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