Queens Park Crewe - historical information
Queens Park, known as ‘The Jewel in the Crown’ was dedicated to the people of Crewe in July 1887 to mark the joint occasion of the Queen’s Jubilee and the fiftieth anniversary of the opening of the Grand Junction Railway. The park was a gift to the town by the London & North Western Railway Co and officially opened in 1888. It was designed by Edward Kemp and the LNWR’s chief mechanical Engineer, also the Mayor of Crewe, F W Webb.
The Park’s first Custodian 1888 to 1906, was George Latimer, who was succeeded by Mr Morgan, whose forestry expertise contributed greatly to the Park’s development. H W Probert, stepped into this role from 1935 and was responsible for laying out Coronation Walk, to commemorate the Coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth II in 1937.
The children’s play area was added to the Park in the late 1950s and expanded in 2010. Colin Farmer was responsible for many additions and the care of grounds during his time as curator 1960 to 1983.
Today the original layout of Queens Park remains largely unchanged. The park’s impressive 500m main axis runs east to west through her distinctive oval shape. The serpentine paths guide the visitor through a landscape planted with a variety of trees and shrubs and today retains five of the oak trees from the earlier agricultural landscape.
The Crewe Town emblem was added to the newly refurbished gates in 2014. Here at the north side of the park you will find two half-timbered lodges (listed Grade II) dated 1887 and both refurbished in 2011. A matching pair, although the West Lodge incorporates a bell tower.
As you enter the Park, the Jubilee Clock Tower of 1888 (listed Grade II), stands tall, refurbished in 2011; fronting the Central Avenue, originally laid out as a carriage drive to the bandstand.
The South African Boer War Memorial, of 1904 (listed Grade II), refurbished 2011, sits at the centre of the Park, featuring a near life-size bronze soldier ‘Tommy Atkins’, with two lions at its base.
To the south of where you stand, is the stunning Lakeside Pavillion, visited in 2011 by Her Royal Highness, Duchess of Gloucester, Birgitte Eva, in celebration of the HLF Queens Park Refurbishment Project. This new structure replaced the 1977 Jubilee Cafeteria and bandstand.
As you proceed westwards, you will go over one of five bridges, the Broadwalk Bridge, newly constructed in 2010. In addition to the Inlet Bridge and the Coronation Valley Bridge, two more bridges span the Burma Star Island which was refurbished in 2016.
The Broadwalk Bridge leads to the Bandstand, refurbished 2010, with copper cupola, this stands at the end of the western arm of the path.
South of the Pavillion, the ground drops away to the artificial 4.5 acre lake, formed in 1887 to 1888 from scarping the Valley Brook which culverts underneath the lake waters. Lake waters were emptied, bed de-silted and some 4,000 tonnes of silt removed, lake edges were reconstructed and fish returned 2010 to 2011. The perimeter path runs around its south side, and another winding path along the north bank. The central lake islands were re-landscaped in 1968 as a memorial to those who fought in Burma during the Second World War, refurbished in 2016.
A shallow valley, known as the ‘Coronation Walk’, renovation 2017, runs north/south through the north-west quarter of the Park, with its small man-made stream. Immediately above the north end of the Coronation Garden is the Gulf War Memorial, refurbished 2015.
A timber shelter stands at the South entrance, locally known as the ‘monkey shelter’. It is attributed to Charles Dick J.P. (1838 to 1888) and was refurbished in 2011. Charles was responsible for supervising the layout of Queens Park, which included all the serpentine footpath network. All footpaths benefited from major restoration in 2016, to aid access for all.
In the north-east quarter of the Park is a Bowling Green with the Games Pavillion rebuilt in 2011, Boulés area and Children’s Playground refurbished in 2010. One of the original surviving shelters is also positioned there. Refurbishment of the maintenance depot is planned for the near future.
Refurbishment works commenced in 2006 and substantial improvements have been achieved, with the support of funding partners - a two phased Heritage Lottery Fund grant in 2002 and 2005, Crewe & Nantwich Borough Council, WREN and the newly formed Cheshire East Council (CEC 2010). The award was specifically directed to funding the restoration of the Parks landscape structure and principal features including - the East and West Lodges, Clock Tower, South African (Boer War) Memorial, Bandstand, Lake Bridges, Play Area, Gates, Railings and footpaths. This investment was publically acknowledged in 2011 with a Queens Park Re-Opening Celebration and Street procession organised by the Park’s Manager.
Today you can enjoy her delightful grounds, refreshments in the Lakeside Pavillion, stunning lake views from the verandah, boating and crazy golf during the Summer months, event programmes, children’s play area, crown green bowls and boulé.
Friends of Queens Park
For details regarding our active Friends group please see ‘The Friends of Queens Park’ Facebook page or telephone the Parks Manager on 01270 686708.