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These Photos reveal 200 years of British railway architecture

a black and white photo of railway station with shafts of light coming through the roof

St. Pancras train shed in 1965. © English Heritage

These photos celebrate Britain’s railway architecture

Steven Parissien’s earliest roots lie in railway stations. Now the Director of the West Midlands stately home and gallery, Compton Verney, Parissien’s great-grandfather was the station master of Birmingham Snow Hill.

His forebear would undoubtedly have taken pride in his descendant’s lavishly-illustrated new book on railway architecture, which travels from the ornate and forgotten to the modern and pristine, including the recent transformation of St Pancras into a gleaming international gateway.

There are 200 years of design and social evolution involved in the book including Stockton, in County Durham, where people could buy tickets for the world’s first passenger railway, in 1825.

an old postcard illustration of a learge two line railway station

Liverpool Crown Street shortly after opening in 1830. Copyright English Heritage

a colour photo of a railway station frontage at night

Carlisle Citadel Station, which opened in 1847. © English Heritage

a black and white photo f large building with portico entrance

Monkwearmouth Station, Tyne and Wear, built 1848. © English Heritage

a black and white photo of a large building with an archway frontage

William Tite’s Southampton Terminus Station, built in 1839. One of the earliest surviving railway buildings in England, it closed in 1966. © English Heritage

a black and white photo of a station platform with men in the distance

York station completed in 1877 and pictured here in 1890. © English Heritage

a photo of a railway station with cars parked outside

Cambridge Station built in 1856, pictured in 1950. © English Heritage

a photo of a train steaming through a railway station

Waldhurst Station, built in 1852. © English Heritage

Country stations, which before the post war Beeching closures became the hub of rural towns and villages, are also included in the book, which is published by English Heritage.

Parissien deplores the “catastrophic and needless” destruction of station buildings of station buildings after World War Two, but celebrates the rise of the railway in the consciousness of British communities during the past 50 years.

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, William Tite and Philip Hardwick are among the architects included, not forgetting station masters and their dogs.

Stations are also revealed as playing a vital role in eradicating regional time differences – in the pre-railway age, London and certain areas of the country could find their clocks as much as 15 minutes apart.

a black and white photograph of a railway station interior

The trainshed at Liverpool Street Station opened in 1874 and pictured here in the 60s before it was rebuilt in the mid 80s. © English Heritage

a black and white photo of a long station platform

Birmingham Snow Hill train shed demolished in 1976. It was discovered that the station was needed just a decade later. Copyright English Heritage

a black and white photo of a train next to a curved railway platfrom

St Ives Cornwall before it was destroyed in 1971. © English Heritage

a photo of a railway station with a modern sixties design

The brand new Portishead station in 1954. It closed just ten years later. Copyright English Heritage

a photo of a building with a high glass 1960s frontage

Banbury Station opened in 1959. © English Heritage

a photo of a two storey Victorian brick building

Where it all began. Bridge Street Stockton. The first official train station servicing the world’s oldest railway line. © English Heritage

The English Railway Station by Steven Parissien, is published by English Heritage (£25). Buy it now at the English Heritage online shop.

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