The English Railway Station: See photos from 200 years of British railway history

By Ben Miller | 09 December 2014

From the ancient Southampton station styled on an Italian town palace to the modern St Pancras, railway stations revealed

Click on the picture to launch the gallery

Steven Parissien’s earliest roots lie in railway stations. The Director of Compton Verney’s great-grandfather was the station master of Birmingham Snow Hill, and he’d undoubtedly take pride in his descendant’s lavishly-illustrated new book on railway architecture, travelling from the ornate and forgotten to the modern and pristine, such as the transformation of St Pancras into an international gateway.

There are 200 years of design and social evolution involved. Stockton, in County Durham, accommodated the house where people could buy tickets for the world’s first passenger railway, in 1825, and country stations became the hub of rural Victorian towns and villages, powered by a booming industry.

A black and white photo of an old railway station building
© 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 15 minutes apart.

  • The English Railway Station by Steven Parissien is out now (English Heritage, £25).

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