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Kettering Railway Station, including the main building and platforms 1,2,3 and 4 and their associated buildings and canopies

A Grade II Listed Building in St Michael's and Wicksteed, Northamptonshire

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.393 / 52°23'34"N

Longitude: -0.732 / 0°43'55"W

OS Eastings: 486378

OS Northings: 277972

OS Grid: SP863779

Mapcode National: GBR CVW.V29

Mapcode Global: VHDRH.83CW

Entry Name: Kettering Railway Station, including the main building and platforms 1,2,3 and 4 and their associated buildings and canopies

Listing Date: 5 May 1981

Last Amended: 26 November 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1372596

English Heritage Legacy ID: 230120

Location: Kettering, Northamptonshire, NN15

County: Northamptonshire

District: Kettering

Electoral Ward/Division: St Michael's and Wicksteed

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Kettering

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Kettering St Peter and St Paul

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

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Kettering

Summary

Kettering station, including the main building and platforms 1,2,3 and 4 and their associated buildings and canopies, constructed in 1857 to the designs of C H Driver, expanded in 1879, and with a main station building of 1895-8 by C Trubshaw. A footbridge of 1999-2000 at the south end of the station and modern platform fittings lighting and signage are excluded from protection.

Description

Main station building of 1895–98, including an entrance block likely to be by Charles Trubshaw, with a canopy to platform 1. A shared canopy stands on Platforms 2 and 3 as well as a building of 1879 and one of c.1897. Platform 4 has a canopy and building of 1879, and screen walls of 1999–2000. There is a disused subway of 1879 and a footbridge with associated canopies of 1999–2000.

MATERIALS: The main station building of 1895–98 is of red brick with terracotta and sandstone dressings; the two pitched sections have slate roofs. Its canopies to the forecourt and to platform 1 are of steel and glass. The 1879 canopies to platforms 2, 3 and 4 are of cast-iron, covered in places with glass but predominantly with replacement fibre-glass sheeting. The platform buildings of 1879 and c.1897 are of weather-boarded timber. The footbridge of 1999–2000 is steel and glass.

PLAN: The 1895–98 main station building is located on the east side of the line. It has a long, shallow plan which is flat against platform 1 to the west but stepped and irregular to the forecourt to the east. It comprises two pitched-roofed buildings, hereafter called the entrance block and the accommodation block, linked and abutted by lower flat-roofed sections. The southern three-quarters of the platform 1 elevation have a glazed hipped ridge-and-furrow canopy.
The entrance block is located to the south of the accommodation block and houses the booking hall, booking office and café. The accommodation block houses the café kitchen, and offices and waiting rooms on the ground floor, with an apartment, now vacant, on the first floor.

Platforms 2 and 3 form an island between the east (slow) and west (fast) tracks. On both sides are ridge-and-furrow canopies, which span two flat-roofed, single-storey weather-boarded buildings (of 1879 and c.1897). There is a C21 platform shelter to the north of these. Platform 4, on the west side of the tracks, has a similar ridge-and-furrow canopy to that of the island platforms and a matching weather-boarded building, all of 1879. There is a footbridge of 1999–2000 across the south end of the station, with canopies leading onto those on the platforms. The disused subway of 1879 survives beneath the tracks opposite the station entrance.

EXTERIOR: The main station range of 1895–98 is of red brick with painted timber door and window frames, sandstone window cills and metal rainwater goods. The lintels to the platform elevation are of sandstone; while those to the forecourt are mostly shallow, segmental brick arches.

The entrance block is of one storey plus an attic, and is distinguished by its terracotta dressings and five decorated gables: one at the north and south ends, each with a ball finial, and three to the station forecourt, described below. The accommodation block is one-and-a-half storeys, and is much plainer, with two chimneystacks; the flat-roofed sections are in the same plain style.

The forecourt elevation of the main station range is described first, from south to north. The range starts with the men’s toilet block, which has altered window openings. This steps forward to the former carriage entrance, which has a semi-circular archway and a pitched metal-and-glass roof. Next is the entrance block, which is of five bays and has three continuous terracotta bands (below the cills, at the transoms, and, larger, across the lintels). The first bay breaks forward to a hatchway and then again to a doorway, both for the former parcels office. The second bay projects and has a large window flanked on each side by a smaller window; above is a pitched gable with decorative ‘MR’ insignia and a ball finial. The three northerly bays carry a hipped ridge-and-furrow steel-and-glass canopy, carried on brackets between the bays. A shaped-gable chimneystack is decorated with a sunflower motif and a semi-elliptical entrance archway (with C21 metal-framed automatic doors) that has a terracotta arch ring, dropped keystone and quoins, beneath a low, ramped parapet. A short single-storey link connects the entrance block to the accommodation block, which has three bays at first-floor level, each with a central pitched dormer and casement window that breaks through the dentilled eaves. At ground-floor level there are six bays; the first, fourth and fifth are obscured by single-storey projections (erected for circulation and as a partitioned toilet block for the ladies’ waiting rooms behind).

The main station range ends with a long, single-storey wing which steps back to a canted corner at the north end (when built this was parallel with the wall of the engine shed).

The elevation to platform 1 has irregular fenestration, with continuous sandstone strings across the lintels and cills. There is a small, affixed metal milepost (platform 3 has the same) and a large Y-shaped metal gradient-post. The southern three-quarters of the elevation are articulated beneath sixteen bays of hipped ridge-and-furrow steel-and-glass canopies on steel columns. The bay to the station entrance (opposite the archway to the forecourt elevation) has C21 metal-framed automatic doors; adjacent on its south side there are C20 tubular steel railings, which originally surrounded the entrance to the subway.

The island platforms have two, painted weather-boarded buildings with four-panelled doors and paired-one-over-one-sash windows, both with eared architraves. There are paired brackets between and decorative cornices, and skirting boards. The building to the south, of 1879, has a low extension at its south end which is now used for plant. The one to the north, of c.1897, is smaller and has a low extension at its north end, and has a metal plaque commemorating its use as a YMCA forces canteen during the Second World War. Between the weather-boarded buildings there is a low enclosure of decorative cast-iron railings with a gate at its south end, originally surrounding a stairwell to the subway that is now filled in.

A ridge-and-furrow canopy of 1879, supported by cast-iron columns, spans the island platforms. It is thirteen bays long and three columns deep. The columns have simple plinths and capitals beneath four-way brackets to decorative spandrels, also of cast-iron, with delicate pierced foliate work cast to the same pattern as Driver used at the 1857 station. The west elevation, to platform 3, has matching gable screens. These have been lost on the east elevation, to platform 2, where they have been cut back, but the bosses to the gutter ends have been reinstated. The canopy finials to both platforms are replacements and much simpler than those in the Driver drawings (the same is true of the canopy on platform 4). The canopy spans the contemporary southern building with lattice trusses, eliminating the central column and all but the end spandrels. The northern weather-boarded building was constructed around the columns in c.1897. To the north there is a C21 single-storey, metal-and-glass platform shelter.

Platform 4 has thirteen bays of the same 1879 canopies, two columns deep. The spandrel ends above the platform edge have been cut back to the same effect as those on platform 2. From the southern end there are: three bays over a screen wall of 1999–2000, with a door to the subway of 1879; five bays over a weather-boarded building of 1879, which matches those on the island platforms; then five further bays over a 1999–2000 screen wall. A low, engineering brick wall running the remaining length of the platform.

The steel-and-glass covered footbridge at the south end of the station also dates to 1999–2000. It has a stepway, lift and canopy to each platform.*

The platform signage, lighting, seating, lamp-posts, bicycle storage racks and other subsidiary features are all modern.*

INTERIOR: The south end of the main station building, including the entrance block, houses (from south to north): the men’s toilets; a refuse area; a storeroom; staff offices, toilets and kitchen; the booking office; the booking hall and entrance lobby, with adjacent waiting room; and a café with offices and kitchens. These rooms have been altered, with suspended ceilings, replacement floors, partition walls and modern services, but retain some fixtures and fittings, including four-panelled doors, door and window surrounds, cornices and wide skirting boards. The booking hall and entrance lobby are divided by a segmental archway with engaged octagonal piers. They, and the adjacent waiting room, have plasterwork platbands. The café offices and kitchens were not available for inspection.

Beneath the café and kitchens there is a cellar of exposed, vaulted brick, most recently in use as a public house and now vacant.

The café kitchens continue beyond the entrance block into the accommodation block. Beyond them is the former ladies’ waiting room, now disused, with cornice, dado rail, wainscot and skirting board, and four-panelled doors remaining. It has a toilet block which projects into the forecourt behind; the two cubicles have moulded joinery. The first floor of the accommodation block is an apartment, originally with two bedrooms, a bathroom, W.C. and store. The plan-form of the bedrooms survive intact; the bathroom has been converted into a kitchen and the landing and stairs have been rebuilt. Both bedrooms and the kitchen have fireplaces with tiled reveals; in one bedroom and the kitchen these have the same decorative cast-iron grates and chimneypieces.

To the north of the accommodation block there is (from south to north): a modern telecommunications room; the former telegraph office, fireplace and dismantled switchboard equipment; the former gentlemen’s waiting room and toilets, with tiling and moulded joinery, and now part-partitioned for a boiler room; the present stationmaster’s office and adjacent meeting room, refurbished in the late C20 and with no surviving fixtures or fittings; and a disused storeroom.

The timber interiors of the weather-boarded buildings incorporate skirting boards, panelling, dado rails, wainscots, door and window surrounds and cornices. Some rooms retain their fireplaces, with simple surrounds. Only the waiting room and first-class waiting room at either end of the southern island building and the central waiting room of the platform 4 building are in use today: these have fewer or no visible fixtures and fittings as they have been lined with plasterboard and given suspended ceilings. The northern island building is pierced by the central columns of the canopy above.

The 1879 subway is brick-lined with a vaulted roof and is now used only for services.


* Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990, it is declared that the steel and glass-covered footbridge, its lift, stepways and canopies, at the south end of the station, constructed in 1999-2000, as well as platform signage, lighting, seating, lamp posts, and bicycle storage racks, which date from the late-C20 or afterwards, are not of special architectural or historic interest.

History

The first Kettering Railway Station was built as part of the Midland Railway’s Leicester to Hitchin Line, which opened in 1857. The line was engineered by Charles Liddell (c.1813–1894) and the stations were designed by the architect Charles Henry Driver (1832–1900). The Midland Railway had been formed in 1844 by the merging of three railway companies which met at Derby: the North Midland Railway, the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway and the Midland Counties Railway.

Driver adopted a distinctive simplified Gothic style for the stations on the Leicester to Hitchin Line, the details of which were later illustrated in Henry Laxton’s Examples of Building Construction (1858). The station buildings were built to a T-plan comprising a two-storey stationmaster’s house with end gables and a single-storey ticket office with ridge-and-furrow canopy flanking the platform. Kettering, like Wellingborough, was built as a larger version of this design, extended to a cruciform plan. The appearance of the original station at Kettering is recorded in an illustration in the Illustrated London News (23 May 1857).

Kettering became an important centre of the Midland Railway’s expanding network in the late-C19, and in 1879 the line through the town was quadrupled to increase capacity. The new (fast) lines were built to the west of the old (slow) lines. At Kettering three new platforms were built: 2 and 3, on an island between the fast and slow lines, and 4, to the west of the lines. The island platforms and platform 4 were both given a single-storey weather-boarded waiting room and canopies with cast-iron columns and spandrels to match those designed by Driver in 1857 (their replication is shown in a surviving 1879 contract drawing).
The main station building of 1857, on platform 1, was demolished and replaced by the Midland Railway 1895–98. The first part to be erected was the elegant entrance block of 1895. This contained the booking hall, booking office, parcels office and refreshment room; Gordon Biddle (Biddle 2003 2nd ed. 2011) ascribes the design to Midland Railway architect Charles Trubshaw (1841–1917). In the same redevelopment phase plain red-brick additions were built at both ends to house other functions including staff offices and waiting rooms. These additions included an integrated one-and-a-half storey accommodation block of c.1897 with staff bedrooms on the first floor. Platform 1 was given hipped ridge-and-furrow canopies on steel joists, and a weather-boarded building was added to the north of the existing one on the island platforms.

The importance of Kettering as a late-C19 railway centre necessitated an extensive cluster of ancillary buildings in the vicinity of the station. The most significant were: a two-bay engine shed, erected at the north end of the forecourt by the contractors C. Deacon & Co. in c.1875; and a goods shed with offices, built at the south end in c.1894. These were both connected to the lines by sidings. An early, London Midland & Scottish Railway site plan (of 1923 or later) shows further buildings: various sheds and stores in the forecourt; a signal box (of 1913) to the south of the island platform, between the fast and slow lines; and to the south-west of that, beyond the fast lines, a wagon repair shop and associated sidings. The Ordnance Survey map of 1968 shows that a second, larger goods shed with sidings had been constructed to the north of the existing one, and that the engine shed of c.1894 had been demolished by that date. The signal box closed in 1987 and was moved to the heritage railway in Butterley, Derbyshire, where it remains. None of the other buildings described in this paragraph survive today; further investigation may reveal surviving associated elements around the wider site.

Drawings show that internal alterations were made to the main station building in c.1974, and in 1999–2000 the station underwent a programme of refurbishment, including the erection of a new footbridge at the south end (to replace the subway) and the rebuilding of the screen wall to platform 4. In the late-C20, the canopies on platforms 2 and 4 were cut back to the spandrels to improve clearance for passing trains.

Reasons for Listing

The List entry for Kettering station, including the main building and platforms 1,2,3 and 4 and their associated buildings and canopies, constructed in 1857 to the designs of C H Driver, expanded in 1879, and with a main station building of 1895-8 likely to be by C Trubshaw, is recommended for amendment for the following principal reasons:


* Historic Interest: as a station built for the Midland Railway company, one of the most important and ambitious companies of the era of railway development in England;

* Historic Association: as a station associated with Charles Henry Driver, a notable railway architect and expert in the architectural use of ironwork with several listed buildings to his name, and with Charles Trubshaw, a significant railway architect responsible for listed railway buildings such as the Midland Hotel in Manchester;

* Rarity: as a station with a ridge and furrow canopy with decorative cast-iron columns and spandrels, a rare surviving canopy of this type;


* Architectural interest: the station has developed but each stage of development has architectural and historic interest and survives well.


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