DCSIMG

Derelict station could be returned to former glory

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Its sharp Victorian roof may slip past unnoticed by preoccupied passengers staring blankly out of their train window, but for 100 years this now-derelict shell was Rushton’s main link to the outside world.

First Kettering-bound commuters then later ironstone from the nearby pit streamed out of Glendon and Rushton Station before it finally closed for good in 1965.

The station used to be the nearest rail link to Rothwell, where the then lord of the manor famously declined to allow the railway into the town.

Ivor Watson, 69, of Kettering, who worked in the station’s signal box as a teenager, said: “When it was built it was the only means of transport to get into Kettering except for the horse and carriage.”

The station opened on April 15, 1857, when the Midland Railway opened its line from Leicester to Hitchin, Hertfordshire. Initially it was for goods traffic only, with passenger services starting on May 8.

It is one of 12 stations designed by Midland Railway architect C A Driver, but was the only one to be built of limestone.

The building comprises a single-storey station building, with the waiting rooms and booking hall, and a two-storey station house, where the station master and his family lived.

Until 2006 the house was subject to a statutory tenancy and the daughter of the last station master lived there.

The station closed to passengers in January, 1960, and to goods in 1965, but the signal box remained in use until 1973.

Aged just 19, it was Mr Watson’s first box and he remembers the power and independence was exciting for a young man.

Mr Watson said: “You are your own boss. Nobody can interfere with you. The box was your territory and you could tell anybody who wants to come in you can’t come in, even the station master.”

The station remained the property of the British Railways Board until it was sold in August, 1987. Since then it has been owned by a succession of developers.

It still retains its Victorian character and original features, such as door signs and wood panelled screen complete with the ticket hatch.

In May 1981 it was granted Grade II listed status, but sadly this failed to prevent it suffering years of neglect and it is now in a serious state of disrepair.

But the Friends of Glendon and Rushton Station, a group of 40 volunteers formed two years ago by Frances Peacock, has come to the building’s rescue, taking over the rent and restoring it to its former glory.

Eventually they hope to turn the station into a railway museum, cafe and shop. The group is trying to raise £500,000 to complete the ambitious project.

Mrs Peacock said: “I decided to start the group and begin this project because I wanted to ensure that the station would survive and its character would be preserved.

“It is also a good thing for the local community.”

The group will run tours of the station on weekends from April to October.

To join the group or for more information call 01604 882443 or email francesmariapeacock@yahoo.co.uk.

Donation cheques should be made payable to “The Friends of Glendon and Rushton Station” and posted to Glendon and Rushton Station, Station House, Station Road, Rushton NN14 1RL.

 

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