Crewe Works 180 Exhibition

2023 was the year of the “Forging History: Crewe Works 180 exhibition” at Crewe Heritage Centre to discover how Locomotives were a catalyst for change in the town! 180 years ago, the Grand Junction Railway Engineering Works moved to Crewe and had a huge impact on the town and the people who lived and worked here. Our exciting community-developed exhibition “Forging History: 180 years of Crewe Works” told the story of how the Works shaped the development of Crewe, one of Britain’s key industrial engineering towns.

Did you know?

  • Crewe Works produced over 8,000 locomotives
  • By the 1930s it was the largest railway engineering works in the world!
  • At its height, the buildings that made up Crewe Works covered over two miles.
  • Crewe’s engineering innovation continues today!

The exhibition theme was How Locomotives were a catalyst for change in Crewe.


What did the exhibition cover?

Crewe Works Exhibition Co Op image

Crewe Works:

  • The sights and sounds of arriving for a shift at Crewe Works
  • Why Crewe Works was built and what was made there:
    • the LNWR George V New Build Locomotive Trust “Prince George” loco
    • the “1054 Coal Tank” the only fully operational LNWR Crewe Built loco still in regular use! On loan from the Bahamas Society, the loco was built in 1888 and still uses the boiler it was fitted with in 1922 – a true testimony to the quality of Crewe workmanship!
    • how Alstom renovate wheelsets
  • The Drawing Office and designing your own loco or learning what tools were used in the Erecting Shop
  • Meeting the workers and learning about their lives
  • Driving a train

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How did Crewe Works affect people’s lives?

  • The technologies and innovations from Crewe Works that influenced railway development across the world
  • Crewe’s record holders and award-winning locomotives
  • How the Works contributed to the war effort in 1914 and 1939

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How did Crewe Works affect the development of Crewe?

  • How the Works shaped the town of Crewe
  • Visit a 1930s railway cottage
  • Attend school in Victorian Crewe
  • How railway accidents at the Works informed developments in health
  • The history of the Co Op in Crewe

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Looking to the future:

  • What is still made at Crewe Works today
  • A community exhibition about what we are proud of in Crewe


Podcast interviews

The Cat Radio created the following podcast interviews about the Crewe Works 180 exhibition:

Gordon Heddon, Chairman of the Crewe Heritage Trust, talks about the Forging History exhibition. Click here to listen.

Gareth Williams, Crewe poet and Rhymeologist, on his creation of his “More Than a Workplace” poem to commemorate the exhibition. Click here to listen.


To let us know what you thought about the exhibition visit: Joint Crewe Town Council Events e-survey (

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