Article and Photographs: Jonathan White
Howard Curran, aged 85, has produced a new book relating to Crewe.
Howard was born, educated and has spent his entire working life in Crewe. During those years he has lived less than a mile from the park. Consequently, he and his family have spent many happy hours enjoying the park.
Over 40 years ago he became interested in local history and, using his acquired knowledge, has been able to give scores of working class illustrated lectures on both the town and park. This has helped raise over £30,000 for national and local charities.
In 1988 he became a Councillor for Crewe and Nantwich Borough Council. Then in 2002 until 2006 he became the park’s ‘Port-Folio’ holder on the Council’s Board. A post held until he became Mayor of the Borough in 2006.
Howard has previously written two books about Crewe and its history and has traced its changes and development. His first book was ‘Crewe Pubs (Images of England)’ published in 2004 and his second book ‘Crewe: The Twentieth Century’ was published in 2012.
Howard’s third and latest book, entitled ‘Queens Park Crewe: History, Myths and Legends’ was published in July 2020 and is illustrated with a large number of unusual photographs and traces the park’s development from its conception right through to modern times. It explains about its uniqueness, of its development and the many trials and tribulations it’s had during its existence.
Over those years it’s been admired by people visiting from far and wide as well as local people. The landscaped gardens, set in serpentine paths, were tended to a standard usually associated with stately homes gardens. It explains how by clever use of the river it enabled a lake to be constructed. Eventually, that would become a source of pleasure for generations of visitors and local people alike.
The book explains how different restoration grants brought it back from almost the point of oblivion. Those grants enabled it to begin to recover from years of neglect, and start it journey once more in becoming the North West’s leader in small parks.
‘Queens Park Crewe: History, Myths and Legends’ is produced to a high standard in paperback, with 128 pages with colour and monochrome illustrations. The book is available until the end of August 2020 at the special introductory price of £14.99, after which it will revert to its recommended retail price of £17.99. Copies of the book can be paid and collected from Howard at 25 Sunnybank Road, Crewe. Please add £2 for postal orders.
Howard Curran said: “I knew the book on Queens Park – the final one in my trilogy – should follow the same format as the previous books. It would be based on Working Class / Nostalgic History. Therefore, the book is written on that principal that local people have indicated to me they like.
“I notice that in some quarters of the town’s population it is becoming known as the people’s park. Not for one minute could I argue with that sentiment as that is exactly what its construction meant to the townspeople. However, for a number of years I’ve regarded the Lyceum Theatre as the town’s ‘little gem’ whilst the park was always considered to be the town’s ‘jewel in the crown’.
“The book is therefore focused on these sorts of sentiments. Through the book I wanted to show how people appreciated and admired the pure beauty of the park. Shedding light on its hidden past I believed would help everyone to understand fully what that meant to Crewe. Our forefathers had endeavoured to construct a park where people could freely mix and relax to enjoy the natural beauty and tranquil environment that had been created.”