For this century and half of the last, the town of Crewe – Cheshire was centered around the railway industry. In fact until the Grand Junction Railway company picked Crewe as the location for their Locomotive works, the village only had a population of less than a hundred people. The local population from 1840 to 1870 then rocketed to forty thousand.
The railway line was a major junction between London in the south, Wales in the west and Manchester to the north.
The Grand Junction railway company played a large part in supporting the town and providing its infrastructure. It provided housing for the workers, schools, medical subsidies and doctors. It set up a cheese market and a clothing factory but the economic dependence of Crewe remained firmly focused on the railway and rail related industries.
The Railway station that was built in 1837 was originally in a paddock and was one of the most advanced of its era. It even had the honour of being the first in the country to have its own railway hotel attached. The first, of a never ending production line of locomotives rolled out of the Crewe locomotive factory in 1843. The Crewe works even produced 150 tanks during the Second World War. Today the industry is mere shadow of its former self.
In the twentieth century efforts were made to revitalise the local economy hit hard by recession in the railway industry. The town attracted the Rolls Royce motor company to set up a factory in the town in 1946. The Rolls Royce plant produced the famous car there until 2002 when through amalgamation the Bentley car company took over. The Bentley factory can be visited most Fridays by prior arrangement. This is a non-production day and you can see the production lines and note the lack of robots in crafting these exclusive cars.