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Author Topic: One of the World's oldest surviving railway stations  (Read 1978 times)
James Harrison
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Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« on: September 13, 2015, 11:16:17 am »

I had the opportunity yesterday to have a look around the oldest surviving long distance railway terminus in the world, Birmingham Curzon Street Station.  This opened in 1837 and until 1854 was the Birmingham terminus of the London and Birmingham Railway (112 miles) and the Grand Junction Railway (82 miles).  In 1854 the passenger trains started using the larger, more convenient New Street station, and until 1966 Curzon Street was utilised as Birmingham's main goods station.  It has been boarded up and derelict since 2006. 

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Curzon_Street_railway_station

And my photos:

http://s149.photobucket.com/user/masgtai/library/Curzon%20Street%20Station?sort=3&page=1
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Persons intending to travel by open carriage should select a seat with their backs to the engine, by which means they will avoid the ashes emitted therefrom, that in travelling generally, but particularly through the tunnels, prove a great annoyance; the carriage farthest from the engine will in consequence be found the most desirable.
Madasasteamfish
A clanger waiting to be dropped......
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09madasafish
« Reply #1 on: September 13, 2015, 12:04:33 pm »

Wow, impressive. Why is there such disregard for historic architecture? Particularly railway buildings? I mean Brunel's original station at Bristol is now used as a car park for the modern temple meads station, I mean really.
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I made a note in my diary on the way over here. Simply says; "Bugger!"

"DON'T THINK OF IT AS DYING, JUST THINK OF IT AS LEAVING EARLY TO AVOID THE RUSH."
James Harrison
Immortal
**
England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #2 on: September 13, 2015, 12:26:53 pm »

Wow, impressive. Why is there such disregard for historic architecture? Particularly railway buildings? I mean Brunel's original station at Bristol is now used as a car park for the modern temple meads station, I mean really.

Funnily enough that's what I wrote my dissertation on when I was studying for my MSc (well, partly anyway).  The conclusion I reached was that they're buildings built for a definitive purpose and that that purpose has proved somewhat fluid; the earliest stations being built for maybe five or ten passenger trains a day (yes, seriously) and that the explosion in passenger numbers from about 1840 onward was completely unexpected.  This led to either completely rebuilding the original stations, or demolishing them and rebuilding on new sites, or where possible expansion retaining the original structures.  So the true historical value of the surviving buildings is in the palimpsest of phased development (eg Kings Cross where you can follow the original 1850s trainsheds and buildings being built around by later 1870s/ 1880s/ 1910s additions- much the same at Paddington)- and by inference what this can teach us about the development and use of the early public transport network.

Against this you have the fact that they're still working buildings and that although it would be nice to preserve them, the function they have to fulfil has changed somewhat (passenger numbers again going up and the fact that a 'station' is now equally expected to be a 'shopping centre') and they have to adapt to continue to answer that function or else sadly be redeveloped.     
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Madasasteamfish
A clanger waiting to be dropped......
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Rogue Ætherlord
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09madasafish
« Reply #3 on: September 13, 2015, 01:42:42 pm »

That is a fair point, but I feel there should always be an effort to incorporate the original features in any building which is repurposed, especially if the original function can be retained.

I mean St Pancras' shows what is possible, as the original platforms and station buildings have been preserved and retain their original purposes, and the otherwise defunct cellars beneath the platforms (originally used for storing beer and other goods traffic that the station handled) have been opened up, and all the cr*p a station apparently needs to have these days (which seems to be 3 different coffee shop chains, 3 newsagents, a chemist, a grocers et al) has all been shoved down there.

Another good example is Sheffield Station, where the Edwardian booking hall and refreshment rooms have (after being used as a break room by staff for 20 odd years and then left to descend into dereliction) been restored and refurbished and now serve as a very nice pub.
« Last Edit: September 13, 2015, 01:45:12 pm by Madasasteamfish » Logged
GCCC
Zeppelin Admiral
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United States United States


« Reply #4 on: September 13, 2015, 04:04:57 pm »

Wow, impressive. Why is there such disregard for historic architecture? Particularly railway buildings? I mean Brunel's original station at Bristol is now used as a car park for the modern temple meads station, I mean really.

On this side of the pond, with some exceptions (where a structure has a large and vocal group of admirers), buildings no longer serving their function are often torn down to make way for something else. The owners want the property to actively make money, and usually don't give a fig for its historical value if more revenue can be generated by tearing it down to make a parking lot rather than renovating.
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Hez
Zeppelin Captain
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Canada Canada


aka Miss Primrose C Leigh


« Reply #5 on: September 14, 2015, 01:30:42 am »

There are a couple of cases in Vancouver where the shell of several old buildings have been kept and the insides converted into tiny malls.  The road/space between is given a skylight roof so that the distinction between buildings is kept.  A fair compromise in a crowded city with exorbitant land prices.
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GCCC
Zeppelin Admiral
******
United States United States


« Reply #6 on: September 14, 2015, 04:15:55 pm »

There are a couple of cases in Vancouver where the shell of several old buildings have been kept and the insides converted into tiny malls.  The road/space between is given a skylight roof so that the distinction between buildings is kept.  A fair compromise in a crowded city with exorbitant land prices.

Even that is preferable to the complete demolition of some of these works of art.
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Mercury Wells
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I insiste that you do call me WELLS. :)


« Reply #7 on: September 17, 2015, 05:28:13 pm »

I thought that Manchester Liverpool Road railway station was the oldest surviving rail station. 1830

Spoiler (click to show/hide)
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The Ministry of Tea respectfully advises you to drink one cup of tea day...for that +5 Moral Fibre stat.
James Harrison
Immortal
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England England


Bachelor of the Arts; Master of the Sciences


« Reply #8 on: September 20, 2015, 09:40:20 am »

I thought that Manchester Liverpool Road railway station was the oldest surviving rail station. 1830

Spoiler (click to show/hide)

True, but the key distinction made is that Curzon Street was a 'long distance' station.  It's certainly the oldest surving example of monumental railway architecture. 
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Mercury Wells
Rogue Ætherlord
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I insiste that you do call me WELLS. :)


« Reply #9 on: March 12, 2020, 03:38:05 am »

Revived...

Birmingham HS2 work unearths 1837 railway turntable.

Quote
HS2 work has unearthed a Robert Stephenson-designed railway turntable in Birmingham.

Excavations at the former Curzon Street station, which is set to be a new station for HS2, exposed the structure thought to date from 1837.

Archaeologists are now working to expose remains of the former Grand Junction Railway terminus.

The discovery was described as "extraordinary" by an HS2 spokesman.

The remains show evidence of the base of the central turntable, the exterior wall and the inspection pits that surrounded it.
(c) BBC '20
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