Signal box built in 1876 by the engineer Joseph Locke for the Great Northern Railway.
Reason for Listing
The signal box, built in 1876 for the Great Northern Railway (GNR), is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
*Architectural interest: it is a particularly good example of the Type 1, an especially attractive signal box design with a great deal of character. The box has elaborate detailing, such as the pointed Gothic arch polychromatic windows which are thought to be unique for the GNR.
*Intactness: it survives with a high degree of intactness, the only alterations being the removal of the fireplace, and the replacement of the steps.
*Context: the proximity of the crossing gates and the original station building provides an important architectural and historic context for the signal box.
*Group value: it has strong group value with the nearby Grade I listed eight-sailed windmill.
The Station at Heckington was built in 1858-9 along with the station-master’s house, goods shed, and railway hotel. The signal box was built in 1876 for the Great Northern Railway (GNR) by the engineer Joseph Locke, and has a later Saxby & Farmer lever frame of 1925. It is an example of what the Signalling Study Group (SSG) in its definitive The Signal Box: A Pictorial History (1986) described as a Type I GNR design. The GNR was unusual, as compared to other railway companies, in that it did not have a rigidly standardised design for its signal boxes for many years. Instead, it set out a broad framework for the design (gables, bargeboards etc) and then employed local builders to construct the boxes, with the result that hardly any two are exactly alike. These Type I boxes were built in large numbers from about 1872 through to the late 1890s, and thirty-seven of them survive. The signal box at Heckington has survived virtually unaltered, with the exception of the removal of the fireplace in the 1980s, and the recent replacement of the steps.
MATERIALS: Red brick in English bond, some black and yellow brick dressings, slate roof with single brick wall chimney stack.
PLAN: The box has a rectangular plan and is located on the south side of the tracks.
EXTERIOR: Two-storeys and two-bays under a pitched roof with a wall stack rising from the south pitch. The gable heads are part weather boarded with vertical timber panels and have curvilinear traceried bargeboards with finials. The elevation facing the track has black and yellow brick string courses, two recessed window panels at ground-floor level with dogtooth courses above, and a dentillated course beneath the walkway. The panels contain six-over-six-pane horned sashes with four centred arch heads and polychromatic voussoirs. The east side has a similar window panel and the west has a door to the locking room. The top-floor room is accessed via an external C20 flight of steps on the west side through a partly glazed door. At this level, three sides are glazed with horizontal-sliding, triple-light, multi-pane windows with timber glazing bars, divided by narrow wooden stanchions. The upper part of the frame incorporates segmental arches above each window. A planked walkway with iron handrail runs around the three glazed sides.
INTERIOR: The 1925 mechanical signal lever frame, comprising a series of hand-operated levers extending the full length of the box, is in working order, although now supplemented by C21 electronic gear and track display screens.
Source: English Heritage
Listed building text is © Crown Copyright. Reproduced under licence.