Retford Railway Station and gate piers with attached walls to north


Heritage Category:
Listed Building
List Entry Number:
Date first listed:
Statutory Address:
Station Road, Retford, Nottinghamshire, DN22 7DE


© Crown Copyright and database right 2021. All rights reserved. Ordnance Survey Licence number 100024900.
© British Crown and SeaZone Solutions Limited 2021. All rights reserved. Licence number 102006.006.
Use of this data is subject to Terms and Conditions.

The above map is for quick reference purposes only and may not be to scale. For a copy of the full scale map, please see the attached PDF - 1470324.pdf

The PDF will be generated from our live systems and may take a few minutes to download depending on how busy our servers are. We apologise for this delay.

This copy shows the entry on 23-Sep-2021 at 23:05:46.


Statutory Address:
Station Road, Retford, Nottinghamshire, DN22 7DE

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

Bassetlaw (District Authority)
Non Civil Parish
National Grid Reference:


Railway station built 1891-1892 by the Great Northern Railway to the designs of Goddard.

Reasons for Designation

Retford Railway Station, built 1891-1892 by the Great Northern Railway to the designs of Goddard, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:

* for the very rare survival of the original finishes in the dining room and refreshment room, notable not only for their strong aesthetic quality and fine craftsmanship but for the particularly ornate nature of their design which was not at all common for public refreshment rooms at railway stations;

* for its remarkably long and well-balanced composition in the Italianate style and decorative ironwork on the impressive platform canopy;

* for its association with the Goddard family’s architectural practice, whose work has been extensively recognised on the statutory List.

Historic interest:

* for its well-preserved plan form, including the service rooms in the Stationmaster’s house, and its remarkably complete elevations with their original fenestration and platform canopy, which overall represent one of the most intact medium-sized GNR stations.


Retford Railway Station was built 1891-1892 by the Great Northern Railway (GNR) on the site of an earlier station which had originally opened in 1852. This had mostly consisted of timber structures probably designed by the GNR's architect Henry Goddard who was responsible for most of the other stations built on this line between 1850 and 1852. The facilities at the station were later found to be insufficient for the large number of passengers resulting from Retford’s important position at the junction of the York to London and Lincoln to Manchester lines, so in 1886 the GNR announced that they were to be improved. After a delay of several years, it was reported in the Retford Times (21 November 1890) that the GNR had ‘ordered such additions to the station as will make it practically a new one. A new and extensive range of white brick buildings, comprising waiting rooms, refreshment rooms, and all necessary buildings required for a complete station will be erected.’

The new station, built in the Italianate villa style favoured by the GNR, was constructed by Messrs Arnold and Sons of Doncaster at a cost of approximately £17,000. It was designed by Goddard but it is not known whether it was Henry Goddard who was responsible. He was still working in the 1890s but he belonged to a prolific and successful family practice based in Leicester, which came to be known as Goddard, Paget and Goddard, so another architect in the partnership could have carried out the design. There are many buildings on the List associated with this practice, notably the Grade II* listed former Leicestershire Banking Co. Headquarters on Granby Street (1872-74) and the prominent Grade II listed Gothic revival Clock Tower in the Haymarket (1868), both in Leicester. The first and second edition Ordnance Survey maps of 1886 and 1899 depict two signal boxes to the north and south of the station, both of which were removed in 1961. The buildings shown on the far side of the tracks on the 1899 map have also been removed and replaced by a plain brick, flat-roofed waiting room. In 1931 the old booking office was modernised, although some of the original panelling was retained. Between 1940 and 1946 the Women’s Voluntary Service used the station as a canteen and rest room serving HM and Allied Forces 2,284,000 meals during the Second World War. The Stationmaster’s house has not been used since the early 1950s. This is known locally as the Catering Manager’s house, as the Stationmaster’s house is thought to be on the opposite side of the road.


Railway station built 1891-1892 by the Great Northern Railway to the designs of Goddard.

MATERIALS: white brick laid in Flemish bond with darker gault brick dressings and a slate roof covering.

PLAN: the station is located on the east side of the rail tracks and has a very long, linear plan roughly aligned north-south. The original plan, which has changed very little, is shown on the architect’s plans to have consisted of (from the left): urinals, office, ladies’ second class waiting room, anteroom and WCs, ladies’ first class waiting room, the Stationmaster’s house, dining room, refreshment room, gentlemen’s waiting room, Inspector’s office, booking hall, booking office, parcels and cloakroom, telegraph office, public office, Stationmaster’s office, urinals, Porter’s room, Guard’s room, lamp room and fish store.

The following are not included in the listing: the platform wall attached to the south end of the platform elevation; platforms 2, 3 and 4; and the red brick boundary wall to the car park north-west of the station.

EXTERIOR: the station is in the Italianate style and is mostly one storey, except for the two-storey Stationmaster’s house. The pitched roof has wide overhanging eaves supported by shaped wooden brackets, a dentilled brick cornice and tall chimney stacks with oversailing brick courses and original panelled square pots. The regular fenestration consists of two-over-two pane horned sash windows set under segmental, keyed brick arches with stone lintels. A moulded brick string course runs just below the impost of the arches, giving the impression of pilasters in between the recessed windows. Each room is articulated externally, breaking up the general uniformity of the long building’s design. The rooms in this description are named after those on the original plans.

From the left, the urinals are lit by a group of four windows with their lower sections bricked in, followed by a group of three windows lighting the office. The ladies’ second class waiting room is distinguished by a projecting gabled bay with moulded wooden bargeboards and a sawtooth cornice. It is pierced by three windows and has a blind circular feature in the gable head with a moulded brick surround. After this, the anteroom and WCs are lit by four windows with their lower sections bricked in, followed by the ladies’ first class waiting behind a gabled bay, and then a door with a two-light segmental arch overlight, leading to the yard of the Stationmaster’s house. This two-storey house has four bays and a sawtooth string course. Its roofline is broken by a gable in the first bay and by a slightly projecting gable over the last two bays. The ground floor is lit by three windows in the same style as those already described but with moulded brick edging to the brick arches. The four-panel door in the fourth bay is sheltered by a simple wooden canopy supported by shaped wooden brackets. There are four first-floor windows. The recessed, two-storey section to the right, which houses the public dining room with bedrooms above (belonging to the Stationmaster’s house) has a single-storey projection with two windows to the pantry and the china and glass store. Another window to the right lights the dining room, and there are two windows above, the second under a gable.

Next are two groups of three windows to the refreshment room and gentlemen’s waiting room respectively, followed by two single windows to the office and store. The booking hall is distinguished by projecting triple gabled bays with a sawtooth cornice and string course, and a glazed porte cochère with a ridge and furrow roof and valence. It is supported by octagonal iron columns with shaped brackets. The central bay contains a pair of wide doorways (the doors since replaced), divided by a square iron column with recessed mouldings, with large four-pane overlights. The flanking bays have pairs of windows, those to the left being bricked up (as part of the original design). The left bay has been heightened by the addition of another storey.

After this is the following: the projecting gabled bay of the booking office; four windows lighting the parcels and cloakroom, the last window having been pierced to create a door; the projecting gabled bay of the telegraph office; a single window to the public office; two windows to the Stationmaster’s office; two partly bricked up windows to the urinals; four windows lighting the Porter’s room and Guard’s room; three windows to the lamp room; and lastly a carriage access to the fish store with iron gates that appear to be original.

On the platform-facing elevation, the architectural treatment is very similar to the front elevation, except for the large pitched roof canopy that runs the length of the platform. This has a slender iron frame and is supported by round iron columns with moulded bases and fluted conical capitals with octagonal dentilled caps from which spring four ornate iron brackets pierced with scroll and wheel decoration. The platform canopy has been truncated on the side nearest to the permanent way to accommodate electrification in the early 1980s. Some of the four-panel doors on the platform elevation remain but others have been replaced in the C20.

INTERIOR: the original plan form has remained little altered and elements of the internal joinery and decoration survive well, most notably in the former dining room, refreshment room and Stationmaster’s house. Throughout the building, the moulded window surrounds are intact, as are a good number of four-panel doors in their moulded surrounds, although most of the fireplaces have been either removed or blocked up.

The dining room is tiled from floor to ceiling, consisting of a dado with raised pattern tiles forming large cream panels bordered by blue, green and mustard. Above the dado, white tiles are grouped in fours, divided by strips of green tiles with blue squares at the corners. The frieze is of mustard tiles with a raised pattern, the whole completed by a moulded cornice. The highly decorative floor is tiled in a geometric pattern of blue, white and brown, edged in chevron and anthemion. The floor pattern contains two large squares edged in bead moulding, bead and reel, and a scalloped pattern, containing a central diamond filled with stylised foliage and fleur-de-lys. The fireplace has a wide black surround with fluted jambs, a panelled frieze, tiled hearth and cast iron grate.

A historic photograph (taken around the turn of the C20) of staff in the refreshment room shows that it had the same tiled floor, walls and dado as the dining room. The tiled floor survives, as does part of the dado, whilst the tiling on the upper walls remains in situ underneath plasterboard. The original long panelled counter remains with its moulded square panels and fluted wooden brackets supporting the counter, although this has been replaced. The low built-in cupboard behind the counter also appears to be original but it has lost some of its doors.

The entrance hall and corridor of the Stationmaster’s house has a red and black tiled floor laid in a carreaux d’octagones pattern. The walls of the kitchen and scullery are lined floor to ceiling in brick-shaped white tiles. These rooms have back-to-back fireplaces but only one cooking range partially survives. The scullery has a flagstone floor. A small sitting room behind the kitchen retains a small round-arch fireplace with a surround of glazed brown tiles resembling brick and a tiled hearth. The open well staircase which has a closed panelled string, turned balusters and shaped newel posts, provides access to the five bedrooms. These have skirting boards, cornices and narrow wooden floorboards. The bathroom is lined full-height in white and cream tiles with a dado in a blue fret design.

Some other original fixtures and fittings survive elsewhere in the building. The booking hall is lit from above by a large raised lantern with panelling around the opening, and some of the tall rectangular panelling has been retained above the ticket desk and to the left of the entrance. The former waiting rooms (one of which is now a coffee shop) retain wooden dados and picture rails; and the former Stationmaster’s office retains a moulded cornice. The former Porter’s room and Guard’s room have been opened up to form one room but the wooden floor laid in herringbone has been retained. The lamp store and fish store at the northern end of the building have glazed brick dados, and the latter room has a king post roof.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: at the northern end of the station flanking the opening to what is now the car park, is a pair of tall square piers in white brick with blue brick quoins and pyramidal caps, attached to which are short lengths of white brick walls.


Books and journals
Brandwood, G, Cherry, M, Men of Property The Goddards and Six Generations of Architecture, (1990)
Tania Slinger, ‘Homeward Bound: A study of the designs of the railway stations between Sheffield and Lincoln, along the old Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway’, History of Design BA dissertation (deposited at Retford Library)


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

Your Contributions

Do you know more about this entry?

The following information has been contributed by users volunteering for our Enriching The List project. For small corrections to the List Entry please see our Minor Amendments procedure.

The information and images below are the opinion of the contributor, are not part of the official entry and do not represent the official position of Historic England. We have not checked that the contributions below are factually accurate. Please see our terms and conditions. If you wish to report an issue with a contribution or have a question please email [email protected]