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Tutbury Crossing Signal Box, South Derbyshire

Description: Tutbury Crossing Signal Box

Grade: II
Date Listed: 28 August 2013
Building ID: 1413816

OS Grid Reference: SK2149929677
OS Grid Coordinates: 421499, 329677
Latitude/Longitude: 52.8642, -1.6821

Locality: South Derbyshire
Local Authority: South Derbyshire District Council
County: Derbyshire
Postcode: DE65 5DW

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Listing Text


A signal box of 1872, of Type 1 design by McKenzie and Holland.

Reason for Listing

Tutbury Crossing Signal Box, built 1872 by McKenzie and Holland for the North Staffordshire Railway is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural interest: dating from 1872 it is one of only two remaining examples of a McKenzie and Holland Type 1 signal box prior to North Staffordshire Railway's standardisation of signal box design;
* Intactness: despite alterations, it remains largely intact and retains its McKenzie and Holland frame of 1897.


From the 1840s, huts or cabins were provided for men operating railway signals. These were often located on raised platforms containing levers to operate the signals and in the early 1860s, the fully glazed signal box, initially raised high on stilts to give a good view down the line, emerged. The interlocking of signals and points, perhaps the most important single advance in rail safety, patented by John Saxby in 1856, was the final step in the evolution of railway signalling into a form recognisable today. Signal boxes were built to a great variety of different designs and sizes to meet traffic needs by signalling contractors and the railway companies themselves.

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; it was anticipated that most would be rendered redundant over the next decade.

Tutbury Crossing signal box on the Stoke to Burton-upon-Trent line was opened in c.1872, built by McKenzie & Holland as one of their Type 1 design. A McKenzie & Holland 1886 patent, 5” frame was installed in 1897, and is retained although some levers are now missing. The first-floor windows frames have been replaced with uPVC in recent years, and the timber steps replaced in steel.


Tutbury Crossing signal box was built in 1872 and is a Type 1 design by McKenzie and Holland. An 1886 patent 5" frame was installed in 1897.

EXTERIOR: the box is of brick with weatherboarding around the windows of the upper floor on the front and side elevations. The space between the eaves and the windows is clad with two planks, a characteristic feature of early McKenzie & Holland boxes. The box is almost square in plan with a low hipped, slated roof. The first-floor windows have been replaced in uPVC, but respect the original openings. On the ground floor, the locking-room windows are of iron, set under segmental headed brick arches, these have been altered; reduced in size and blocked internally, but the iron window bars are still evident. The box is accessed by a flight of modern steel steps, although evidence of the earlier steps does survive in the form of iron brackets and a section of wooden staging leading to the main door. The front of the box retains what appears to be the original North Staffordshire Railway 'Tutbury Crossing' name plate.

INTERIOR: the box retains a McKenzie & Holland 1886 patent, 5” frame which was installed in 1897; in addition, the track indicator plan, train control instruments and signal levers are all retained and functioning. A metal hatch in the floor presumably provided access to the locking frame on the ground floor, which survives at least in part. The more domestic architectural features include the fire surround although the grate has been replaced with a mid-late C20, gas fire. A small, fitted, wooden locking desk also appears to be an original feature.

Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.