Search This Blog

Monday, June 22, 2009

Queens Park still more old pictures

Above coronation walk from 1960's
The pool in Queens park
The result of the fire December 29th 1972 and the pavilion burnt down
Children playing out side the original pavilion

A dance troupe in the park 1900

Tuesday, June 16, 2009

Summer Bedding

At the Queens Park the summer bedding is going in and in a few weeks the main walkway will be a blaze of color. We are still waiting desperately for news when the work will start again.There is a meeting with the heritage lottery and Execs from Cheshire
East on Wed 24th June - we are hoping this will clarify things so an announcement can be made.
One thing they hadn't thought of was a webcam for the park and when i suggested it everyone thought it was a good idea as it would bring visitors into the park, they also hadnt budgeted for CCTV for the park. Spending millions on the park with no CCTV is asking for trouble so this has now been added to the list.

Thursday, June 11, 2009

Queens Park 1960's

Pictures from one of our readers taken in the 1960's below the waterfall near the bird house
Below we think is coronation walk but we wonder what the show house was it mentions on the sign
The path leading to the bridge across the lake

Tuesday, June 9, 2009

Queens Park Old Pictures

The Queens park main entrance with the clock tower
Another picture of the clock tower
The old bathing huts west side of the lake near the golf coarse
Old wooden bridge across the lake

Bridge across the lake
The four heads on the clock tower

Sunday, June 7, 2009

Transcript of the Heritage walk around Queens Park 1997

by Howard Curran July 1997

An 1882 map of the area shows farmlands straggling the River Waldron (Valley Brook) covering almost 11 fields, these fields consisting of nearly 50 acres of land would eventually be the nucleus of the Park. The river which meandered peacefully through these farmlands, would one day flow into a newly constructed lake.
How fortunate that over forty years earlier that the railway company instead of building their line to Chester across these pastures, chose a more northerly route through Coppenhall Hayes. Otherwise these fields which are now Queens Park would have been lost in providing the Crewe to Chester line.

However, because a different route was chosen, work was able to commence in 1882 on this "Victorian" Park, being designed by Francis William Webb and Edward Kemp. They enlisted the expertise of George Latimer, a forester by trade, who would become the first Park Curator (1888 - 1906). He experimented with his forestry knowledge by planting many different types of trees, which now add greatly to the charm and attraction of the Park. ; To enable this Park to be constructed, Webb had used his influence with the Chairman of the Railway Company (Sir Richard Moon) to acquire the necessary 50 acres of Company land and £10,000 to build the Park.

It was anticipated that the Park would be completed in time for the celebrations of Queen Victoria's Jubilee and Crewe's own Jubilee celebration. On 4th July 1887, exactly 50 years after the first train had stopped at Crewe, there was great rejoicing in the town to commemorate Queen Victoria's 50 years, especially at the dedication of Queens Park.
The actual opening ceremony would take place 12 months later by HRH The Duke of Cambridge KG on Saturday 9th June 1888. For this ceremony, as well as the Duke of Cambridge, there were Sir Richard Moon, Francis William j Webb, Frederick Cook (Town Clerk), many other dignitaries and the driver of the first train into Crewe, James Middleton.

It has been rumoured over the years that the LNWR Company gave the land to stop the GWR Company building a station in the area. This is very hard to establish all one can say is the nearest GWR line is over two miles away at Shavineton and why build a line over a mile from the centre of Crewe? The one thing that is for sure is that in the Director's Minute Book of the LNWR for 1886, it refers to this area being given for the use of a public park. I suppose some things we will never know. The only certain thing is that in Sir Richard Moon's dedication speech in giving the Park to the people of Crewe, he said "that he hoped that the Park would bring pleasure and happiness to the community for generations to come". That I feel without any doubt has been achieved.

The Park Lodge Gates

There are four gates - east, west, south and the main gate. The main gates are supported by four red sandstone gateposts. Each post has emblems surmounted upon them. The gates themselves are very impressive, made in ornamental ironwork. The two side gates have the date of the dedication (1887) moulded into the ironwork, whilst the main gate is surmounted by a royal crown.

The Park Lodges

On either side of the gates ar the two lodgses buiIt 1887'8 by John Brooke They are
constructed in Stone and timber' the stone being of red sandstone,extracted from railway
cutting that go down Lime St Station Liverpool. The inscription at first floor leval on both lodges commemorate both the dedication and opening ceremonies. Both lodges are buildings of special architectural and historical interest therefore they are both Grade 2 listed buildings.

Not an identical pair, the West Lodge has a Bell Tower and was for use by the chief foreman in charge of the gardeners. Whilst the East Lodge wae built for the Park's Curator. Incidentally,there have only been four Park Curators in the Park's history. The four curators are>
Ceorge Latimer 1888 - 1906
Lawrence Morgan 1906 -1935
Herbert Probert 1935 -1960
Colin Farmer 1960 -1984
(After 1984 the system was changed, with the park being looked after under a different
In the apex of the roof on both lodges facing Victoria Avenue are two unique witticisms on the two people who the park owes its very existence to. On the east lodge is a painting of a bat,moon and tree in yellow and green. A pun oa Sir Richard Moon, Chairman of the LNWR Company. Whilst the west lodge has a spider's web, a tree and a spider, a pun on Francis William Webb.

The Jubilee Clock

On entrance into the Park down Central Drive from the gates stands the impressive Jubilee Clock. Donated by the employees of the Railway Company and built in 1888. The tower has four large clock faces surmounted by an elaborate support for the weather vane. The tower is a Grade 2 listed building and is of stone and brick construction.
Clearly it can be seen within the ornate sandstone and the faces of Queen Victoria (facing
north), the Duke of Cambridge (facing south), Sir Richard Moon (facing east, towards the
Curator's Lodge which contains his pun) and Francis William Webb (facing west towards the Lodge with his pun upon it). At the rear of the clock is a cast iron plaque explaining how the clock tower was donated by the employees of the Company and unveiled by James Middlelon. Middleton was given this honour for fifty years service to the Company, quite an impressive achievement. Even more impressive when its realized that Middleton was the driver of the first train that stopped at Crewe on the 4th July 1837.

The South African Memorial

Continuing along Central Drive, built for horse drawn carriages, the South African Memorial stands impressively in front of the Pavilion. Flanked by a sloping bedding display the statue is 31ft high and made of Labrador and Aberdeen Grey granite. Topped by the life-like figure of Tommy Atkins. The north facing side is the only place where the former Arms of the Borough with the moto "Never Behind" can still be seen.

The Copper bronze plaques on the four sides of the monument give the names of the railway volunteers who served in the Boer War (1899 - 1902). Crewe can quite rightly feel proud that through the railway volunteers they were able to send more men to the Boer War than any other town in England or Wales of comparable size.

The Jubilee Pavilion

The Cafeteria standing behind the Memorial is aptly named the Jubilee Cafeteria to commemorate the Jubilee of Her Majestry Queen Elizabeth II, being officially opened on 12th June 1977.

This modem structure along with the bandstand was built to replace the Victorian Pavilion which unfortunately had burnt down. The front page of Crewe Chronicle told the sorry tale about the original Pavilion on Thursday 4th January 1973 with the following report. A Senior Fire Officer told the Chronicle that possibly an electrical fault was the cause of the fire, early on Friday morning, 29th December 1972, that had destroyed the Park Pavilion.
To make matters worse, it seems that water mains had been fractured by frost and, although firemen pumped water from the lake, it was to no avail and by the grey light of dawn very little was left of the 1887 Pavilion.

The Fossilized Tree

At the rear of the Cafeteria where the two paths combine with the main path, overlooking the lake, a fossilized tree can be found. It is said that this tree dates back to the Devonian
period, some 320 million years ago. It is reputed to be the remains of a tulip tree, a
Lepidodendron, turned to stone through fossilisation. This fossilized tree being given to the Park by John Knott when he was Mayor of Crewe in 1888/9.

The Lake

An exceptional feature of the Park is the extensively landscaped man-made lake. The lake was created by the use of a dam on the west side of the River Waldron (Valley Brook) way back in 1883 flooding about five acres of land. As well as the creation of a dam, an area around the River Waldron to a depth of about five feet was dug out. Then by the method of "puddling" the clay, the bottom was made water-tight.

For just about 30 years the river flowed through the lake creating, I hasten to add, a few problems. The river over these early years brought many tons of silt, making problems along the banks of the lake. By 1913, the decision to culvert the river trying to alleviate these troubles was taken, so from that date the river flowed underneath the lake.

The Lake loses water on a regular basis through evaporation and leakage. Therefore, what better method is there than using the river to refill it. A wormscrew made in Crewe Works back 1913, still in constant use, enables that to happen. The River Waldron by the use of sluice gates can be diverted to refill the lake.
One of the benefits that culverting achieved was that the Lake became cleaner, resulting in it being used by locals for swimming. In fact the west side of the lake was deepened to ten foot. This enabled diving boards to be constructed which were in constant use until their removal in 1936.

Burma Star Island

In 1968 an island in the middle of the lake, accessible by two bridges, was extensively relandscaped and had new paths and seating positioned. Then on the 26th May 1968 at a service conducted by the Lord Bishop of Chester, the Rt Rev G A Ellison DD, the island was dedicated as a permanent Memorial to the Allied Forces who fought in the Burma Campaign during World War 2. The Memorial Stone, brought from excavations at ICI Works Runcorn, has the famous Kohima epitath:-
"When you go home tell them of us and say for their tomorrow we gave our today".

The Dedication Service was attended by over 30,000 people with many overseas visitors. An American Air Force Band, flown in especially from Germany, led a large military presence from many Countries.

History of the Trees

It is reputed that there are only five trees to remind everyone of the hedgerows from the fields of the original farmlands of over a hundred years ago. They are of course all Oak,three are by the play area, whilst two more are near the Aviary. Most of the trees within the Park have been planted under the guidance of the four Park Curators. Obviously many were planted when the Park was First being created, for instance, the giant Atlantic Cedars. Many of the trees which have been planted by successive Curators over the last 40 or 50 years are now reaching maturity, so its these people to thank for such a remarkable array of trees within the Park.

I am reliably informed there is in excess of 100 species, ranging from Oak, Ash, Beech, Conifers, Yews, Irish Yews, as well as Laburnum and some beautiful scented Hawthorns. Most trees that readily come to mind one could find within the Park, far too many I hasten to add for me to mention. Of course there are many unique trees, like the twisted Willow, the Canadian Balsam and my favourite, the Cedar of Lebanon, nicknamed the "monkey tree" by generations of Crewe children.

Coronation Walk

The walk runs from the lake back to the foot of the main entrance. Designed in 1935 by Herbert Probert, it is a superb landscaped valley complete with an artificial stream, it holds many surprises. Thought at the time of construction it might possibly be named the Francis Webb Memorial Garden it was eventually called Coronation Walk in 1937.
Along the path a visit to the Aviary is a must. Originally built in 1937 through the efforts
of Councillor Mrs Mossford Powell (incidentally, Mrs Mossford Powell lived at Coppenhall
Hayes, on the spot where Station House now stands in Victoria Avenue). The first boathouse was being pulled down in 1937 so she donated money to enable it to be converted into the first Aviary.

A large stone that stands by the Aviary is the oldest piece of history in Crewe. It originates
from the first glacial age and goes back some 500 million years. It is a piece of Aberdeen
granite and was washed down in that period of time. It was discovered when the Foundations for part of the original Company Works was being excavated.
I hope this Heritage Walk around Queens Park has enabled everyone to appreciate many of the hidden charms of this superb Park. It has been said in the past and I don't mind repeating it,

"This Park is without doubt the Jewel in the Crown".

Saturday, June 6, 2009

Queens Park 100 years

Reproduced from records in the Library of the 100 years of the park leaflet in 1987

A notable feature is the man-made lake which has been beautifully landscaped into the Park. Its source being 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 levelling off to a depth of five feet By'puddling'the day bottom it was made watertight and a dam at the West side.

Original wooden bridge over the lake.
was erected. Four bridges, originally wooden, and surrounding paths make a popular walking circuit around the lake. After the culverting 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 hut were provided which were eventually removed 1936

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 and of September 1340 the Germans had taken an aerial photograph of Crewe, showing 'LOKOMOTIVFABRIK' LMS.R.' and 'FLUG-MOTOIEWWERKE. ROLLS ROYCE LTD' This also shows antiaircraft barrage balloon sites at the old Bandstand, Queens Park Petrol Station, opposite St Mary's Catholic Church, Leighton Park and Badger Avenue by Ford Lane. The Ring Road around Queens Park and the band ot trees inside being very distinctive, in addition to the lake from the air.

The lake is home to a variety I water fowl which attracts I Ornithologists from afar to take pictures of rarefies such as the I Egyptian and Canadian Geese and I Caroling Wood Ducks.

Today, traditional family boating remains a very popular activity. The lake is also used by local anglers and community organizations for Raft and Paddle Boat Races and often for Local Charities; which provide much pleasure for participants and spectators alike.

Dunne 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 patronized.


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 Ward. 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 us and say for their tomorrow we gave our today".

One of the Park's largest crowds attended the dedication with military attache from many Countries, together with an American Air Force Band, flown in from Germany.

Through the main gates, on either side of the Clock Tower can be seen 62 flower beds as laid out in the original Victorian design They are planted to a different theme each year using colour patterns, contrasts of pastel shades, new varieties and old favourites.Winter flowering Pansies start the year, with Tulips and late flowering Dahlias to extend it.
Petunias and Begonias with their range of colours. Geranium*, Fuchsias and Heliotrope, with their coloured leave* and potential growth of up to three feet in height. The park has always specialized In these plants, as they have different leaves, height and shape, to give Interest and pleasure to visitors.

There are only five original trees in the Park to remind us of the hedgerows of of 100 years ago. All are oak - three are between the play area and the greenhouse and two are in the shrubbery by the scented garden with its diversity of leaf and (lower perfumes. In front of the Cafeteria, by the lakeside, grows a Cedar of Lebanon. It has a flat top with horizontal branches and is about 90years old.

It is said that the fossilised remains of a tree dated back to the Ice Age - of the Devonian period, some 320 million years ago - possibly a Lepidodendron, is located in the path which leads from the Cafeteria down to the lake. A a contrast just along the path, beside the Coronation Walk bridge, is a twisted Willow, now 24 years old with its fascinating, contorted shape.

The bandstand which once stood in front of the Victoria Pavilion is now sited towards the West Gate,During the last war. both the flower beds and greenhouse contributed towards community welfare, producing seedlings of various vegetables. In 1941, approximately onions and crops consisting of 1,049 lbs. of tomatoes and 512 Cucumbers were grown, all of which were sold to 3,470 local people.

When, in the 1960,s the greenhouses were re-located to their present position the well-loved facility for the public to be able to walk past and view the plants inside the greenhouse was retained.
A wide variety of plants are grown end transported to grounds within the Borough - including Cemeteries, road islands, open spaces. Parks and so on. Those 'home grown plants contributing greatly towards the Borough's success in the Britain in bloom competitions. Plants are used for special arrangements for civic functions and private hire.


Surrounding the 1904 South African War Memorial at the centre of the Park, sloping carpet bedding displays commemorate local anniversaries National events and Carnival themes. Past displays have included Three Blind Mice', 'The Wombles', 'Mary, Mary, Quite Contrary*,"Year of the Child', 'Festival of Britain', 'Postman Pat', the Queen Mother's Birthday,Anniversaries of Guides, Scouts and other organisations, to mention but a few.

One year, to make a centre piece of style, a monument lion was moved into the flower bed for the anniversary of the "lion Club" and for 1987 Heritage Year the appropriate theme being the "Lion* a railway engine. Memorial plaques are on the four faces of the monument These contain lists of those who left the town of Crewe to undertake 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, bandolier 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 used for displays throughout the Borough -including those on the 19S7 Heritage site.

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 27th December, 1972. Because the water mains had been fractured by frost, firemen pumped water up from late and although they worked throughout the night, it was to no avail.
On Sunday afternoons throughout the Summer, brass bands have a long tradition in the Park, which today includes a variety of bands which provido music to suit all tastes and ages. The Cafeteria centres the Park's activities and serves that extra treat or drink for children's outings, Picnics, coach parties, school classes, hospital group and visiting families. In olden days,picnickers brought their tee and large tea pots to the special cafe windows to buy fresh boiling water.

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. The lower 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 inscribed bressummer 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. The inscription at first floor level of the East Lodge commemorates the Jubilee of Queen Victoria and die On the Anniversary of the opening of the Grand Halfway Junction. 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.

Many plants are to be seen in the Park in their season, such as the daffodil banks with Their marvelous sea of yellow in April, which lead down to Coronation Walk and the Aviary. In 1937 the Aviary, which had previously been the boathouse was built, with funds donated by Councillor Mrs Mossford Powell, with flights both inside and outside the shed. Many generations of children and their parents have enjoyed watching and feeding the succession of birds and small animals. This was rebuilt in 1366 and 1985, the former date to coincide with the opening of the Scented Garden, sponsored by the Lions Club of Crewe. The garden landscaped from an old shrubbery with new paths, borders, end a raised bed, all planted with scented
flowers and aromatic herbs, thus providing for the visually handicapped.


The popular Children's Play Area, which was refurbished in 1986 is a comparatively new addition to the Park, originally being provided in the late 1950's. Under the United Nations Charter, children have the right to play happily and safely, and many thousands do so on the up-dated equipment. Swings, slides, roundabouts and many other items all have rubber safety surfaces beneath them, covering the Crewe clay mud so the whole area can be properly used despite the weather.
New, exciting, playground. modern adventure

Other family activities include Crown Green Bowling on the carefully tended green; Crazy Golf or Putting, which have always been popular pastimes. For example, in 1932,13,710 players paid a penny for a round, and no doubt enjoyed it. Other games include Giant Chess and Draughts, alt contained within the same area.
Annual events include the Carnival and Fete, with attendance of up to 20,000 people which, in the early days, was held to raise money for the local hospital and the proceeds from the recently introduced Traction Engine Rallies go towards the Wybunbury Tower Preservation Fund;Sports Week Fete, Burma Star Memorial Sunday and other focal Charity events, to name but a few. Of course, during 1987 -Heritage Year - there will be seven weekends of Centenary activities with entertainment to suit all tastes and ages.