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Clare Station and platform shelter

A Grade II Listed Building in Clare, Suffolk

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Latitude: 52.0766 / 52°4'35"N

Longitude: 0.5843 / 0°35'3"E

OS Eastings: 577196

OS Northings: 245183

OS Grid: TL771451

Mapcode National: GBR PFF.QKJ

Mapcode Global: VHJHL.22RC

Entry Name: Clare Station and platform shelter

Listing Date: 19 February 2013

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1412333

Location: Clare, St. Edmundsbury, Suffolk, CO10

County: Suffolk

District: St. Edmundsbury

Civil Parish: Clare

Built-Up Area: Clare

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Church of England Parish: Clare with Poslingford

Church of England Diocese: St.Edmundsbury and Ipswich

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Railway station and platform shelter built for the Great Eastern Railway in 1865.


MATERIALS: Red brick laid in Flemish bond with gault brick dressings, and slate-covered roofs.

PLAN: The station building has an H-shaped plan with the station master’s house forming the east (right) range, and the booking hall forming the central and west (left) ranges. The outbuildings, located in the former garden on the east side of the house, are attached via a brick wall to the north-east corner of the house. Opposite the station building on the south side is the platform waiting shelter with attached platform walls.

EXTERIOR: The station building has hipped roofs and prominent rusticated quoins, string and eaves courses. The two-storey station master’s house has an east-facing façade of three bays. The outer ground-floor bays have a tall two-over-two pane sash window, the upper sash having an arched top, set in a segmental-arched architrave of gault brick with a raised keystone. The sills are stone, supported by small corbels at each end. The fenestration is regular throughout the building. There is an off-centre, four-panelled front door, the upper panels moulded, with an over-light, set in a similar architrave. To the left a small, C20 window has been inserted. The lintels of the ground-floor apertures are linked by a string course, and there is also a first-floor string course. The first-floor is lit by three windows, similar to those below, except they are shorter and the lintels are incorporated into the eaves course. The one-bay north and east sides are lit by one window on each floor. There are two brick chimney stacks with oversailing courses rising from the lower end of the west pitch. The outbuildings to the east are attached to the house via a tall brick wall with a plank and batten door leading into the garden. The outbuildings form a single-storey range under a pitched roof and have one window and two doors under gauged brick heads. These were boarded up at the time of inspection (2013). A C20 shed has been added to the east side which is not included in the listing.

The rest of the station building has one storey. The central range is recessed on the north front and has, from the left, a window, and a double-leaf, two-panelled door, the small lower panels moulded. The door is set in an architrave with a segmental-arched over-light and flanking one-over-one pane margin lights. There is a lean-to canopy supported by ornate timber brackets and a ridge stack on the right hand side. The south elevation of the central section has centrally placed double-leaf, glazed doors, flanked by a brick plinth with glazed areas above, all added in the C20. The west range is lit by a window on the one-bay north and south sides. The west elevation has a panelled door and a window on the left, and an area of repaired brickwork on the right where the lavatory facilities were located.

The platform waiting shelter is in the same style and materials as the station building. It is a single-storey building under a hipped roof with two chimney stacks, one with oversailing courses. The north elevation, which faces the platform, has a centrally placed C20 door with the original timber arch above. On either side is a rebuilt brick plinth supporting C20 replica window screens with timber glazing bars. The end bays are lit by a single large window in a gault brick architrave. The west side has an entrance door. Attached to each side is a brick platform wall which has recessed panels, the upper edge dentilled, and is capped with engineering brick.

INTERIOR: The station master’s house has two ground-floor rooms either side of a wide entrance hall, and three first-floor bedrooms. The joinery survives with a high degree of intactness, including four-panelled doors, moulded on the outer side, moulded door frames, skirting boards, a picture rail in the former parlour, and some moulded cornices on the first-floor. The fireplaces have been removed. The staircase, which would have ascended from the rear of the entrance hall, has also been removed, and access is now gained via a C20 straight flight inserted in the north-east corner of the ticket hall. A mezzanine has also been built along the east side of the ticket hall to provide a bathroom. The C20 staircase and mezzanine are not of special interest and are not included in the listing. The entrance doors to the hall, which face each other on the north and south sides, have heavily moulded timber frames; and there is a C19 fireplace, now bricked up, with a plain timber surround. The west section, formerly used as the waiting room, does not retain any fixtures or fittings other than the C19 door and window, and it has an inserted ceiling.

The platform waiting shelter was not available for internal inspection but is said to retain a fitted bench and fireplace (2012).


Clare Railway Station was opened on 9th August 1865 by the Great Eastern Railway as part of the Stour Valley line. In 1862 most of the railways in the eastern counties had been amalgamated to form the GER. Amongst these were a number of lines still in the early stages of construction for which the GER produced a set of standard building designs. These became known as the ‘1865 type’ as this was the year in which most of them were completed. The last branch for which this design was used opened in 1869, bringing the total number of 1865 type stations to about thirty. The GER 1865 type had a complete architectural vocabulary for station buildings, waiting shelters, crossing keeper’s house and goods sheds, which even extended to joinery and ornamental brickwork, including a distinctive type of panelled brick walling used at the rear of the platforms. The style was modular in nature so that various combinations of basic elements could be used according to the requirements of the particular location. The main building consisted of the station master’s house joined to a small, medium or large booking hall which included the waiting rooms. The only real variation was in the choice of red or white brick.

Clare Station is an example of the medium size GER 1865 type with platform shelter and goods shed (listed at Grade II in 2013). The station master’s house had two ground-floor rooms (a kitchen and parlour) on either side of a spacious entrance hall from which a curving staircase led to a landing and three bedrooms. The booking hall was accessed via a door under the stairs. In the garden was an outbuilding containing a scullery, larder and a lean-to lavatory. Some houses, as at Clare, also had a cellar. The booking hall element had a central section divided by a timber partition into the booking office (next to the house) and public booking hall. The end section contained the waiting room and sometimes a staff room, and had external additions providing lavatory facilities. Stations with two platforms, as at Clare, had a waiting shelter on the side opposite the main building. This had an open front, flanked by large screen windows with vertical timber match-boarding below, giving access to the general waiting area with a fireplace and fixed bench seating on both sides. The room on the left was used as a waiting room with a fireplace and that on the right was a lamp room.

The first edition Ordnance Survey (OS) map of 1886 shows Clare Station to consist of an H-shaped station building with a glazed canopy on the north (road) side, a small extension on the west side which must have been the passenger lavatory facilities, and outbuildings to the east. Further to the east are two buildings which historic photographs show to be storage sheds. On the platform to the south of the railway tracks is the waiting shelter and a small building on its west side. To the west of the main building is an area labelled cattle pens, and further to the west is the goods shed through which a railway track is diverted. The goods yard could hold up to fifty wagons, and a movable crane was in place to lift heavier crates and items. By the time of the publication of the second edition OS map in 1897 a signal box had been built to the east of the main building and a small addition made to the lavatory block. There are no changes shown on the 1922 OS map. The following year in 1923 the GER became part of the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER), and the line assumed some importance during the Second World War, carrying construction material for the new aerodromes. As recommended by the Beeching Report, the goods yard was closed in 1966, followed by the station in 1967, and the crane, railway tracks and signal pylons were all removed.

Since the station closed, the buildings have undergone some alterations. The signal box was destroyed by fire in the late 1960s, and the two buildings to the far east of the station master’s house and that to the west of the waiting shelter have been removed. The main building was used by the Country Park warden as a house and office until 2012 and is currently boarded up (2013). In the 1960s or 1970s the timber partition that separated the booking office from the booking hall was removed to allow for the addition of a mezzanine (containing a bathroom). The original curved staircase in the station master’s house was also removed and an open tread staircase was inserted to provide access to the first floor. The central section on the south side of the building has been infilled by a C20 lean-to timber and glazed structure. The lavatory facilities on the west side of the building have been removed and a small timber shed has been built on the east side of the outbuildings. The platform shelter has also been subject to alterations: the open front has been filled in by a door, the flanking windows are C20 replicas of the originals; and the match-boarding has been replaced by red brick.

Reasons for Listing

Clare Station and platform shelter, built for the Great Eastern Railway in 1865, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Architectural interest: the development of the GER 1865 type represents one of the first attempts of a railway company to apply a rigid standardisation to all elements of a station. Whilst other companies reproduced standard designs for the main station building, the GER developed a more systematic approach by applying the same architectural vocabulary to other types of railway building. Their well-proportioned designs, exemplified at Clare, have distinctive gault brick dressings which form an effective contrast with the use of rich red brick;

* Rarity: Clare Station is the only surviving example of the GER 1865 type to retain a full set of buildings, i.e, the main station building with incorporated station master’s house, platform shelter and goods shed (also listed at Grade II). Unusually, the station master’s house survives with its outbuildings intact and the east platform retains its characteristic panelled wall;

* Alterations: although the buildings have been modified, it is highly likely that they are still the least altered of all the surviving examples, and the main station building has survived externally with a high degree of intactness;

* Group value: the station buildings have considerable group value with the goods shed which is further enhanced by the nearby scheduled ancient monument of Clare Castle and listed remains of the C13 castle keep. The accumulative significance of these historic elements confers appreciable heritage value to the site.

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