Queen's Park, Crewe
Heritage Category: Park and Garden
List Entry Number: 1001412
Date first listed: 16-Feb-1999
Date of most recent amendment: 21-Aug-2013
Statutory Address: Queen's Park, Victoria Avenue, Crewe, CW2 7SE
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Statutory Address: Queen's Park, Victoria Avenue, Crewe, CW2 7SE
The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.
District: Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
Parish: Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference: SJ 68728 55628
A public park, little altered since it was laid out in the 1880s.
Reasons for Designation
Queen’s Park, Crewe, opened in 1887, is designated at Grade II* for the following principal reasons: * Date: as a good example of a late Victorian municipal park; * Design: its design is little changed from its original layout of the 1880s; * Designer: the park was designed by the Company, and designed by the Chief Mechanical Engineer of the London & North-Western Railway, F W Webb, and Edward Kemp, one of the era’s leading landscape designers; * Historic interest: alongside the Jubilee, the park celebrated the fiftieth anniversary of the Grand Junction Railway. It was gifted to Crewe by the London & North-Western Railway Company; * Structures: the park retains various C19 and later structures and memorials including the listed Boer war memorial; * Planting: the park retains much high-quality planting, including mature specimen trees and shrubs.
Queen's Park was dedicated 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, a gift to the town by the London & North Western Railway Co, was officially opened to the public in June 1888.
The park was designed by F W Webb, the LNWR's chief mechanical engineer and mayor of Crewe in 1888, and Edward Kemp (1817-91), and cost £10,000. This was borne by the LNWR, which also gave the site, a kilometre west of the town edge. Before 1887 this was largely fields although it also encompassed a sewerage works, located towards the North West, which had closed in 1874. The park's first Custodian (1888-1906) was George Latimer, who was succeeded by Mr Morgan, whose forestry expertise apparently contributed greatly to the park's development. H W Probert, who was responsible for the park from 1935, was responsible for laying out the Coronation Walk, to commemorate the Coronation of George VI and Queen Elizabeth in 1937.
A refurbishment project is due to be completed in 2013 following a Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) grant in 2000. The restoration works included the park's 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. In 2011 a re-opening celebration and street procession was held.
LOCATION, AREA, BOUNDARIES, LANDFORM, SETTING
Queen's Park lies on the western edge of Crewe, south-west of the great railway works. The park abuts, to the north, Victoria Avenue, which forms the main road from Crewe to Nantwich and was laid out at the same time as the park. Queen's Park Drive runs around its perimeter. The park is of 18ha.
ENTRANCES AND APPROACHES The main entrance gates are on the centre of the north side of the park, where it abuts Victoria Avenue. There are half-timbered lodges (both listed Grade II) of 1887 to either side, the West Lodge incorporating a bell tower. There are also entrances on the east, west and south sides; none has any architectural elaboration. A car park is located adjacent to the western entrance, traffic calming has been undertaken along Queen's Drive and a Sustrans cycle route connects the park to Nantwich.
PARK The park is oval with the main axis, 500m long, east/west. It is surrounded by iron railings which were replaced as part of the Heritage Lottery Fund (HLF) restoration scheme, within which there is a shrubbery belt with mature and varied trees and shrubs. A winding path runs around the edge of the park alongside the inner edge of the shrubbery belt. The park is planted with a wide variety of specimen trees and shrubs; it retains five oak trees from the earlier agricultural landscape.
Leading from the North Gates, adjoining which is the jubilee clock tower of 1888 (listed Grade II) is the broad, straight, Central Avenue, originally laid out as a carriage drive to the bandstand. It is lined with thirty-eight formal flower beds and parallel rows of young red-twigged limes and alternate clipped and unclipped yews, which lead south to the centre of the park. Here, in an island bed, is the Boer War Memorial of 1904 (listed Grade II), a near life-size bronze soldier atop a column with two lions at its base. A bronze model of a railway engine by F W Webb which originally stood at the front of the monument has been re-located in the Municipal Buildings, Crewe. To its south is the Lakeside Pavilion cafe, a new sandstone building which opened in 2012, replacing the original pavilion which was burnt down in 1972, and its 1977 replacement and bandstand. To their east is a modern toilet block.
From the central War Memorial an axial path radiates east and west across the park. The Broadwalk Bridge of 2010 leads to the bandstand with copper cupola which stands at the end of the western arm of the path, close to the West Gate. South of the pavilion the ground drops away to the artificial lake, formed in 1887-8 from scarping the Valley Brook, which occupies much of the southern half of the park. The lake waters were emptied, bed de-silted and the edges reconstructed in 2010-2011. The perimeter path runs around its south side, and another winding path along the north bank. Four C21 truss-arched footbridges with iron railings carry the paths around the lake and also across its centre, via the largest of three islands. The central lake islands were re-landscaped in 1968 as a memorial to those who fought in Burma in the Second World War. At the eastern end of the north side of the lake is a landing stage for boats. A timber shelter, locally known as the 'monkey shelter', attributed to Charles Dick J.P (1838-1888), refurbished 2011, which somewhat resembling a bandstand, stands above the centre of the south side of the lake. This may have been one of the two 'kiosks' which the mayor promised to erect in 1887, designed to 'afford shelter to visitors on rainy or hot days' (Crewe Chronicle, 11 July 1887); one of which now survives and serves the playground area.
A shallow valley, the Coronation Walk, runs north/south through the north-west quarter of the park, parallel with the main avenue. It is well planted with trees and shrubs, and there is a small stream along its bottom. Immediately above the north end of the Coronation Garden is a Gulf War Memorial. West of the west lodge is an outdoor gym is sited around a large oak tree. South of this is a Princess Diana memorial and an area for boules. Nearby is the Crown Green Bowling green with a red sandstone bowling pavilion built in 2012.
In the north-east quarter of the park is an extended and improved Children's Adventure Play Area. The greenhouses which contributed to community welfare for vegetable growing in WWII and had then been subsequently been used for bedding plants have been demolished. The future of this area and the brick depot is currently uncertain (2013).
The contents of this record have been generated from a legacy data system.
Legacy System number: 4146
Legacy System: Parks and Gardens
Crewe Chronicle, 11 July 1887,
Queen's Park Centenary Brochure (1987),
This garden or other land is registered under the Historic Buildings and Ancient Monuments Act 1953 within the Register of Historic Parks and Gardens by Historic England for its special historic interest.
End of official listing