Building a picture of Victorian rail stations

Cherry Burton station staff during the early 20th century

Stamford Bridge looking south-east during the 1950s (John Mann Collection)

The front cover of East Yorkshire Railway Stations Book

First published in Books

NATALYA WILSON discovers the history of East Yorkshire’s railway stations in a new book by Yorkshire author, Peter Tuffrey

WHEN it came to changing the look of the landscape in an impressive way, the Victorians had it nailed, with some of the most innovative engineers, designers and architects having lived throughout that era, creating some of the most spectacular structures and buildings that can still be seen today.

Isambard Kingdom Brunell’s Clifton Suspension Bridge in Bristol, William Henry Barlow’s St Pancras Station in London, Sir John Fowler and Sir Benjamin Baker’s Forth Bridge in Scotland and Manchester Town Hall, designed by Alfred Waterhouse, are all fine examples.

This was also the great age of the railways, with George and Robert Stephenson’s locomotives paving the way for the larger engines that would follow; George Hudson and the Stephensons’ grand railways and George Townsend Andrews’ fine railway buildings, designed in York for Hudson’s railways, notably the York and Midlands Railway.

Some of his stations are the focus of Peter Tuffrey’s latest book, East Yorkshire Railway Stations (Amberley Publishing, £14.99), which looks at the history of rail travel in the area, affectionately evoking a bygone age.

A fair proportion of East Yorkshire’s stations were designed by this eminent architect and in the book are highlighted some of his more ambitious designs, such as Stamford Bridge and Nafferton stations.

Other stations are featured designed by architects other than George Townsend Andrews.

Some have even become listed buildings, which ensures that future generations can enjoy the splendour of Victorian station architecture.

Many of the branch line stations were lost after their closure by Beeching in the mid-1960s and their fate then became uncertain.

Some have survived intact, others have been sensitively altered or rendered completely unrecognisable and the remainder have been lost completely and their sites redeveloped, so, throughout the pages, we see them in both their glory and their decline.

The book features images of many of the stations, without which we wouldn’t be able to imagine quite so well the grand scale of their architecture or the state they are now in, and these were provided by Alan Young and Nick Catford – two stalwarts of the Disused Stations website, including some taken by the late John Mann, many of which show the stations in their last days of operation, as well as in their final days of existence.

The description of each station comes with information such as the date the station opened, the company on opening, number of platforms, the designer, traffic handled, closure date to goods and passengers and the present state of the station or site – a real boon for railway buffs, to whose book collection this particular tome would be a welcome addition.

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