1867 buildings at Crewe Railway Station

Overview

Heritage Category:
Listed Building
Grade:
II
List Entry Number:
1436435
Date first listed:
25-Aug-2016
Statutory Address:
Nantwich Road, Crewe, Cheshire, CW2 6HR

Map

Ordnance survey map of 1867 buildings at Crewe Railway Station
© Crown Copyright and database right 2019. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
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Location

Statutory Address:
Nantwich Road, Crewe, Cheshire, CW2 6HR

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

District:
Cheshire East (Unitary Authority)
Parish:
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:
SJ7115154755

Summary

A pair of railway station platform buildings, flanking walls and arcades of 1867, for the London & North Western Railway under the supervision of William Baker, altered in the late C19 and C20.

Reasons for Designation

The 1867 buildings at Crewe Railway Station, a pair of railway station platform buildings and flanking walls and arcades of 1867, for the London & North Western Railway, altered in the late C19 and C20, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

* Design quality: of the impressive and well-detailed flanking walls, arcades and platform buildings overseen by William Baker, in particular the mirrored design with bowed projections for the platform inspectors’ offices, the ‘greybeard’ keystones and vivid polychromy; * Date and rarity: as one of the best pieces of mid-C19 platform architecture designed anywhere on the LNWR network, and as rare surviving examples nationally of buildings of a major junction station of this period; * Intactness: as buildings which although altered have survived well taking into account the extreme intensity of use and the numerous phases of expansion and alteration that have taken place; * Railway development interest: of this phase of the station as the first junction between more than two mainline railways, an important development in the national railway network which is manifest in the emphasis on impressing en-route passengers.

History

The Grand Junction Railway (GJR) was the first trunk railway, formed in 1833 to create a connection from Birmingham to a junction with the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (which opened in 1830). The railway opened in 1837. The station took its name from nearby Crewe Hall, and the town was largely built by and for the railway. Through mergers, takeovers and privatisation, Crewe station passed from the GJR to the London & North Western Railway (LNWR; 1846), the London, Midland & Scottish Railway (1923), British Railways (1948), Railtrack (1994) and Network Rail (2002).

The first Crewe Station was sited to the N of the Nantwich Road bridge, and was supplemented with a separate, more modest station building and platform when the Manchester & Birmingham Railway opened in 1842. The station was rebuilt by the LNWR in 1849 to accommodate increased traffic following the opening of the line to Scotland, but as the rail network expanded rapidly and trains grew ever longer and more frequent, the LNWR was compelled to rebuild the station entirely in 1867. The new station was largely to the S of the Nantwich Road bridge and comprised two large island platforms with station buildings and three pitched-roofed trainsheds over the platforms and adjoining lines. The cream brick retaining wall to the E of the station (facing Platform 1) and the screen wall to the W of the station (facing Platform 11) were also constructed at this time and supported the trainsheds; the screen wall provided some protection from crosswinds. William Baker was Chief Civil Engineer for New Works of the LNWR in the 1860s, and thus responsible for the station, although the design cannot be positively attributed to him personally as the surviving archive drawings are unsigned. A substantial amount of fabric, including the platform buildings, survives from this phase.

Subsequent alterations include the addition of a storey to the building on Platform 5 in 1891 for Post Office use, and removal of short sections of the W screen wall to provide access to an island platform built further to the W in 1903-6. To the N of the Nantwich Road bridge, the eastern screen wall has been reduced in height to just above the arches, although archive drawings and the surviving section immediately to the N of the bridge suggest that this stretch never had the elaborate cornice found elsewhere. This probably occurred when the Crewe Arms hotel was rebuilt in 1880. C20 electrification involved alterations to the roofs and columns. The western building (on Platform 6) has had the northern end removed and a first-floor office inserted over the resulting space, c1962. The interiors of the buildings have been largely stripped of historic features during several phases of refurbishment. Extensive works were undertaken to the station in 1984-85 as part of a £14.3 million track and signal modernisation programme. This included renovated waiting rooms, buffets and toilets, and probably alterations to the doors and windows of the platform elevations, although Platform 6 retains some original sash windows.

Details

Railway station platform buildings, flanking walls and arcades of 1867, for the LNWR under the supervision of William Baker.

MATERIALS: cream and orange brick and terracotta.

PLAN: two linear station buildings aligned N-S on separate platform islands*, set to the S of the Nantwich Road bridge*, and two flanking walls that run to the N and S of the bridge – one a retaining wall to the E of the station (facing W onto Platform 1) and the other a screen wall to the W of the station (facing E onto Platform 11). Short lengths of arcade also run northwards from the Nantwich Road bridge, sited to the E of Platform 11, and southwards from the SW corner of the western platform building.

EXTERIOR: forming the core of Crewe Railway Station, which has expanded considerably around these structures.

The W screen wall is approximately 20ft high and runs northwards from just to the S of the main platform areas; its line is continued to the S by a later steel-framed screen*. A single track runs between this wall and Platform 11. The wall is well-detailed with a vivid polychrome treatment of its brickwork, and the same appearance to both faces. It is built mainly of cream stock bricks laid in English Bond (alternating courses of stretchers and headers), with a plinth that is stone-coped. The wall is divided into bays by pillars with rusticated E and W faces. Each bay contains an arcade of three semi-circular brick arches (the centre one slightly larger), with bands of cream alternating with bands of orange with a central blue course, and supported by two slimmer, plain pillars, setting up an effective rhythm. Brickwork panels fill the space between the pillars and are coped at the level of the springing for the arches. The panels are of cream brick, recessed within an orange brick surround; the laying pattern is a variable Flemish Garden Wall bond, sometimes with two stretchers to one header in each course, and sometimes with paired headers with two or three stretchers between. A terracotta drip mould unifies the three arches. Above is a dentilled cornice which continues across and terminates the pillars between bays, and above this a cream brick parapet with flat stone copings. The wall is interrupted after six bays where the S footbridge* of c1904 crosses to the western platform island. To the N of this it continues for a further 12 bays, the northernmost of which stands underneath the northern footbridge*. The three bays to the S of this have lower brick panels, and sawn inner faces of the arcade capitals indicate that they once were filled to this level. Beyond a short gap, another bay stands alone beneath part of the modern booking hall*. To the N of this, beyond the abutments for the Nantwich Road bridge, the wall continues for a further eight bays.

To the E of the track and Platform 11, another section of wall runs N from the abutments of the Nantwich Road bridge for eight bays. This is a true arcade with no plinth between the pillars, but the central bays have largely been infilled* to create the E wall of a later building*, which also conceals much of the W elevation of the arcade. The arcade running S from the SW corner of the western platform building is similarly detailed and again some bays have been infilled* by adjacent buildings* of cream brick.

The eastern wall is a retaining wall and so only the W elevation is described. This runs southwards from a point five bays to the N of the Crewe Arms*, with a further seven bays from here to the Nantwich Road bridge. It is detailed the same as the W screen wall, but the arches have been infilled* with obscure material, and wall is coped with concrete* a single course above the arches, except for one and a half bays immediately N of the bridge, where the wall rises higher than this and then steps in over three courses to form a high-level plinth, with a short parapet above. To the S of the bridge, for c25m the wall is plain cream brick in Flemish Bond, with four blocked openings*, the truncated abutments of a footbridge, and a stone cornice of alternating recessed and projecting stones. Above this is a modern cream brick parapet*. This section terminates in alternating red sandstone quoins. Southwards of this, the wall is again as described for the western wall, with the following exceptions: the pillars between bays continue upwards as pilasters in a stone parapet; the arches are infilled with cream brick, and the central panels of cream brick stand proud of the orange surround rather than being recessed within it. This section continues for 18 bays. Halfway along, the northern timber gable* of a train-shed roof rests on the cornice, and from here southwards the stone parapet gives way to a later blue engineering brick parapet.

The principal elevation of the eastern platform building faces W, and is also mainly of cream brick and terracotta, with some orange terracotta. This elevation has a similar regular rhythm to the screen walls, being divided into bays which each contain three arches. These arches however are segmental, with frogged voussoirs with orange bands between, and a keystone bearing a bearded face, known as the ‘Greybeards’. Bays (from the left) 2, 4 and 6 are recessed, with projecting bows in bays 3 and 5. Bay 8 does not have arches. In the flat bays, each arch contains an elaborate timber architrave with a large semi-circular central arch and smaller side arches, similar to the screen walls. These architraves are supported in the centre by two slender cast-iron columns with Corinthian capitals, and by corbels at the jambs. Windows and doors are all timber replacements* and some window openings have been lowered for doors, but most retain their deep stone sills which rest on the stone plinth. A modillion cornice runs across the elevation, supporting the train-shed roof*. This cornice is interrupted at the bows, which have flat roofs and a simpler, shallower modillion cornice. The bows have paired windows in each arch supported by a single central column, and there are no Greybeards. At the N end some door jambs have cast-iron protectors (painted red), and a granite drinking fountain of Queen Victoria’s Silver Jubilee (1863) is mounted in the wall, with a small semi-circular cast-iron trough below, lettered ‘FOR YE DOGS’. At the right the cornice returns along the S elevation which is otherwise largely blind, as is the E elevation, which has some intrusions from the erection of a red-brick first floor of 1891*, and later alterations. The N elevation contains plain doorways with stone wedge lintels and cast-iron jamb protectors, and is chamfered on the NW corner, returning for a short length on the W, underneath the north footbridge, northwards of the principal elevation.

The western platform building principally faces E, and is a mirror of the building described above, save that it is truncated to the N of the northernmost bow window. This building retains some timber sliding-sash windows. A retail kiosk* obscures the three southernmost arches. The S elevation is blind. The W elevation also has the modillion cornice which continues that of the arcade that projects southwards from the SW corner. There are three small square windows and three larger segmental arched windows. The left-hand section was obscured during maintenance at the time of inspection but appears to include a basement stair protected by a stone plinth and railings. The N elevation comprises a C20 retail frontage*.

INTERIOR: the interiors of both platform buildings are devoid of historic features and not of special interest.

*Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that these aforementioned features are not of special architectural or historic interest.

Sources

Other
Initial Heritage Assessment, Alan Baxter Associates, 2016
Listing Screening Assessment, Historic England, 2016

Legal

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

The listed buildings are shown coloured blue on the attached map. Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’), structures attached to or within the curtilage of the listed building (save those coloured blue on the map) are not to be treated as part of the listed building for the purposes of the Act.

End of official listing

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