewe life through the years.

The Queens park Lake

The picture of the Lake in 1947 note the Tipkinder slag heap which is now the Skatepark top left

The Home Guard in the Queens Park 1940

The old pavilion before it was burnt down

Cottage Hospital fete 1906 crowds watching tightrope walking across the lake

Queens park 1988 you can see the band stand and pavilion to the left and the clock tower top right

1910 the pavilion and the war memorial which was unveiled in 1903 the pavilion was burnt down by arsonist in 1970
The park in its infancy 1906
The pavilion 1904 from across the lake
Boer war statue
The main walk way 1914
The main entrance to the Queens Park
The park in the 1900 used for swimming as the baths werent built until 1937
The old bridge across the lake at the turn of the century
The old bridge across the lake June 1988
More pictures of the lake with the island in the center

Friday, April 24, 2009

Councillor Andrew Knowles answers your questions



I asked Councillor Andrew Knowles about readers comments and he quickly replied and has answered question from our readers as it comes under his portfolio.

Will the bird house pets corner be restored
Will the water fall be restored
Coronation walk was a major feature will that be restored
Will fishing and boating still be possible
There is mention of structural changes but no mention of gardening changes like redesign of beds new trees etc.
Will the play area be upgraded
Will the greenhouse be back at the park
When will it all be completed

Councillor Andrew Knowles

The responses are as follows:-

Pets Corner- the original structure and pets within it were abused on a regular basis, a replacement is not envisaged as part of the Heritage Lottery Funded package of works.

Water fountain – this item was derelict and an eyesore and has been demolished. A replacement will not be provided. This area requires clay to be deposited to support the retaining wall which will take place in the next few weeks.

Coronation Walk- this area will be restored following the completion of the Broad Walk bridge (part of the Wrekin works package)

Boating and angling will be available when the lake has been restored (part of the Wrekin package of works)

New planting will be undertaken when the hard works have been completed

Play area will be improved and relocated towards the end of the programme ie end of 2010

The green houses were redundant and have been demolished; they will not be replaced although the new depot has a poly tunnel for bedding plant to be used in the park

Completion date in the legal agreement with the HLF is 31st December 2010 which can be complied with as long as existing tenders for building works and completion of Bridges and Lake Edges (formerly Wrekin works) are promptly processed by Cheshire East Legal Financial and Procurement Officers and the works do not have to be retendered in accordance with emerging Cheshire East contract and financial rules.



I hope that the above information is sufficient.

Any more questions let us have them and we will put them to Andrew. Its sad that pets corner that has kept kids happy for over 50 years wont be rebuilt due to yobish behavior, so the yobs have won?

Keep your questions coming in you can contact us via the main site http://www.crewetown.co.uk/queenspark/

Tuesday, April 14, 2009

Queens Park Trees

One of the main components of the Queens Park that no one really looks at is the trees. They form the basis of the design and are just there in the background and often over looked. But there are some magnificent trees to be seen. These pictures were all taken on Easter Monday 2009, you can take pictures of the park and two weeks later it can look so different as the trees change the background.


This old tree is next to the bowling green and childs play area and must be very old now it just dominates the landscape

By the lake but taken from across the other side with a telephoto lens you can see the shape and colors of some of the trees near the old bridge to Burma Island


Near to the cafe again taken from the other side the weeping tree is marvelous this time of year and it show the empty lake


This is a tree next to the cafe and its shape is very unusual its a marvelous tree climbed by kids for years


This conifer tree near the lake shows not only the tree but the mud piled up behind it that was taken from the lake which is now like a mountain on the top part of the park. What they will do with it is anyones guess

Thursday, April 9, 2009

New Park Manager



Elaine Dodd is the new Queens Park manager. The new post is seen as a key role in helping to transform the Victorian park to its former glory.

Delays in the redevelopment project have proved frustrating for the officers involved and loyal users of the park.

It is hoped an announcement will be made shortly as to whom the selected new contractors are who will continue with works stalled when contractor Wrekin went into liquidation.

All that is happening at the park at the moment is the new railings are having their third coat of paint.

More Queens Park photos from 2008


Above the Ducks enjoy the sun its surprising they are still here


Above the lake filled up with rain water 19/06/2008 it looks tranquil


Above taken 2/9/2008 as they dredge the lake and remove the mud


Winter comes to the Park in these two pictures

Wednesday, April 8, 2009

About the Queens Park



Victoria Pavilion - burnt down 1972


Queens Park Crewe

Welcome to the "Jewel in the Crown", the lovely Queens Park, with walkways, trees and shrubberies, boating lake, activities and interesting history...



THE DEDICATING OF QUEENS PARK
There was much excitement on the afternoon of the 4th July 1887 as the people of the town celebrated the Dedication of Queens Park, in conjunction with Queen Victoria's Jubilee and the local Jubilee of the opening of the Grand Junction Railway 50 years ago.
Visualise and imagine the atmosphere created that day. A large number of Venetian masts, streamers and flags were placed along Victoria Avenue and all around the park and town. Banners with "Best Wishes"messages were hung from buildings and an array of other carefully constructed decorations could be seen.
At 2.30pm the streets were lined with spectators expectantly awaiting the arrival of the Grand Procession, the highlight of which was the
"Fireman's Arch". This was formed, by the Crewe Volunteer Fire Brigade, at the entrance to Victoria Avenue The arch was constructed from fire escape ladders, decorated with bunting, shields, mottos and the Town Council's Coat of Arms. Six men manned each fire escape under which the procession passed, on its way to the park.
Sir Richard Moon, Bart., the Chairman of the Railway Company, conducted the proceedings of the Dedication on behalf of the London North Western Railway Co. To mark the occasion, he was presented with a scroll of parchment, enclosed in a beautiful silver casket, enrolling him as the First Honorary Freeman of the Borough. A cascade of balloons and a firework display concluded the day's celebrations
A year later, on Saturday 9th June 1888, the Park was officially opened to the public by HRH The Duke of Cambridge KG who, at the time, was the Field Marshal Commander-in-Chief for the Cheshire Volunteers and was presented with a suitable gold key.
Today, the Park retains the original Victorian layout as designed by
F W Webb and Edward Kemp, at a cost of £10,000 on behalf of the
LNWR Its total 45 acres is oval in shape, with a principal axis.
subsidiary cross axis and a man-made lake. Cast Lodge
An 1882 map shows the site of the park lo be spread over 11 fields and part of the sewerage works, which were closed in 1874. The straggling Valley Brook passes through the park and leaves the site on the south west corner A straight footpath crossed the site and connected West Street, with the park, via Coppenhall Hayes, as Victoria Avenue had not yet been constructed.
George Latimer, the first Custodian of the Park from 1888 to 1906. who was succeeded by Lawrence Morgan from 1906 to 1935, contributed greatly with his forestry expertise, leading to the acknowledgment that today Queens Park is one of the finest Parks in England. Another notable contributor was Herbert W Probert whose

Original Diving Boards and Changing Huts

duties commenced from 1935 to 1960. He was responsible for the laying out of the neighboring King George V Playing fields and the Coronation Walk, to commemorate the Coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937. This is a landscaped walkway, through rock gardens beside a small stream, which leads from the lake and winds up to the aviary.
From 1960 to 1984 the park's Superintendent was Colin Farmer, who re-located the greenhouse and designed such additions as the Burma Star Island Memorial, the Scented Garden and the Jubilee Cafeteria Terrace. It has been rumoured over the years that the LNWR gave the land to prevent the Great Western Railway from building a station in the area. However, this is thought to be local rumour only as we know that the LNWR were originally seeking to construct the line from Crewe to Chester, which would run alongside the Valley Brook. However, the ground was not firm enough and a more Northerly route was chosen. Had this gone ahead it would have taken the land used for Queens Park. An entry, in the Minute Book of the Board of Directors of the LNWR. on the 18th December 1886, refers to the area being given for
a public park. Politics or not. we may never know. It is only certain that Sir Richard Moon's wishes, in his Dedication speech, for the park to provide pleasure and happiness to the community for generations to come, has to date been fulfilled.




Above Coronation Walk

TRADITIONAL BOATING LAKE

A notable feature is the four and a half acre. man-made lake, which has been beautifully landscaped into the park. Its source is the Valley Brook, which runs out of view under the lake, until it reappears on the adjacent golf course.
It was originally formed by "grading in" from existing banks and leveling off to a depth of five feet. By "puddling" the clay bottom it was made watertight and a dam at the west side was erected. Four bridges, originally wooden, and surrounding paths make a popular walking circuit around the lake. After the cultivating of Valley Brook, which improved the quality of the water, swimming was permitted. By the west island the water area was deepened to ten feet and a diving board and changing huts were provided but eventually removed in 1936.


In 1913 a wormscrew was made in Crewe Works to aid the filling of the lake and this is still very much in use today and relied upon.

On the south side of the park was the Volunteer Rifle Range with the 800 yard firing point situated near to the Gas Works entrance of the adjacent Railway Works. The range crossed the future site of the blast


furnace tip, which is now the Tipkinder Park. The target butts were on the Valley Brook bank, to the south of Burma Star Island.
During the last war the lake was considered a possible location aid for German aircraft bombing the factories, so in October 1940 the water was drained out and the bottom camouflaged with evergreen branches Other branches were placed over the greenhouse, however, by April the evergreens were removed and the water replaced. It now transpires that such action was taken too late, for at the end of September 1940 the Germans had taken an aerial photograph of Crewe, showing '10K0M0TIV/FABRIK" L.M.S.R" and "FLUG-MOTOIEWWERKE, ROLLS ROYCE LTD". This also shows anti-aircraft barrage balloon sites at the Old Bandstand, Queens Park Petrol Station, opposite to St Mary's Catholic Church. Leighton Park and Badger Avenue close to Ford Lane. The Ring Road around Queens Park and the band of trees inside are in addition to the lake, all very distinctive from the air.


During the renowned Winter of 1963. the ice was so thick that skaters took to the lake. In the evening the area was floodlit and hot food vans were well patronised.


BURMA STAR ISLAND
In 1968 the island in the middle of the lake was re-levelled and landscaped with new paths and seats, and dedicated as a permanent Memorial to the Allied Forces who fought in the Burma Campaign during World War II.
The Memorial Stone, which was transported from the excavations of the ICI Works at Runcorn, has the famous Kohima epitaph;-
"When you go home tell them of in and jay for their tomorrow we gave our today"
OTHER INTERESTING FACTS

It is interesting to note that it is said that the fossilised remains of a Tulip Tree, a Lepidodendron. dated back to the Ice Age - of the Devonian period, some 320 million years ago. is located in the path which leads from the Cafetena down to the lake. The fossilised tree was given to the Park by John Knott when he was Mayor of Crewe in 1888/9.
As a contrast just along the path, beside the Coronation Walk bridge, is a twisted Willow, now at least 30 years old with its fascinating, contorted shape.
Additionally, one of the oldest pieces of local history is sited along the Coronation Walk path, it is a piece of Aberdeen
Peaceful walkways granite, a very
special remnant from the glacier age some 500 million years ago. It was discovered when the foundations for the original Company works were being excavated
During the last war. both the flowerbeds and greenhouses contributed towards community welfare, producing seedlings of various vegetables. In 1941, approximately 35,000 onions and crops consisting of l,049lbs of tomatoes and 512 cucumbers were grown, all of which were sold to 3,470 local people.


SOUTH AFRICAN MEMORIAL

Memorial plaques are on the four faces of the monument, containing lists of those who left the town of Crewe to undertake militiary duty in South Africa. The north facing pediment has the former Arms of the Borough with the motto "Never Behind" inscribed below the dates
1899-1902. The bronze figure of Tommy Atkins, with rifle, bandoleer belt, pouch and water bottle, stands to attention at the top of the monument. On either side of the base, lying down, are two full-size stone lions. At the front of the monument, the magnificent bronze engine model designed by F W Webb, once stood. This is now now proudly displayed in the foyer of the Municipal Buildings.




VICTORIAN HERITAGE
Behind the monument is the Jubilee Cafeteria, which opened on 12th June 1977, together with the new Bandstand This more modem structure replaced the original Victorian Pavilion which was burnt to the ground on the night of the 29th December, 1972. The Senior Fire Officer reported there had been a possible electricity fault. Because the water mains had been fractured by frost, firemen pumped water up from the lake and although they worked throughout the night, it was to no avail.
On Sunday afternoons throughout the summer, there is a long tradition of brass bands performing in the park, this has continued to this day providing music to suit all tastes and ages.
At the other end of the main drive, at the Park's entrance, stands the prominent Clock Tower 1888 which was donated by employees of the Railway company. Unveiled by James Middleton, who had the distinction of driving the first train into Crewe fifty years prior to the clock donation. The tower is topped by an elaborate support to a weather vane. At the base of the tower, on either side, there used to be two drinking fountains with brass cups on chains.
Adjacent to the Clock Tower are two stone and timber lodges, built between 1887 - 1888 by John Brooke; not quite a pair, as the design of the West Lodge incorporates a Bell Tower. An inscription at the first floor level of the West Lodge commemorates the opening of Victoria Avenue by the Commander-in-Chief H.R.H. The Duke of Cambridge. Look on the lodge for the spider, its web and a tree, a design pun on Francis William Webb. The inscription at first floor level of the East

Lodge commemorates the Jubilee of Queen Victoria and the 50th Anniversary of the opening of the Grand Railway Junction. You will notice a painting of a bat, moon and tree, in yellow and green -another punT this time on Sir Richard Moon Bart, Chairman of the LNWR Company. The red sandstone used for both lodges came from the railway cuttings that go down to Lime Street Station, Liverpool. These buildings are contained on the Department of the Environment's list of buildings of special architectural and historical interest Grade II.
An impressive ornamental iron gateway stands at the entrance where the Lodges are located. The side gates contain the date of the Parks dedication 1887 and the main gates have a royal crown in their design supported by four red stone gateposts.

Tuesday, April 7, 2009

Virtual Tour of The Queens Park

The regeneration of the Queens Park has come to a halt as the contractor has gone bankrupt. This is a virtual tour of the state of the park April 2009. We can then show you updates as they happen once the new contractor starts work.

We start at the entrance by the BMX track and enter the park


We come to the children's area and the old shelter which is in need of restoration.


Turning to our right there used to be green houses with lots of plants for the park during the summer months this has all gone now


Down to the lake which has been drained and the islands trees removed first is the top end near the golf coarse


Then the main part near the entrance


The bridge to Burma Island has been removed but the footings for the new bridge are in ready


We then come to the Cafe and the memorial



The path down to the band stand and the bird houses has been removed but again new footings are in ready


We then come to the main entrance


On the right is the tribute to Diana



We cant turn left as its fenced off but we can see what was the wall garden and little pool



What was the Corination walk down the the bird houses has all been removed



Up the hill we have the garden for the blind which is still going but no one can get to it



Finally we come to the old Band Stand were there used to be bands playing on a Sunday in the summer



Walking around we come to the other entrance which is blocked of and the old shelter is still there in need of repair

Pictures from 2008


Above the digger dredging the park lake. There was tons of mud removed and placed on the grass by the Bandstand


Above the island by the golf coarse taken 16/09/2008 the trees have been removed from the island



Above the old very steep hill that led from the Cafe to the bandstand and bird house since removed and due to be re built

Monday, April 6, 2009

Welcome to Queens Park Crewe Blog


This site was setup to record the restoration of Crewe Jewel in the Crown Queens Park It should have taken a short time but has been hit by disasters of one sort or another so people are asking will it ever be finished? Originally set to be £3.7 million pounds funded mostley by the lottery now its closer to £6.5 million The dredging of the Lake by WM PLant Hire was carried out during August and September 2007 and is now finished. The bridge to Burma island has been knocked down and a new one is to go in. Many trees and bushes have been removed especially on the islands in the lake and this will take years to get back to its former glory. April 2009 and the project came to a grinding halt as the main contractor went into liquidation. There seems little doubt a new contractor will be found but it will delay the project. We will keep you up to date with whats happening with pictures of progress made so you can see whats happening.