Heritage Locations

Gosport Station


A station of considerable grandeur, designed by Sir William Tite for the London & South Western Railway and opened in 1847.


Constructor:
Sir William Tite

Period of construction:
1800 - 1849

Transport Trust plaque:
No

Transport Mode:
Rail

Address:
Gosport, Hants P012

Postcode:
PO12

Nearest Town:
Portsmouth

Heritage Centre:
No


The terminus was built after considerable negotiation with the Board of Ordnance, which had argued that the site, just outside a main gate in the Gosport Lines ramparts, could compromise the Portsmouth Harbour defences. The buildings were consequently designed to be defensible, with surrounding railings and a roof parapet.

From the very start, the station proved to be extremely busy, especially with the carriage of coal and other freight. It was initially used for passengers travelling to Portsmouth, a short ferry ride across the harbour.

The station saw the first of many royal visitors in 1843, when Prince Albert, husband of Queen Victoria, greeted Louis Philippe of France at Gosport. Queen Victoria visited the station six days later when she accompanied the King on his return to France. Following Albert's purchase of Osborne House on the Isle of Wight the following year, he negotiated the construction of an extension of the line through the town ramparts to a private station, the Royal Victoria Station. This was built in Royal Clarence Yard for the use of Royal family and household, who would arrive here for the Solent crossing.

For the next fifty years, Victoria and her party landed here for her summer holiday at Osborne. The private station was last used for passengers following Victoria's death in 1901, when her coffin, accompanied by her mourning family, was taken across the Solent for the last time. Following Victoria's death, her successor, Edward VII, found Osborne an inconvenient white elephant, and gave the house to the nation.

The station was given great impetus during World War I as Gosport's role as Victualler to the Navy increased. There was in influx of supplies to and from Royal Clarence Yard, and also large numbers of troop movements and the transportation of the wounded en route to Haslar Hospital. After the First Word War rail traffic decreased and the twin track to fareham was singled, leaving only one passing loop at Brockhurst. To reduce costs further, a rubber tired bus was substituted in 1937. However, during World War II the station saw much military activity again, including supplies, hospital trains and trains carrying prisoners of war on their way to a local internment camp. On the night of 10 March 1941 the station received a direct incendiary hit from an aerial attack, the main damage being to the roofing which caught alight and collapsed.

After the war Gosport station's role again declined and, on 6 June 1953, scheduled passenger services from Gosport ceased. The station remained open for freight traffic until 30 January 1969.

The trackbed of the former Gosport - Fareham railway is now a pedestrian walkway. Gosport station has been retained for its historical and architectural value but is presently inaccessible and in poor condition. Proposals now exist to convert the platforms and buildings into a small number of residential properties and offices with the main gate in Spring Garden Lane opened up for vehicle access. A development of six terraced homes is also proposed for the North Western end of the site linking with George Street.

The station site has been linked with the South Hampshire Rapid Transit Scheme, which would make use of the former railway route (some of which still has track because of freight services), however at present Government policy has made this scheme appear less likely.


Bibliography:

Barman, Christian, An Introduction to Railway Architecture, Art & Technics, (1950)

Biddle, Gordon, Great Railway Stations of Britain, David & Charles,  ISBN 0 7153 8263 2 (1986)

Biddle, Gordon, Britain's Historic Railway Buildings, Oxford University Press, ISBN-10: 0198662475 (2003)

Biddle, Gordon, Victorian Stations, David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 5949 5 (1973)

Biddle, Gordon & Nock, O.S., The Railway Heritage of Britain : 150 years of railway architecture and engineering, Studio Editions, ISBN-10: 1851705953 (1990)

Biddle, Gordon and Simmons, J., The Oxford Companion to British Railway History, Oxford, ISBN 0 19 211697 5 (1997)

Biddle, Gordon,and Spence, Jeffry, The British Railway Station, David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 7467 2(1977)

Butt, R.V.J., The Directory of Railway Stations, Sparkford: Patrick Stephens Ltd. ISBN 1-8526-0508-1. (October 1995, 1st Edition)

Conolly, W. Philip, British Railways Pre-Grouping Atlas And Gazetteer, Ian Allan Publishing, ISBN 0-7110-0320-3 (1958/97)

Gosport Railway Society: formed in 1976 to act as a pressure group to try to ensure the preservation of the former Gosport Station, the colonnades of which are designated a Grade 2 listed building. The Society also concerns itself with the future of the three other surviving railway stations within the Borough of Gosport and holds a very extensive photographic archive collection, mostly relating to railway topics. (19 Lyndhurst Road, Gosport, PO12 3QY - 02392 582499)

Lloyd, David and Insall, Donald, Railway Station Architecture, David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 7575 X (1978)

Mitchell, Vic. and Smith, K. Branch Lines around Gosport Middleton Press ISBN 0 906520 36 3 (1991)

Robertson, K. The Railways of Gosport.  Kingfisher.  ISBN 0 946184 25 9 (1986)

Simmons, J., The Railways of Britain, Macmillan, ISBN 0 333 40766 0 (1961-86)

Simmons, J., The Victorian Railway, Thames & Hudson, ISBN 0 500 25110X (1991)

White, H.P., A Regional History of the Railways of Britain, Southern England, David & Charles, ISBN 0 7153 4733 0 (1970)

 



Opening Times:
Not accessible, but permanently visible from road.

How To Find:

By road:Follow A32 into Gosport.

By rail: to Portsmouth Harbour and ferry to Gosport.



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