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Daisyfield Signal Box

A Grade II Listed Building in Little Harwood, Blackburn with Darwen

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Coordinates

Latitude: 53.7544 / 53°45'15"N

Longitude: -2.4664 / 2°27'58"W

OS Eastings: 369346

OS Northings: 428770

OS Grid: SD693287

Mapcode National: GBR CT60.TW

Mapcode Global: WH96W.2WTP

Entry Name: Daisyfield Signal Box

Listing Date: 21 November 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1412054

Location: Blackburn with Darwen, BB1

County: Blackburn with Darwen

Electoral Ward/Division: Little Harwood

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Blackburn

Traditional County: Lancashire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Lancashire

Church of England Parish: Blackburn St Stephen

Church of England Diocese: Blackburn

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Summary

Saxby and Farmer Type 6 signal box built 1873 for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway.

Description

Railway signal box, 1873, for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway by Saxby and Farmer. Saxby and Farmer Type 6 design of circa 1869.

MATERIALS: brick with Welsh slate roof.

EXTERIOR: simple, plainly detailed, two-storey signal box with small footprint and a low pitched hipped roof. Entrances to both the lower (locking room) and upper (operating) floor are via doorways on the southern side. The front (western half) is continuously glazed with short, uPVC windows. The original front windows consisted of two groups of three sashes, the central to each group being fixed, the remainder being horizontally sliding, all sashes being subdivided with glazing bars. The modern windows respect the original openings but are of a different pattern. The locking-room windows have also been replaced, but retain the original openings with their segmental heads. The staircase with toilet extension on the top landing is modern.

INTERIOR: the signal box retains a lever frame, however this is a reconditioned Lancashire and Yorkshire Railways frame that was installed at Daisyfield in 1943.

History

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.

In 1863 John Saxby went into partnership with John Farmer forming the signalling contractors Saxby and Farmer which dominated the early development of railway signalling and signal box design. The company designed their Type 6 signal box to fulfil contracts with the London North Western Railway and the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway. By 2013 only two examples of this design still survived, both built in 1873 for the latter company's Blackburn to Hellifield Line which opened in 1872. Daisyfield Signal Box survived the closure of the associated station in 1958 and was modernised with new windows, stairs and a toilet extension in circa 2007.

Reasons for Listing

Daisyfield Signal Box, built 1873, for the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Representative: a rare surviving example of the once numerous Saxby and Farmer Type 6 signal box.
* Date: built in 1873 to a design developed in the 1860s, the signal box is a good, rare surviving example of an early form of signal box: the simple, utilitarian design with the shallow pitched hipped roof and the relatively small windows being particularly characteristic.

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