The development of Britain’s railway network resulted in the construction of myriad superbly designed stations, viaducts, tunnels and other important structures. The early railways took a pride in the impression that they gave to intending passengers and often employed notable architects to design these impressive buildings and, as the railway companies expanded they often employed in-house architects who created a house style that came to mark their employer’s buildings. A notable example is Charles Trubshaw of the Midland Railway whose work at stations such as Sheffield, Nottingham and Bradford at the end of the 19th century created one of the industry’s most identifiable styles. Over the years the fortunes of many of these buildings have declined as, in the years after 1948, the railway network contracted. By the early 1960s the railway industry was faced by a vast number of redundant buildings and large numbers were demolished whilst others were threatened with demolition in face of modernisation. Victorian architecture was largely deprecated but the tide was to change through the influence of such notable figures as the late Sir John Betjeman.
Whilst groups such as the Victorian Society were at the forefront of campaigns to see buildings retained, there remained a fundamental problem of encouraging owners in both the public and private sectors to preserve them and, ore importantly, restore them to the highest standards. Recognising that highlighting good practice in restoration could be achieved through an awards scheme, the Best Restored Station Competition was launched in 1979. Now organised by a charity – the National Railway Heritage Awards – this competition has, over the past 40 years, paid tribute to the restoration work undertaken on some of the country’s most important railway structures – from the great viaducts such as those across the Forth and the Tay as well as the great main line stations such as King’s Cross, St Pancras and Paddington – as well as many smaller structures that are such a feature of Britain’s railway landscape.
In this, the 40th anniversary year of the awards, Restoration Rewarded recalls some of the classic buildings that have been featured in this fascinating annual competition.
Restoration Rewarded - A Celebration of Railway Architecture by Robin Leleux
Cover Price : £19.99
Binding : Hardback 128 pages
Dimensions :279mm x 216mm portrait
ISBN : 978 0 9957493 7 5
Words : Approx. 10,000
Illustrations : 200 mostly colour
Publication : December 2019
ABOUT THE AUTHOR
Robin Leleux has been involved with the National Railway Heritage Awards for a number of years and is currently the chairman of the Adjudication Panel and a trustee of the charity that organises the annual awards. Now retired and living near Skipton, he is a noted railway historian who has written several well-regarded histories - including the volume on the East Midlands in the classic David & Charles 'Regional History' series
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