The Settle - Carlisle Railway

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Station Buildings

Station Buildings

1.1 Introduction

1.1.1 The feature that typifies the character of the Settle-Carlisle line more than anything else is the architecture of the stations, in particular the station buildings. This is the point at which most people have their closest contact with the line. It is the fact that these structures remain largely intact, as built, that gives this line its unique status.

1.1.2 It is worth remembering that when these stations were constructed during the early 1870s they represented the essence of the Midland Railway and the style it was actively creating. The MR was one of the first industries to develop a corporate identity, something we all take for granted today.

1.1.3 John Crossley, Chief Engineer of the Midland Railway, had introduced a standard concept for station buildings of a single storey design incorporating gabled pavilions. Mr J. H. Sanders, the Company Architect, developed three designs, based on this concept, specifically for the Settle-Carlisle line. To allow for expected traffic demands, three variants were designed and were numbered 1 (large), 2 (medium) and 3 (small).

1.1.4 They were in many ways uncompromisingly modern for their time. Often referred to as “Midland Gothic”, (though the type 3 (small) buildings were the only ones to actually possess any Gothic features), they lacked the finery and ornate embellishments of earlier design and perhaps represented a link in the move towards more utilitarian styles that would follow in the 20th century.

1.1.5 They were, however, in the finest Victorian tradition of robust and high quality design, materials and construction.

1.1.6 It is interesting to reflect that the style of these stations, when built, was totally alien to the environment in which they located. However, local materials were normally utilised in their construction, with Eden Valley red sandstone being used at the north end and golden freestone at the south. Appleby was an exception, being primarily of red brick. (See Schedules 1 & 2 for details.) Today, together with the railway itself, the stations have become accepted as an integral part of their environment. They have become intrinsically linked with the way of life, past and present, and of the communities they serve and are truly part of that heritage.

1.2 Conservation

1.2.1 One of the many problems facing conservationists is the accuracy of architectural details when restoring buildings such as these.

1.2.2 Firstly, although they were built to a standard design of three types (with the exception of Garsdale), the actual construction was undertaken by different contractors along the route. These were J. Thornton of Bradford; Benton and Woodiwiss of Derby; Joseph Firbank and George Black of Carlisle.

1.2.3 This meant that there would inevitably be variations in the interpretation of the drawings, which would have been far less detailed and prescriptive than modern day plans. Add to this the fact that local craftsmen would have been employed, the inevitable result was many variations in detail.

1.2.4 Close inspection of the waiting shelters, for example, reveals variations in numerous details, especially window and door sizes. Although these were essentially built to the same overall design no two are actually identical.

1.2.5 Secondly, there are very few, if any, photographs of the stations as built. For the first 30 or 40 years of the line’s life there is virtually no record of any of the architectural details referred to here.

1.2.6 Thirdly, the line was a working railway and the stations were an integral part of this. They had to provide modern facilities throughout their existence, and this would involve periodically upgrading and improving them. Additional canopies or weather protection would appear, for instance. Simple wear and tear would lead to replacements, particularly of anything of wooden construction. Later, as the line declined in its importance, sheer neglect would lead to many features such as ornate bargeboards, doors and windows being lost or replaced with modern equivalents.

1.2.7 All these factors conspire to make the restoration of authentic features fraught with difficulty and controversy. Thankfully, the basic structures – the walls and the roofs – have remained virtually intact. But other features such as bargeboards, windows, doors, ridge tiles, guttering and chimney pots have not and tracing original designs as applied to a particular building with complete accuracy is extremely difficult.

1.2.8 It is worth reflecting that when studying the 1909 photograph of Ribblehead station for example, the building had already endured 33 winters and some features would almost certainly have been replaced by then.

1.2.9 It was this issue that the North East (now North of England) Civic Trust had to confront when drawing up a record of architectural details of buildings along the line in 1996. The record was commissioned by the then Settle-Carlisle Railway Conservation Area Partnership (CAP) in a successful attempt to record the contemporary state of buildings and to provide guidance and detail information for anyone carrying out restoration work.

1.2.10 In recognition of the detail variation in and the uncertainty surrounding many architectural features it was decided to standardise on those designs that broadly conformed to the overall style of the line and to the buildings in particular. These features were of course in themselves genuine and accurate, but the study of many older photographs will reveal many of the variations alluded to above.

1.2.11 In this respect the Design Guide does not seek to change this policy and indeed this section is largely based on the CAP document, with some corrections and updates. In noting some of the known significant variations, the Guide merely seeks to record these facts as a matter of interest. (See 1.4 Architectural Details.)

1.2.12 Of course, as and when further detailed information comes to light then this position can be reviewed accordingly.

1.3 Plans and Elevations

1.3.1 As a general guide to the relevant stations and associated buildings, the following list summarises Building Type, Location & Appendix:

Building Type Location Appendix
Station Type 1 (large) Settle, Kirkby Stephen, Appleby Appendix 1a
Station Type 2 (medium) Langwathby, Lazonby, Armathwaite Appendix 1a
Station Type 3 (small) Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Ribblehead, Dent Appendix 1a
Non-Standard Buildings Garsdale Appendix 1a
Waiting Shelters, standard MR Settle, Horton-in-Ribblesdale, Dent, Garsdale, Appleby, Lazonby, Armathwaite Appendix 1a
New Waiting Shelters Langwathby (Up Platform), Dent, Kirkby Stephen, Langwathby (Down Platforms) Appendix 1a

Architectural Details

1.4.1 The sheets containing Architectural Details can be found in the Appendices referred to below.

1.4.2 These are based on the drawings produced by the North-East Civic Trust for the Settle-Carlisle Line Conservation Area Partnership in 1996.

1.4.3 They illustrate authentic features and are designed to provide sufficient detail and information to act as working drawings from which accurate reproductions can be manufactured.

1.4.4 It should be noted, however, that individual buildings vary slightly in detail proportions and measurements. All dimensions must be checked against the original building and necessary adjustments made.

1.4.5 Note that the details in the Appendices are for general guidance and information only. Full size working drawings can be obtained from The Settle and Carlisle Railway Trust.

1.4.6 Windows – CAP sheets 9 & 10 (See Appendix 2a)

1.4.7 Doors – CAP sheets 12, 13 & 14 (See Appendix 2b)

1.4.8 Bargeboards – CAP sheets 15 & 18 (See Appendix 2c)

1.4.9 Ridge Tiles – CAP sheet 20 (See Appendix 2d)

1.5 Schedule of Standard Architectural Details

1.5.1 The schedule contains a list of recommended architectural details applicable to station buildings. This should be referred to when checking details of existing buildings, particularly prior to any planned renovation work.

1.5.2 This should be referred to in conjunction with 1.4 Architectural Details and 8. Inventory of Stations.

1.5.3 Where existing details are at variance with this schedule, either due to removal or replacement, these are indicated in the “Other Comments” column.

Download the associated table for Schedule of Standard Architectural Details

  • Your Journey

    Lots of helpful information, including details of the stations, any planned engineering work, guide books, audio commentaries and some useful Frequently Asked Questions.