Crewe Arms Hotel 
Nantwich Road, Crewe, Cheshire CW2 6DN ● 01270 213204 ● 01270 588615 

The Crewe Arms Hotel - A Brief History 

The Crewe Arms has been a focal point of Crewe since it was built in the 19th century. It is one of the few remaining buildings from the 19th century 'new town'. 
 
Crewe was built and named after the railway station, built in 1837 with the locomotive works at the forefront. Naturally, as a result of the railway, The Crewe Arms was built in 1880, although other records show it was actually built in 1830's. 
 
Whatever the date, The Crewe Arms was one of Britain's first railway hotels with its doors opening up onto the platform and remains an imposing brick red building at the gateway to Crewe. It certainly is a genuine local landmark. 

A Royal Affair 

Queen Victoria's visit to the Crewe Arms still leaves its mark on the hotel. From the fireplace in the lounge to the blocked up tunnel that once allowed the Queen to make her way from the station to the hotel in privacy, as well as the royal-named restaurants, Victoria's memory is alive and well. 

Who Has Visited and Stayed at the Crewe Arms? 

Arguably, the most famous is Queen Victoria on a stop over on her way to Scotland. A tunnel, which still remains today, was purpose built to protect her from the Cheshire weather and the public eye. This still remains today but is now blocked at either end. With today's weather, it would certainly be used in our modern day. 
 
The marble fire place in the lounge which was built still remains today, along with a bust of Victoria. 
 
Today's restaurant has Victoria very much in mind, Sophia's, named after Victoria's daughter. 
 
Many celebrities have stayed at The Crewe Arms over the years including boxing champion Sir Henry Cooper and French singer Sacha Distel, as well as thespians who have treaded the boards at another historical Crewe building, The Crewe Lyceum. 
 
Rising stars of football have made The Crewe Arms their home whilst building their career with Crewe Alex. Nicky Maynard, Geoff Thomas, David Platt and Rob Jones are to name but a few. 
 
Many football teams and rugby teams and the like have stayed for a pre-match meal and rest prior to their big game. 
 
Not to be left out, stars from the music world such as Bruce Foxton, bass player with The Jam, Stiff Little Fingers, and tribute bands such as State Of Quo have all stayed. 
 
Not all guests appear to be what they seem though! - A Grey Lady Ghost has been seen and heard by receptionists walking up and down the corridor!! 
 
However, the most important people to use the The Crewe Arms are the people of Crewe as a venue of family weddings, celebrations, meals, a local and meeting place. 
 

Who Has Owned the Crewe Arms? 

The Crewe Arms is currently in private ownership, this, however, has not always been the case. 
 
As already stated, The Crewe Arms was owned by the railway up until it was sold to Embassy Hotels in 1969. It traded very successfully with a lively cocktail bar, where Sophia's is today, doing a roaring trade opening up onto the railway station. There was also a silver service restaurant on platform 4. 

Dancing the Night Away 

Until 1983, the Crewe Arms boasted a first floor ballroom which hosted many important events and guests. 
There was a ballroom on the first floor which hosted many important events and guests. Food was served from the main kitchen via a dumb waiter between the two floors - not only did the food travel this way - I will leave it to your imagination to what else was transported! 
 
1982/83 saw a quarter of a million spend with the ballroom replaced by more profitable area at the time - bedrooms. This work was done by Embassy Hotels before it was sold to Jarvis Hotels who continued to operate the hotel until it went into private ownership with the Moon family taking the reins. 
 
At this point, The Crewe Arms underwent a much needed multi-million pound refurbishment, bedrooms were increased to 61, public areas, Sophia's restaurant and the seven conference rooms all brought back up to standard. 
 
The outside was brought back to its imposing best and the car park resurfaced. The Moon family put the hotel back on the map as the place to go in Crewe through hard work and a dedicated team - many rewards and accolades followed. 
 
During the first signs of recession, The Crewe Arms was sold to the present owner, who continues to take the hotel forward. 
 
At one point in the past, The Royal Hotel, just along Nantwich Road, was The Crewe Arms sister hotel and anyone who was not able to afford Crewe Arms prices were sent along to The Royal. 

Who Works at the Crewe Arms? 

Traditionally, the hotel has employed local people and in many cases, a line of families from grandmothers, to mothers to daughters. 
 
Truly, a local hotel for local people. 

Dates of Interest 

1857 
First full Cheshire police committee meeting help at The Crewe Arms on 3rd February under the chairmanship of Mr. Trafford. 
1881 
The census of that year highlights Eliza Mary Nairn, who was 20 and a barmaid at The Crewe Arms. 

A Story From The Time 

In the last years before World War Two trains had got faster and The London Midland And Scottish Railway looked to get in on the action that had previously been the preserve of its rivals, The London And North Eastern with their streamliners - Silver Link and Silver Fox. 
 
To this end, a new train was built at Crewe Works, The Coronation Scott. It was blue with white stripes. A new speed record attempt was decided, but where? 

Steaming Ahead 

Crewe Railway and the Crewe Arms played a crucial role in the race to set a new steam train speed record. The event almost ended in tears, but the record was successfully set and those involved actually ended their day with refreshments at the Crewe Arms, where they heard the fantastic news that the record had been set. 
The LNER had the straight East Coast Main Line, the west coast was more curvature but, eventually, the last few miles between Whitmore and Crewe were chosen. 
 
Coronation set off from Euston with Crewe driver, Tom Clark at the regulator. Three men, well versed in timing trains, went along also. 
 
As Norton Bridge was passed at 60 mph, all was well, but Clark steadily built up the speed. 
 
The acceleration carried the train through 100mph and to a maximum of 112.5 mph - just short of Silver Fox. BUT, Tom Clark, had left his breaking late and only 1 mile before the first of the switches and crossing that would take them onto platform 2 - now platform 12. 
The speed limit was 20 mph but Coronation hit them at 60 mph, crockery flew around the dining car and the footplate crew hung on grimly, fearing the worse - eventually, Coronation came to a stop. 
 
Once recovered, everyone retired to The Crewe Arms for much needed refreshment and food. It was here, that it was stated that the actual speed reached was 114 mph - a record! 
 
The following year, LNER with The Mallard, put the record out of sight at 126 mph. 
 
That day in June 1937 will not be forgotten though! 

Last But Not Least 

Whatever the changes over the years, The Crewe Arms has remained and will remain a focal point of the town, and continue to employ local families and stand out as an iconic landmark in Crewe.