Signal Box built in 1928 by the London & North Eastern Railway Company to a Great Northern Railway Type 4 design.
Reason for Listing
Blankney signal box, erected in 1928 by the London & North Eastern Railway to a Great Northern Railway Type 4 design, is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Rarity: it is one of only five Type 4 GNR boxes to survive (2012), and is a good representative of this type.
* Intactness: the box is a substantially intact example of its type and retains significant internal features, including its original frame.
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.
The signal box at Blankney & Metheringham station is on the former Great Northern Railway / Great Eastern Railway joint line running across Lincolnshire, an alternative route for heavy goods traffic to the East Coast main line. Both companies provided signal boxes of their own design on the joint line, but Blankney is a later box erected in 1928 by the London & North Eastern Railway to a Great Northern Railway Type 4 design. Its lever frame is said to be a Tyer Direct Tappett frame (Kay, P and Coe, D. Signalling Atlas and Signal Box Directory Great Britain and Ireland) although a Saxby and Farmer plate in the locking room suggests that it may be a second-hand frame manufactured by that company before it became part of the Westinghouse Brake and Saxby Signal Company Ltd. c.1920. Tyer & Co of Dalston, North London, started manufacturing specialist signalling instruments in 1851. The company began manufacturing locking frames in 1873, becoming Tyers Signals Ltd in 1927; it ceased production some time in the 1950s.
Alterations to the signal box undertaken in the late C20 or early C21, include adding the toilet block projection next to the entrance; replacing the timber horizontal sashes to the operations room with uPVC; and replacing the weatherboarding below the gables, removing the small rectangular four-light windows. Inside, however, the roof remains open to the rafters.
Great Northern Railway Type 4 signal box, built in 1928 by the London & North Eastern Railway Company; brick with a slate-covered roof. Later projection to operations room.
EXTERIOR: the signal box is rectangular in plan, with a pitched slate-covered roof, and timber bargeboards and finials. A timber projection to the operations room also has a pitched roof with bargeboards and a finial to the same design. Around the base of the box is a deep brick plinth, with brick work above. The operations room is substantially glazed with replacement window frames designed to replicate the original Yorkshire sashes. These form a continuous run along the north-east side, south-east gable end and part of the south-west side. There are two windows under segmental arches to the locking room in the north-east elevation; these seem to be original. The entrance to the operations room is in the north-west gable end, accessed by metal steps; the door to the locking room is in the south-east gable end. Marks in the brickwork under the windows at this end indicate the position of the brackets which would have supported a walkway. These brackets remain in place in the north-west gable end supporting the timber projecting section.
INTERIOR: the signal box retains its original frame. A circular cast-iron plate in the locking room has a raised design that includes the words SAXBY & FARMER PATENTEES LONDON, and the company crest, suggesting it may be a second-hand example of this type; however, an alternative identification describes it as a Tyer Direct Tappett frame. The operations room contains a cast-iron wheel with handle, attached to a cast-iron frame, which turns to operate the opening of the crossing gates. The room is not ceiled, but open to the roof, with rafters and collars.
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.