Crewe

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Crewe is a town and important railway junction in Cheshire, England. It was founded in the early 1840s on a virgin site where the Chester & Crewe and Manchester & Birmingham Railways met the Grand Junction Railway main line. The GJR (which had absorbed the other lines) decided to locate its engine works at that strategic spot, purchasing land in 1840 and moving its existing works from Liverpool. By 1843 a new town to service the works was rising, with 200 houses. Crewe was a company town of the Grand Junction (from 1846, the London & North Western Railway), and further lines were built joining the main line at the junction. This railway monopoly ceased in 1938 when a Rolls Royce aero-engine plant was built in Crewe, changing to manufacturing their world-famous cars in 1946; today only Bentley cars are manufactured in Crewe.

Its population is 67,683 (2001).

Crewe featured prominently in the music hall song Oh Mr Porter made famous by Marie Lloyd:

Oh! Mr. Porter, what shall I do?

I want to go to Birmingham

And they're taking me on to Crewe,

Send me back to London as quickly as you can,

Oh! Mr. Porter, what a silly girl I am!

Further reading

Jack Simmons & Gordon Biddle (eds), The Oxford Companion to British Railway History (Oxford 1997)

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