Nottingham London Road Station
The sole survivor of the four Nottingham stations, all of which were of architectural and operational interest.
Period of construction:
1900 - 1949
Transport Trust plaque:
Carrington Street, Nottingham, NG2 3AQ
The first station in the city was built by the Midland Counties Railway as a terminus for its line from Derby. This later became a goods station and is now incorporated in a magistrates' court. When the line to Lincoln was built a new station was needed and was built opposite the first on the site still occupied. This became inadequate and was seriously outclassed by the new Great Central station at Victoria. Accordingly in 1900, the Midland Railway appointed Albert Edward Lambert, a local Nottingham architect, to rebuild their station. Lambert had been the architect for the Nottingham Victoria railway station and consequently the two buildings shared many similarities in their design. The station was re-built largely on the same site as the Station Street station, but the entrance was relocated onto Carrington Street.
It was built in an Edwardian Baroque Revival style at a cost of £1 million and was described by the Evening News on the eve of its opening (16 January 1904) as a magnificent new block of buildings. The station was built using a mix of red brick, terracotta (which was used as a substitute for building stone) and faience (a glazed terracotta) with slate and glazed pitch roofs over the principal buildings. It is a red sand stone structure with terracotta dressings and heavy rustication. An elaborate domed clock tower dominates the facade. The carriage entrances have Art Nouveau wrought-iron gates. This is the station which survives.
The Great Northern Railway stations were the High Level and Low Level stations in London Road. Low Level was built in 1857 by T C Hine, a local architect. It is an exuberant structure, with tall French roof, elaborate central gable with Venetian bay window, and a massive porte cochere. It ceased to be a railway station in 1944 and is now a health centre. The High level Station was built in 1899 and closed in 1967 on the new connecting line to the Great Central. It was a single storey brick structure and is now a restaurant.
The fourth station was Victoria, also designed by the architect Albert Edward Lambert. It was opened by the Nottingham Joint Station Committee on 24 May 1900 and closed on 4 September 1967 . The station building was mostly demolished and replaced by a shopping centre.
In 1893 the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway had obtained authorisation to extend to London. This new line was opened on 15 March 1899 and became known as the "London Extension", stretching from Annesley to a new station at Marylebone in London. The line passed through Nottingham where a new station was built.
The station's construction was on a grand scale: a 13 acre site was acquired at a cost of £473,000 (around £28 million in today's money) in the heart of Nottingham's city centre; negotiations for the acquisition of the land had taken three years. The construction called for the demolition of whole streets of some 1,300 houses, 24 public houses and a church, following which around 460,000 m3 (600,000 cubic yds) of sandstone rock was excavated from the site. The site measured around 590 m (1950 ft) in length from north to south and had an average width of 100 m (330 ft) with a tunnel at each end.
The three-storey building was dominated by a large 30 m (100 ft) clock tower topped with a cupola and weather vane. At the north end of the building, access could be gained to the parcels office via two large metal gates. Once inside the building on the ground floor level, one reached the large and lofty booking hall. It was over 30m (100 ft) long and 20 m (66 ft) wide, and contained the best quality pine and a hard wearing oak floor along with a gallery on each side to gain access to spacious offices on the first floor. The booking hall contained seven ticket-issuing windows, three each for the Great Central and Great Northern, and one for excursion traffic; a clock-type train indicator served all platforms. An iron overbridge led from the booking hall and spanned the platforms, to which it was connected by four broad staircases. A small footbridge at the end provided access to the island platforms at the south end, themselves connected to a side exit leading on to Parliament Street.
The Great Central Railway and Great Northern Railway shared the station but failed to reach agreement on a name. The Great Central naturally wanted it called 'Central', a proposition the Great Northern, still smarting from the incursion into its territory made by the London Extension, would not accept. The two railway companies operated separate booking offices, the Great Central issuing tickets bearing 'Nottingham Central', whilst the Great Northern's window bore the legend 'Nottingham Joint St'n'. The Town Clerk resolved the situation by suggesting the name 'Nottingham Victoria' to reflect the fact that the planned opening date coincided with Queen Victoria's birthday; this was readily accepted at a meeting of the Nottingham Joint Station Committee on 12 June.
Victoria Station was finally closed on 4 September 1967 and demolished (amidst much opposition), leaving only the clocktower to survive surrounded by the Victoria Shopping Centre and flats.
Barman, Christian, An Introduction to Railway Architecture, Art & Technics, (1950)
Leleux, J., A Regional History of the Railways of Britain, East Midlands. ISBN 0 7153 7165 7 (1976)
Lloyd, David and Insall, Donald, Railway Station Architecture, David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 7575 X (1978)
The Engineer 30 April 1909.
Wrottesley, A.J. The Great Northern Railway (1979)
Daily. See railway timetables, visit website
How To Find:
By road: Off A60 and A453 in the city centre.
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