Type 1 Great Northern Railway signal box, built in 1882 and extended in 1900.
Reason for Listing
Skegness signal box, built for the Great Northern Railway in 1882, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: it is a rare example of a timber framed type 1 GNR box, and also the largest of this type to survive.
* Intactness: both external and internal detail survive well, including its lever frame.
* Historic interest: its enlargement in 1900 illustrates the need to accommodate a longer frame as the amount of track at the station expanded in response to the increase of traffic.
In the 1840s railway signalling was controlled from raised platforms containing a hut for the signalman. The roofed and glazed structures that became familiar in the second half of the C19 and remained a part of the landscape of railways into the C21 were conceived by John Saxby in 1856 to house his newly patented invention, one which allowed mechanical interlocking between signals and points. Saxby's first signal boxes, a new and distinctive building type, were constructed in 1857, with the only subsequent modification to his basic form the addition of an enclosed lower storey containing the locking apparatus. Although this form, determined by function, remained consistent, materials, size, detail and decoration could be varied across the different designs produced by both railway companies and signalling contractors.
Signal box numbers peaked at around 12,000-13,000 for Great Britain just prior to the First World War and successive economies in working led to large reductions in their numbers from the 1920s onwards. British Railways inherited around 10,000 in 1948 and numbers dwindled rapidly to about 4000 by 1970. In 2012, about 750 remained in use.
Skegness signal box is a Type 1 box of the Great Northern Railway (GNR), the earliest of which appeared in 1872. Type 1 boxes were built of brick or timber, the last all-brick examples dating to the 1890s. The signal box at Skegness, the largest surviving example of its type, was built in 1882 and extended by the addition of an extra bay in 1900 to accommodate a new Railway Signal Co. tappet lever frame. This is one of only two lines where the whole signalling process remains fully mechanical.
Type 1 Great Northern Railway signal box, built in 1882 and extended in 1900; timber with slate roof.
EXTERIOR: the signal box is rectangular in plan, of six bays but originally five, of timber frame construction, with a steeply pitched roof edged with decorative bargeboards, and finials to the gable ends. The locking room has two 18-pane, Yorkshire sash windows to the south-east elevation and three small windows to the north-west. The operations room has a Yorkshire sash window to each bay almost the full height of the room to the south-east elevation and to half the south-west gable end, creating an almost continuous run of glazing. The two outer bays have 6x6 panes compared to the 12x12 of the central four windows. The north-west elevation has a run of narrower 6x6 Yorkshire sashes. Access to the operations room is by external timber steps to the north-east gable end, while access to the locking room is through the south-west gable end.
INTERIOR: the operations room contains a lever frame with block shelf and equipment above. There are built-in cupboards against the north-west wall. The locking room has a brick floor. The original signalling mechanism remains in place.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.