Railway station built in 1839-40 to the designs of Francis Thompson for the North Midland Railway.
Reasons for Designation
Wingfield Station, built in 1839-40 to the designs of Francis Thompson for the North Midland Railway, is listed at Grade II* for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: it forms part of a series of railway structures built for the North Midland Railway which was designed by two of the most important and influential engineers of the railway era. The line is considered to be one of the best preserved examples of the pioneering phase of railway development in England, and Wingfield Station thus forms an early, rural railway ensemble of outstanding interest;
* Rarity: as the sole survivor of Thompson’s notable sequence of picturesque stations between Derby and Leeds, it is one of the earliest railway stations in England, and therefore the world;
* Architectural interest: it is a subtly proportioned building with a delicacy of detailing that was greatly admired by contemporary commentators who appreciated its refined architectural qualities;
* Architect: Thompson has twenty-two buildings on the List, of which three are listed at Grade II*, and his work on this stretch of the North Midland Railway is widely regarded as his best;
* Group value: it has strong group value with the Grade II listed contemporary station master’s house and boundary wall, also by Thompson, and is the single surviving first generation station amongst the many original bridges which are listed on this line.
The Midland Main Line is the outcome of a number of historic construction phases undertaken by different railway companies. The first two phases were carried out simultaneously between 1836 and 1840 by the North Midland Railway and the Midland Counties Railway. The North Midland Railway, which operated between Derby and Chesterfield and onwards to Rotherham and Leeds, was pre-eminently the work of George (1781-1848) and Robert Stephenson (1803-1859) who, along with Isambard Kingdom Brunel, are the most renowned engineers of this pioneering phase of railway development. They worked closely with the Assistant Engineer, Frederick Swanwick (1810-1855). The railway’s architect Francis Thompson (1808-1895) designed stations and other railway buildings along the line. The less demanding route for the Midland Counties Railway, which ran between Derby and Nottingham to Leicester and on to Rugby, was surveyed by Charles Blacker Vignoles (1793-1875) who was engineer to a large number of railway projects. These two companies (along with the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway) did not yield the expected profits, partly because of the fierce competition between them. This led to the three companies merging into the Midland Railway in 1844 which constituted the first large scale railway amalgamation. The next part of the line from Leicester to Bedford and on to Hitchin was constructed between 1853 and 1857 by the engineer Charles Liddell (c.1813-1894) and specialist railway architect Charles Henry Driver (1832-1900). In 1862 the decision was made to extend the line from Bedford to London which was again the responsibility of Liddell, except for the final fourteen miles into London and the design of the terminus at St Pancras (listed at Grade I) which was undertaken by William Barlow (1812-1902). Additional routes were then added from Chesterfield to Sheffield in 1870, and from Kettering to Corby in 1879. The most important changes to the infrastructure of the Midland Railway were the rebuilding of its principal stations and the increasing of the line’s capacity, involving the quadrupling of some stretches of the route south of the Trent from the early 1870s to the 1890s.
Wingfield Station was built in 1839-40 as part of the North Midland Railway. The route from Derby to Chesterfield and onwards to Rotherham and Leeds was surveyed by George Stephenson in 1835, and the Act of Parliament for the construction of the 72 mile line was obtained in 1836. Linked at Derby to the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway and the Midland Counties Railway, it was to form part of a route from London to Yorkshire and the North East. George Stephenson was joined by his son Robert as joint Chief Engineer on the project in 1837. In order to concentrate on his mineral and mining interests, George relinquished his railway projects in 1839 so it was his son who saw the North Midland through to its completion in 1840. It is not known how Robert met Francis Thompson as the latter had been working in Canada until 1837 but Robert delegated to him the design of the 24 stations along the line from Derby to Leeds. These formed a notable sequence of picturesque buildings in the tradition of lodge or gate-keeper’s cottages on country estates. Wingfield is the only station of this group to survive. Thompson commissioned the artist Samuel Russell to produce a series of lithographs of some of the stations, including Wingfield, which was also reproduced by J. C. Loudon in a supplement to his influential Encyclopaedia of Cottage, Farm and Villa Architecture (1842) where it was slightly amended as a suitable model for a suburban villa.
Wingfield Station originally consisted of the station building and the station master’s house to the south. A small building in a similar style was added to the north of the station, probably soon afterwards. It is likely that this was used for parcels as there is a raised area on its north side, accessed via a flight of steps. The station was closed in 1967 and is now in private ownership. The platform has since been removed.
Railway station built in 1839-40 to the designs of Francis Thompson for the North Midland Railway.
MATERIALS: finely jointed, tooled ashlar gritstone laid to courses with ashlar dressings and slate roof covering.
PLAN: the station is on the east side of the railway and is rectangular on plan with central projections on the east and west sides. The small parcel building to the north is approximately square on plan.
EXTERIOR: the station is in an original picturesque Classical style. It is single-storey and has five bays with a taller advanced central bay and lower flanking ranges. Each element has a shallow pitched roof with wide-spreading bracketed eaves and paired moulded stone octagonal chimney stacks on bases. The roof over the north range has lost its slate covering, as has the rear slope of the south range. The central bay has plain corner pilasters and a central doorway with tall narrow flanking lights, all within flush ashlar frames. The door has four panels, the two above being taller, and a rectangular overlight. The two-bay flanking ranges have corner pilasters and unframed window openings with stone sills supported by square modillions at either end. The windows are six-light casements with narrow glazing bars and margin lights. Not all the original glass remains. The left return has recessed blocked window openings (it is not clear if these have always been blocked); and the right return has an unframed doorway with a wooden door which has six flush panels.
The rear (west) elevation faces onto the railway tracks and has a similar composition to the façade except the middle bay is lit by a tripartite window with central bordered casements. This is surmounted by an ornamental sculpted swag which formerly framed a clock, and at one time the station name was carved in gilt lettering above. At a later date the station name appeared each side of the swag as the outline where capital letters were formerly affixed is visible on the stonework. The return walls have a timber door with two lower panels and glazed upper section with slender glazing bars. The door on the left return has been boarded up. The flanking ranges are lit by windows in the same style as on the façade, although those on the north range have been boarded up.
INTERIOR: the front entrance opens into the booking hall, to the right of which is a wide cambered arch opening with the remnants of a panelled soffit leading to what was presumably the ticket office. There are two small rooms to the right of this, presumably private rooms for staff, and another two rooms to the left of the booking hall which are thought to have been waiting rooms. Little of the joinery, fixtures, fittings, plasterwork or finishes survive with the exception of the internal moulded frames around the main doors and windows; and moulded cornicing in the booking hall and one of the waiting rooms which also retains deep skirting boards and a panelled door. Three relatively plain moulded fireplace surrounds remain, one with its original decorative square opening, but the others with later brick insets.
SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: the forecourt of the station on the east side is paved in large stone flags that are overgrown and have been resurfaced in places, notably alongside the north of the building.
To the north of the station is a small single-storey building in an equally dilapidated state. It is constructed of coursed and tooled ashlar gritstone of a reddish hue, and has a shallow slate-clad pyramidal roof with wide-spreading eaves. On the east and west sides is a large double-leaf six-panelled door. The interior consists of a single space with a king-post roof with purlins, stone-flagged floor, and walls of exposed stone.
Attached to the north-west corner of the building is a short length of coped ashlar wall, running parallel to the track. Turning at right angles to the east of the wall is a short flight of stone steps, much overgrown, which provided access to the raised loading area.
Attached to the south-west corner of the building is a square pier of ashlar stone with a moulded plinth and stepped cap. Also attached on the south side is a short length of coped ashlar wall terminating in a pier in the same style. These elements originally formed part of the boundary wall extending northwards from the station building alongside the railway.