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Weston-super-Mare Railway Station

A Grade II Listed Building in Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset

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Coordinates

Latitude: 51.3443 / 51°20'39"N

Longitude: -2.9719 / 2°58'18"W

OS Eastings: 332402

OS Northings: 161028

OS Grid: ST324610

Mapcode National: GBR J6.VK5C

Mapcode Global: VH7CK.FGQT

Entry Name: Weston-super-Mare Railway Station

Listing Date: 20 November 2017

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1448779

Location: Weston-Super-Mare, North Somerset, BS23

County: North Somerset

Civil Parish: Weston-super-Mare

Built-Up Area: Weston-Super-Mare

Traditional County: Somerset

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Somerset

Summary

Railway station, designed in 1875-1876 by Francis Fox for Bristol and Exeter Railway and completed in 1884 for the Great Western Railway. Some C20 alterations, including the replacement of the canopy roof coverings.

Description

Railway station, designed in 1875-1876 by Francis Fox for Bristol and Exeter Railway and completed in 1884 for the Great Western Railway. Some C20 alterations, including the replacement of the canopy roof coverings.

MATERIALS: square-coursed, rock-faced, grey rubble stone with Bath stone dressings and Welsh slate roofs.

PLAN: long single-storey platform ranges on either side of the railway tracks, joined by a covered footbridge. The station sits on a curve in the track and the two ranges are orientated north-east to south-west.

EXTERIOR: the north-west range is the principal station building. A plain valance canopy stretches across the front of this elevation, formed of a central triple-gabled section flanked by pitched canopies, all carried on painted, cast-iron brackets decorated with quatrefoils. There are a variety of single, double and triple transom and mullion windows, and the doors are topped by either four-centered arches or rectangular fanlights. From left to right the arrangement of bays in this elevation is 1:1:16:1:3:1:9:1:3. The central three bays are flanked immediately by gable-end cross wings, beyond which are long outer wings. The right-hand outer wing includes the main entrance within a four-centred ashlar arch. The outer wings are terminated by gable-end cross wings; the left-hand one has an external set of steps with decorative rails. There are pitched roofs with regularly-spaced stone, ridge stacks, as well as an irregular arrangement of side stacks (all of the chimney pots have been removed). All of the gable ends are topped by decorative finials.

The outward-facing elevation of the south-east station range, on the opposite side of the railway, consists of a long blind wall backing onto the platform, a flat-roofed block and a gable-end cross-wing block, with a set of brick steps to the right return. The windows are a mix of single and double lights in transom and mullion openings; all are boarded up. There is also a four-centered arched entrance and, located between the two blocks, is the scar of a wide, blocked opening topped by a steel beam.

The platform elevations are treated similarly to the outward-facing elevations, including similar window treatments. Both have continuous canopies consisting of painted, cast-iron columns and decorative brackets with quatrefoil detailing, and wrought-iron beams that support the metal roofs (roof coverings replaced in the late C20) boarded by fretted valances. At the north end of the north-west platform the canopy continues as a free-standing structure carried on paired columns. Also at this end, is a third platform that faces onto a small railway siding. On each platform, at opposite ends, are cast-iron weighing-machine bases. The platform benches are of various dates. The cast-iron and wooden benches on the north-west platform display a variety of bench-end designs that reflect previous station operators including the Great Western Railway (GWR) and the Western Region of British Railway (BR(W)).

Towards the east end of the station, the footbridge has wrought-iron lattice girders, glazed side walls and a metal roof (replaced in C20). At either end of the bridge are multi-level pavilions under pitched roofs lit by timber rooflights with decorative fretwork.

INTERIOR: the booking hall and office are situated in the central part of the north-west station range; most of the visible fittings in these rooms are C20 and C21 and they have suspended ceilings. To the south is a waiting room with a coffered-timber ceiling. It also contains a wall-mounted marble plaque from the 1920s commemorating Dandy, a dog used to collect charitable donations from rail passengers. Further south is the former station-master’s office and a parcel office (converted into offices and a café respectively), and beyond are stores and a toilet that is not in use. To the north of the booking office is the former enquiry office which has a coffered-timber roof; toilets; a refreshment room which was substantially refurbished in the late C20; a covered passage way with an four-centered arch (used as a goods' entrance) of ashlar and timber-coffered ceiling, and further toilets. The footbridge is accessed at the north end of the platforms by covered stairways which have been subject to piecemeal repairs. The stairwells are decorated with yellow, white and green-patterned glazed bricks, and have four-centered, ashlar arches and there are timber handrails. At the northern end of the south-east station range is a former gentlemens' toilet which retains some original fittings, including fragments of coloured floor tiles. Adjacent to this is a covered passageway with a four-centered arch and coffered ceiling that mirrors the passageway on the opposite platform. To the south is a disused staff room, a former waiting room (used as a meeting room) with a large central cross-axial beam, and a disused ladies' toilet and store. Some of the rooms within both platform ranges retain wainscoting, chimney breasts and panelled doors.

History

The railway first came to Weston-super-Mare in 1841 as part of a line connecting the commercial ports of Bristol and Exeter. The Bristol and Exeter Railway (B&ER) Company were allied with the Great Western Railway, and shared the same chief engineer, Isambard Kingdom Brunel. The line was laid out between 1841-1844, and the first section opened on 14 June 1841 between Bristol and Bridgwater and was 54km in length, with a 3km single-track branch line to Weston-super-Mare. The town’s first station opened in 1841 (now Alexander Parade Gardens). In 1866 it was demolished and a new station was built to the south (now the site of a supermarket), accommodating a newly expanded, double-track branch line, and a signal box was built 300m to the south-east. In 1879 the B&ER amalgamated with the GWR, and in 1884 a new railway loop line was completed which replaced the Weston branch line. A new station was built on a curve in the loop line and the 1860s former station was then used for goods and demolished in the late C20.

The present station was designed in 1875-1876 by Francis Fox, the chief engineer for the B&ER. However, by the time Weston-super-Mare Station, as it was originally known, was opened on 1 March 1884 the line was under the remit of the GWR. The station was renamed Weston-super-Mare General in 1953 and reverted to its original name in 1968. The booking hall remains in the same location and one of the original waiting rooms is still in use. Many of the other rooms have changed from their original purpose, and some have been internally subdivided. The refreshment room was substantially refurbished in around the 1990s and renamed 'Off The Rails', and the glazed timber partitions at the ends of the platforms have been replaced. The original glazed canopy roofs over the platforms were removed at an unknown date and replaced by new metal canopy roofs in 1992 with funding from the Railway Heritage Trust, Woodspring District Council, Avon County Council and Regional Railways.

Reasons for Listing

Weston-super-Mare Railway Station, designed by Francis Fox and opened in 1884, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* The distinctive Gothic architecture provides a strong unifying design throughout the station complex, complemented by the footbridge with its prominent flanking towers;
* Weston-super-Mare station makes good use of local sandstone and contrasting Bath ashlar dressings and is further enriched with decorative ironwork;
* The buildings have been little altered externally since the late C19, and internal features such as late-C19 joinery and decoration survive in the principal public spaces.

Historic interest:
* For its role in the development and increasing popularity of Weston-super-Mare as a seaside destination during the C19;
* A station associated with Francis Fox, a notable railway architect with several listed buildings to his name.

Group value:
* As a station that possesses group value with the adjacent, albeit earlier, listed signal box.

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