Nottingham Victoria railway station

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Nottingham Victoria
Nottingham Victoria Station 2.jpg
The station in 1903.
Location
Place Nottingham
Area Nottingham, Nottinghamshire
Grid reference SK573403
Operations
Pre-grouping Great Central Railway and Great Northern Railway
Post-grouping London and North Eastern Railway
London Midland Region
Platforms 12
History
24 May 1900 Opened
4 September 1967 Closed
Disused railway stations in the United Kingdom
Closed railway stations in Britain
A B C D–F G H–J K–L M–O P–R S T–V W–Z
Portal icon UK Railways portal

Nottingham Victoria railway station was a Great Central Railway and Great Northern Railway railway station in Nottingham, England. It was designed by the architect Albert Edward Lambert, who also designed the rebuild of the Nottingham Midland station (now known more simply as Nottingham Station).

It was opened by the Nottingham Joint Station Committee on 24 May 1900 and closed on 4 September 1967 by the London Midland Region of British Railways. The station building was entirely demolished (except for the clock tower) and the Victoria Centre shopping centre was built on the site, incorporating the old station clock tower into the main entrance on Milton Street (continuation of Mansfield Road).

Background[edit]

In 1893 the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway obtained authorisation to extend its North Midlands railway network into 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 to be built.

Construction and opening[edit]

The station's construction was on a grand scale: a 13-acre (53,000 m2) site was acquired at a cost of £473,000 (£46 million as of 2014),[1] 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 St. Stephen's Church, Bunker's Hill, following which around 600,000 cubic yards (460,000 m3) of sandstone was excavated from the site. The site measured around 650 yards (590 m) in length from north to south and had an average width of 110 yards (100 m) with a tunnel at each end of it for access.[2]

Both the Great Central Railway and Great Northern Railway shared the station (they split into two lines at Weekday Cross junction). The two owners failed to reach agreement on the station's 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". In the 1898 Royal Atlas of England, the station is recorded as the "Grt Central & Grt Northern Joint Central Station"[3] The Town Clerk tried to resolve 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.[4]

Nottingham Victoria station was officially opened without ceremony in the early hours of 24 May 1900 – over a year after the commencement of services on the new railway line. The first service to call at the station was a Great Central express from Manchester to Marylebone which pulled in at 1.12am; it was followed fifteen minutes later by a Great Central express travelling in the opposite direction.[5]

Station building[edit]

Nottingham Victoria Station in the early 1900s. On the right of the picture is the Victoria Hotel, now a Hilton hotel.

The main station building was in true Victorian splendour. It was constructed in a Renaissance style using the best quality red faced bricks and Darley Dale stone with space at the front for Hackney carriages which was covered by a canopy. It faced on to the confluence of Mansfield Road and Milton Street for some 250 feet (76 m).[6]

The three-storey building was dominated by a large 100-foot (30 m) 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 100 feet (30 m) long and 66 feet (20 m) 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.[7]

Station interior in the years after opening.

The station itself comprised two large island platforms, each between 1,250 feet (380 m) and 1,270 feet (390 m) long, with two bays at each end for local traffic giving a total of 12 platform faces. Upon each island platform were dining and tea rooms together with kitchens, sleeping facilities for staff, waiting rooms and lavatories; all these buildings were, like the rest of the station, lined with glazed tiles which were generally buff in colour and embellished with a chocolate dado. Large 42 feet 6 inches (12.95 m) steel pillars held up an enormous 3-part glazed canopy measuring 450 feet (140 m) in length, with a centre span of 83 feet 3 inches (25.37 m) and a pair of flanking spans each of 63 feet 9 inches (19.43 m). There were additional glass roofs over the double-bay platforms, each carried on central pillars. An electrically-lit subway system, below track level and covering the breadth of the station, could be used for transporting luggage, thereby avoiding the need to carry it over the footbridges. The subway was linked to the main station by four lifts serving respectively the booking hall, cloakroom and two island platforms. The refreshment rooms had their own underground subway and lifts.[8]

The station had passing loops round all platforms (for freight), two signal boxes and two turntables. The two signal boxes were positioned at the north and south ends of the station and controlled entry and exit to the tunnels that allowed entry to the complex.[9] The traffic that passed through was very varied. It included London–Manchester expresses, local services, cross-country services (e.g. from York to Bristol via Oxford) as well as freight workings. As the station was shared with The Great Northern Railway (already well established when Victoria opened), a superb network of lines going to many destinations was available from the one station.[citation needed]

The station in 1959
LMS 'Jubilee' 6P 4-6-0 No. 45638 'Zanzibar' in 1962
Down freight and Up express in 1962

Decline[edit]

During the 1960s the whole Great Central route was being run down by diverting services away from it, cutting others and slowing down expresses to very slack timetables. Locomotives and rolling stock were unreliable and old; the line did not benefit from British Rail's new diesel locomotives. As passenger numbers fell, either going by car or other lines, closure seemed inevitable. The last through service from Nottingham to London ran on 3 September 1966. All that was left was a DMU service between Nottingham and Rugby. Victoria station was finally closed on 4 September 1967 and demolished (amidst much opposition[citation needed]) leaving only the clocktower to survive amongst the Victoria Shopping Centre and flats. Goods trains continued to pass through the site of Victoria until May 1968, with two running lines left in place amidst the demolition of the main station.[10]

Present day[edit]

The site is now occupied by the Victoria Shopping Centre and housing in the form of Victoria Flats – Nottingham's tallest building (256 feet / 72m tall).[11] The new structure incorporates the original station's clock tower. From the bottom level of the shopping centre's car park, in the former station's deep cutting, the site of the entrance of Mansfield Road railway tunnel remains visible.

Upon the closure of the Great Central railway and the Great Northern/London and North Western Joint line to Melton Mowbray (via Barnstone), Nottingham also lost smaller stations: Nottingham London Road High Level and Nottingham London Road Low Level.

Nottingham's other mainline station, Nottingham Midland, remains in service.

Current redevelopment plans for the Victoria Shopping Centre will see an extension built northwards filling in the last section of the former stations deep cutting and concealing the entrance to the Mansfield Road Tunnel.

Former Services[edit]

Preceding station Disused railways Following station
Arkwright Street
Line and station closed
  Great Central Railway
London Extension
  Carrington
Line and station closed
Terminus   Great Northern Railway
Nottingham to Stafford
Nottingham to Pinxton
  Carrington
Line and station closed
Terminus   Great Northern Railway
Nottingham to Grantham
Nottingham to Newark
Nottingham to Shirebrook
Nottingham to Basford & Bulwell
Nottingham Suburban
  Nottingham London Road
High Level

Line and station closed

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ UK CPI inflation numbers based on data available from Gregory Clark (2014), "What Were the British Earnings and Prices Then? (New Series)" MeasuringWorth.
  2. ^ Dow, G. (1965). Great Central; Volume 3: Fay sets the pace, 1900–1922. London: Ian Allan Locomotive Publishing Ltd. p. 12. 
  3. ^ John Bartholomew, The Royal Atlas of England, 1898
  4. ^ Dow, G., op. cit. p. 16.
  5. ^ Dow, G., op. cit. p. 16.
  6. ^ Dow, G., op. cit. p. 12.
  7. ^ Dow, G., op. cit. p. 12.
  8. ^ Dow, G., op. cit. p. 15.
  9. ^ Dow, G., op. cit. p. 15.
  10. ^ http://www.rcts.org.uk/features/mysteryphotos/show.htm?location=Nottingham%20Victoria&page=3&serial=60&img=B-77-33A
  11. ^ "Nottingham's tallest building". 

Further reading[edit]

  • Clarke, John (November 1966). "Nottingham Victoria – A memory of 1966". In Cooke, B.W.C. Railway Magazine (London: Tothill Press Ltd) 112 (787): 621–624. ISSN 0033-8923. 
  • Clarke, John (December 1969). "Nottingham Victorian Bars". In Cooke, B.W.C. Railway Magazine (London: Tothill Press Ltd) 115 (824): 669. ISSN 0033-8923. 

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 52°57′26″N 1°08′52″W / 52.9572°N 1.1477°W / 52.9572; -1.1477