Great Malvern Station covered pedestrian walkway and goods entrance tunnel


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Great Malvern Station, Avenue Road, Malvern, Worcs


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Statutory Address:
Great Malvern Station, Avenue Road, Malvern, Worcs

The building or site itself may lie within the boundary of more than one authority.

Malvern Hills (District Authority)
National Grid Reference:


Two tunnels, dating from c.1863 and perhaps designed by EW Elmslie, forming a pedestrian approach and a goods entrance to the former Great Malvern Hotel (now Malvern St James’ School).

Reasons for Designation

The Covered Pedestrian Walkway and the Goods Entrance Tunnel at Great Malvern Station are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Intact survival: both the tunnel and walkway have undergone few changes and retain a high degree of their original appearance and structure; * Group value: the walkway and tunnel form an inter-connected grouping of transport and hotel buildings which include Malvern St James' Girls School (Grade II), the Railway Bridge to Great Malvern Station (Grade II) and Great Malvern Station (Grade II); * Social interest: both the tunnel and walkway give a clear indication of the functioning of a luxurious spa hotel in the mid-C19; * Disability interest: the gently-sloping walkway is an early example of a structure which was specifically designed to help those who were infirm and in need of help in gaining access to a building; * Rarity: the walkway, with its arched roof of corrugated iron and decorative window frames and cresting of cast metal is a rare survival of a mid-C19 building.


The Worcester and Hereford Railway Act was passed in 1853 and led to a series of buildings at Great Malvern connected with the railway. The station was opened in 1860, and so was the bridge carrying Avenue Road over the line, and the Great Malvern Hotel, a spa hotel, which was built to the east of the line. Both the station and hotel were designed by EW Elmslie and the bridge may well also have been to his designs. The passenger tunnel was referred to in a ‘Private agreement’ made in July 1863 between the Great Malvern Hotel and the West Midland Railway Company. However, this would appear to have been drawn up after the walkway was built, as an article in the Worcester Chronicle of June 1862 and titled 'The Imperial Hotel, Great Malvern' (see SOURCES) states 'On alighting from the railway carriage at the station the intending visitor will be directed to a covered way leading from the platform to the hotel. Unpleasant exposure to wind, rain, or other inclemency of weather will thus be prevented.' The structure appears from early photographs to have been originally painted in the livery of the West Midland Railway Company. Title passed when the hotel became a school. The tunnel is no longer used and is now blocked with a wall of cinder blocks at its north-eastern end. The goods tunnel and entrance to the north appears to have been built at the same time as the pedestrian tunnel. It is also blocked with a wall of cinder blocks at its eastern end and is not now used. Although the agreement to build the tunnel dates from 1863, it is apparent from the construction of the road bridge and the basement level of the hotel, that a form of direct entrance from the station to the hotel was planned from the start. A clause in the private agreement of 1863 refers to the private siding for the delivery of coke to feed the boilers of the hotel. It is believed that the entrance was also used for the delivery of other goods associated with running the hotel, including saline solution, brought from Droitwich Spa, to provide salt water baths.


Two tunnels dating from c.1863 and perhaps designed by EW Elmslie, forming a pedestrian approach and a goods entrance to the former Imperial Hotel (now Malvern St James’ School).

MATERIALS: walling of ashlar and rubble stone and red and blue bricks and roofing of corrugated iron sheeting.

PLAN: the pedestrian walkway forms part of the road bridge at its south end, which carries Avenue Road over the railway cutting in which the station is set. It then runs north, alongside the railway track for c.100 metres and then gently curves through 45 degrees to head east where it passes under the drive to the west side of the former hotel and connects to the basement level of the building. The walkway is not buried for most of its length and its floor slopes upwards as it gradually progresses north and then east, through the earth bank of the railway cutting. The goods tunnel is approached from a short siding which is set on the east side of the main line, just to the north of the road bridge. It has a portal at the railway end, flanked by curved retaining walls, and runs in a straight line, W-E, to connect to the basement level of the hotel. Unlike the passenger tunnel, the goods tunnel runs underground for its whole length. Both the covered pedestrian walkway and the goods tunnel are joined by a brick retaining wall that borders the east side of the railway cutting.


EXTERIOR: The southern portal of the tunnel leads directly from the northern end of the east station platform. An entrance portal forms part of the structure of the road bridge and has a round-arched head with alternating green and yellow stone voussoirs, with a hoodmould which follows the curve of the arch and terminates, at right, with a carved label stop of a crowned queen. A similar label stop showing a king's head was formerly on the left side and is now in storage. Beneath the bridge is a series of five openings with arched heads and sills and cast iron tracery. The main body of the tunnel has lower walling of blue engineering brick, with a stone coping to its top. Above this a series of brick piers with stone dressings support the roof. Between them are horizontal lights which were formerly glazed, with metal frames which include cusped, diagonal glazing bars. The arched, corrugated metal roof appears to be original and has a decorative crest of panels of cast iron foliage which runs along its centre. The tunnel has a flat roof and rectangular windows to the portion abutting the hotel/school building. INTERIOR: the flooring of the tunnel is of stone slabs. The roof beneath the road bridge is pitched, with a C20 corrugated metal lining to one side. Plain iron hoops rise from the piers at either side to support the roof. The tunnel beneath the driveway is lined with red bricks and has an arched roof. Brackets for gas lighting survive at the north eastern end of the tunnel and the tunnel splits into two at this end, with a separate passage which is lined to its lower walling with timber planking and which formerly connected with the luggage lift of the hotel.


EXTERIOR: the retaining wall to the side of the tracks has alternating bands of blue and red bricks to its southern end. The angled northern end has a stone coping and has been partially rebuilt in red brick. The tunnel entrance is round arched and has wooden plank doors with iron strap hinges. INTERIOR: the arched vault is lined with bricks. Railway lines and sleepers remain in situ.


Books and journals
Pevsner, N, Brooks, A, The Buildings of England: Worcestershire, (2007), 462
'Imperial Hotel, Great Malvern' in Worcester Chronicle, (11 June 1862), 2


This building is listed under the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 as amended for its special architectural or historic interest.

End of official listing

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