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Former Railway Works and Attached Footbridge, Oswestry

Description: Former Railway Works and Attached Footbridge

Grade: II
Date Listed: 15 May 1986
English Heritage Building ID: 255542

OS Grid Reference: SJ2957329982
OS Grid Coordinates: 329573, 329982
Latitude/Longitude: 52.8627, -3.0475

Location: 1 Gobowen Road, Oswestry, Shropshire SY11 1HQ

Locality: Oswestry
County: Shropshire
Country: England
Postcode: SY11 1HQ

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Listing Text

A former railway works with attached footbridge of 1865/6, attributed to Sharp, Stewart & Company, Thomas Savin and John Robinson, with later additions and alterations.

MATERIALS: Red, brown and blue brick, slate and corrugated iron roofs with coped verges. Some sheds, and their roofs, are constructed of steel.

PLAN: The main range of the works has a two-bay central section arranged over three storeys, with two-storey, three-bay buildings attached to either side. The group forms the former works offices, stores and washhouses. It has later, inserted staircases and wall divisions. Either side of the group, and to the rear, are long ranges, a single-bay wide, that form a courtyard. To either side of the main range are locomotive and carriage sheds. The seven-bay sheds to the left (the former carriage shops) are subdivided by a red brick division with round-arched openings, alternately sealed in red brick. The sheds to the right, with an attached footbridge, have been redeveloped with new buildings inserted, and their historic layout is no longer legible. The other sheds, the wagon and paint shops and the foundry, remain in their original open plan, although there is a heavy steel platform and concrete structure inserted at the north-west end of the wagon shops. The cambered arches between the carriage and wagon shops have been infilled.

EXTERIOR: The main fa├žade has three gables to the centre, with lower gables to the left and right. To the left is a seven-bay engine shed (the former carriage works). To the right are three further gabled ranges. The windows are round-arched with cast-iron glazing to the centre. The central gabled ranges have roundels, some of which are sealed. The larger windows to the ground floor form a 19-bay round-arched arcade. There are C20 openings inserted to the outer bays of the centre. The three gabled ranges to the right have reconfigured openings to the front. The south-west flank wall has twelve round-arched openings with blue brick arches. A courtyard is entered through an arch in the right bay of the centre-right gable. The elevations facing the yard have a range of openings with round or segmental arches. Some openings are sealed and fenestration is a mixture of cast iron and timber. The boiler house range to the south-east has a tall, tapering, octagonal chimney of brown and red brick. Attached to the north-east of the seven-bay engine shed are three sheds of phased construction. The northernmost two sheds (the former wagon shop) are steel-framed, early C20 structures, clad in later C20 steel sheet. The former paint shop shed to the south-east has a red brick exterior with stone kneelers, skew arches, original shop doors, and an arcade of blank arches along its south-eastern wall. The roof structures of the sheds have a variety of treatments, but are partly of early-C20 date. The roof of the central gable has a lantern with a weathervane to the ridge.

The footbridge is attached to the left of the right gables. It is constructed of wrought-iron, latticed trusses, and supported by two sets of cast-iron columns and a central brick pier.

INTERIOR: The central bays of the main works building have been reconfigured with the insertion of partition walls, ceilings and staircases. Structural cast-iron columns remain in situ. The roof structures are constructed of substantial timber beams in a queen-post arrangement. The connecting bays, former shops and the smithy, are open areas with no fittings of note in the areas inspected. The bays to the right, formerly the locomotive and tender shop, are currently being restored and refurbished, and new buildings inserted within the envelope of the building. The C19 sheds to the left, the former carriage shops have cast-iron columns supporting the roof. The C20 sheds further left are supported by steel structure.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: To the rear of the works buildings is a red brick sheet room, with an attached C20 range, and a further attached C19 single-storey gas works. The sheet room has a queen-post roof and attic lights, although there is no first-floor structure.

HISTORY: In 1848, a branch of Shrewsbury and Chester Railway was the first rail service to reach Oswestry, but it was not until 1860, when David Davies and Thomas Savin had built the Oswestry and Newtown Railway, that the town began its rise to regional prominence as a transport hub. Successive railway lines brought prosperity to the town, which doubled in size between 1851 and 1901, and saw the construction of a number of grand and prominent buildings. In July 1864, a number of these Welsh and English railway lines were consolidated to form the Cambrian Railways, thereby providing an important component of the emerging national rail network. The Cambrian Railways connected Wales with the West Midlands and the cities and industrial areas beyond. In 1866, Oswestry became established as the administrative and engineering headquarters of the Cambrian Railways. A large station, with first-floor company boardroom, and a railway works were built, along with ancillary structures such as a goods shed, a footbridge, a signal box, and a signal post. The works was commissioned by the Cambrian board to fulfil the pressing need for the construction, repair and maintenance of railway locomotives and rolling stock. The design was based on the Shrewsbury and Hereford Railway works at Coleham, Shrewsbury, and is attributed to the Manchester locomotive builders Sharp, Stewart & Company, with detailed specifications by Thomas Savin. The works was built under the supervision of Cambrian engineer George Owen and architect John Robinson of Manchester. The main works building is shown on the Ordnance Survey Map of 1875. The works was adapted and expanded in the later C19 and early C20 to include a gas works and other structures.

With the expansion of the national road network in the interwar period and later, the railways gradually fell into decline. The works were closed in phases through 1964-6, culminating in the closure of the locomotive repair shops on 31 December 1966. Passenger services through Oswestry ceased in November 1966 and goods traffic stopped in 1988, by which time the works had been converted for other commercial uses. In 2010, the former works has been adapted for a variety of uses and there are proposals for further change.

R Christiansen and R W Miller, The Cambrian Railways, Vol. I, 1967: 22, 138-140, 144
R Christiansen and R W Miller, The Cambrian Railways, Vol. II, 1968: 49, 175-176
R K Morriss, Railways of Shropshire (1983), 38
N Pevsner and J Newman, The Buildings of England: Shropshire (2006), 460
J Pryce- Jones, Oswestry A Local History (2000), 62-64

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION: The former Railway Works with attached footbridge at Gobowen Road, Oswestry, built in 1865/6, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historical: this mid-C19 railway works, along with its attached footbridge, forms part of a nationally important regional hub, the headquarters of Cambrian Railways.
* Architectural: the works is built using quality materials to a well-executed design.
* Rarity: relatively few buildings of this type survive with associated contemporary buildings, and in a recognisable form.
* Group value: the works and footbridge form a group with other listed buildings, as part of a C19 railway headquarters complex.

This text is a legacy record and has not been updated since the building was originally listed. Details of the building may have changed in the intervening time. You should not rely on this listing as an accurate description of the building.

Source: English Heritage

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