Macclesfield Railway Station

Where the Victorians modelled their stations on cathedrals, temples and palaces.

Modern Man models his on shopping centre and office blocks.

Richards and MacKenzie – The Railway Station

Though it seems to me that Macclesfield Station, in its earlier and current states, refuses to dovetail neatly into either of these sloppy binary paradigms.

macclesfield_central_1900.s

The former – single storey buildings, fitting unostentatiously into the topographic and practical constraints of the site. A neat, tightly packed rhythm of brick arches with a compact and bijou porch welcoming the expectant traveller.

P1250546

The latter a functionalist block, fully utilitarian crossings with lift access columns, embodying a particularly industrial demeanour.

From the golden age of steam to the moribund years of diesel, Macclesfield sits comfortably somewhere, betwixt and between ugly duckling and fully fledged swan.

Nestled in the lea of the East Cheshire Highlands, offering practical everyday transport solutions to the beleaguered commuter.

No frills, no thrills.

macclesfield(harden4.1954)centrall_old4

c964acf720e0b759fda2f4788256c528

The London and North Western Railway opened the line between Manchester and Macclesfield on 19 June 1849 – Macclesfield Central was born. Later it would become a key station on the Stafford branch of the West Coast Main Line, remodelled in 1960 and rebranded as the much snappier Macclesfield Station.

Which it proudly announces topically and typographically to the world.

P1250547

Welcome to Macclesfield a town that is clearly going places, and so are you.

The station won the Best Kept Station in Cheshire Award for 2007, but was reported in summer 2011 to be distinctly shabby, with peeling paintwork.

And yet there is something in the constituent Platonic steel, glass and concrete forms that never ceases to amuse and amaze me, this is Brutalism on a human and provincial scale.

The raw concrete softened with three or four shades of grey, as a concession to the delicate suburban sensibilities of this once silk-fuelled town.

Take a trip with me – join the Cheshire train set.

P1250548

P1250549

P1250550

P1250551

P1250552

P1250553

P1250554

P1250555

P1250557

P1250558

P1250560

P1250564

P1250565

P1250566

 

 

Farewell Grand Central – Stockport

O day and night, but this is wondrous strange!

And therefore as a stranger give it welcome.
There are more things in heaven and hell, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

We have seen things come and go in, on and around Stockport Station’s little acre.

From coal drops to tear drops.

1921

Before

32150409_10211361729907095_2053268313387040768_n

During

32151652_10211361731187127_591730808444682240_n

32169802_10211361731267129_7236074038882205696_n

32266781_10211361732587162_1190410895449128960_n

Archive photographs courtesy of John Eaton

After

The post-industrial leisure complex has come almost full circle – overwritten by the complex needs of the modern day service-worker –  Holiday Inn, Espresso Bar and Mini-mart complement the hot-desked, twenty-four hour online access all areas open-plan office operative.

Gone now the Laser Quest, Super Bowl, Multiplex, Theme Pub days of old.

 

50807

53566

53567

53568

53569

53570

Photographs from Stockport Image Archive

Time has been called on the post-modern film-set, cast and clad in plastic, brick, steel and concrete.

The future is here today and it means business.

P1240988

P1240991

P1240993

P1240995

P1240996

P1240997

P1240998

P1240999

P1250001

P1250002

P1250003

P1250005

P1250006

P1250008

P1250009

 

Coventry – Railway Station

Steven Parissien, director of Compton Verney Museum in Warwickshire, says:

“Coventry is a great station. Its predecessor was pummelled to bits but it really wasn’t particularly marvellous anyway.

station-platform1940

“The new station really came into its own. Built in the same month as the cathedral, in a way it was just as emblematic as the cathedral, though not quite so famous.

“It’s a light and airy place with a nice design. You do come out and have the ring road right in front of you which pedestrians have to guess where to go but that’s not really the fault of the station developers.”

coventry_station_newly_rebuilt_geograph-2986359-by-ben-brooksbank

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-12-14-04

screen-shot-2016-09-30-at-12-14-28

The original station was built in 1838 as part of the London and Birmingham Railway and could be entered from Warwick Road, where two flights of stairs took the passengers down to the platform. Within two years it had been replaced, with a new larger station, a few hundred feet nearer to Rugby, this time, accessed via Eaton road. In the late 19th century the Coventry tram network extended to the station at Eaton Road. The original station remained in service as the station masters offices, until the station was redeveloped in the early 1960s by the London Midland Region of British Railways.

Sent to Coventry, under an imperative to explore the post-war redevelopment of a great city, I arrived by train, more than somewhat unsurprisingly at the station.

A fine building of 1962 light and airy, warm wooden ceilings, gently interlocking aluminium, glass and steel volumes, original signage and a lively feeling of calm controlled hustle and bustle.

The ideal way to start the day – take a look.

p1090647-copy

p1090648-copy

p1090649-copy

p1090650-copy

p1090651-copy

p1090652-copy

p1090653-copy

p1100057-copy

p1090654-copy

p1090656-copy

 

p1090658-copy

p1100058-copy

p1100060-copy

p1100061-copy

p1100062-copy

p1100063-copy

p1100064-copy

p1100065-copy

p1100067-copy

p1100068-copy

p1100071-copy

p1100073-copy

p1100074-copy

p1100075-copy

p1100076-copy

p1100077-copy

p1100078-copy

Stockport – Grand Central

From coal drops to tear drops.

By Grand Central/Station I sat down and wept.

There’ll be no tear drops tonight.

The site was at the heart of industrial Stockport for a hundred and fifty years.

Goods in goods out, day in day out.

1921

A town and time driven by coal and steam, as a first date with Stockport it was never a love at first sight site, two narrow cobbled access roads, lined with tall blue engineers’ brick walls, arching towards two narrow entrances.

18315

This along with the rest of the area, was a working area, hanging on to the edge of the Mersey Valley, housing and industry cheek by jowl, in one grimy fug.

Time changes everything, by 1990 the site had been cleared and work commenced on a brand new shiny retail, leisure and entertainment complex. The nation had shifted wholesale from manufacturing to carousing.

The clatter of clogs replaced by the squeak of Adidas.

The white hot heat of technology fires Heaven and Hell.

4013161839_b31b29242e_b

A club, swimming pool, bars, quasar quest, bowling alley, shops and cinema. Open public, private spaces leading from the A6 to the station approach. Concrete paving, brick, steel and glass construction, in a dulling whirlwind of sub-postmodern, cost benefit analysis, mirthless architectural, fun and frolics.

 

Nothing lasts forever, gradually the fun grinds to a halt, the alluring shimmer of boob tubes and hot pants, quickly fades into a dimly remembered, future passed.

2949627_85e2d540

There are more things in Heaven and Hell, Horatio,
Than are dreamt of in your philosophy.

Grand Central Stockport was owned by Norwich-based private property company Targetfollow, who acquired the complex for £10.8m in 2004. In January 2011, after lack of progress on the development scheme, Stockport Council purchased the complex. In December 2011, Stockport Council announced that Muse Developments, the urban regeneration division of construction group Morgan Sindall had been selected as the preferred developer with a report to be presented to the council the following week. The revamped regeneration plans include an office quarter for the town centre, a hotel, public space outside the railway station. In addition, the redevelopment would also include a multi-storey car park and to make the site into a more attractive gateway into the town centre. The new redevelopment plans are valued at approximately £145m.

So the merry dance continues, a brave new world for the bemused citizen to consume and be consumed by, a gateway to speculative development.

 

 

The reassuring golden arches await the intrepid voyager, the foundation stone of any civilised civil society, set in terracotta for ever and a day.

P1030519 copy

The high vis, high rise, low expectation roller coaster, rolls on relentlessly.

P1030487 copy

P1030463 copy

P1030476 copy

P1030466 copy

P1030498 copy

P1030483 copy

P1030473 copy

P1030492 copy

Wilko’s – Blackpool

Formerly the site of a much larger, much busier Blackpool North Station – a time when trains arrived sixteen coaches long.

As seen in this archive film of the 1940s.

Cars and closures caused the station to withdraw up the road, to its current much smaller site.

Subsequently Fine Fare arrives with a fanfare of fibre glass panels, and cast concrete walls.

fine fare

Superseded by Food Giant, Gateway, Dunnes Stores, Kwik Save and Somerfields – possibly others, currently Wilkinson’s Wilko Superstore and Age UK, retaining at all times the attractive integral car park.

Wilko is now to be relocated and the site redeveloped as part of the second phase of the £220m Talbot Gateway – whereby trams will link the promenade with the Station.

Possibly.

The tale is the typical mix of Council, Developer on/off, binary obfuscation, secrecy, smoke and mirrors.

Councillor Fred Jackson says:

“We are in talks with our development partner Muse but there is a confidentiality agreement so there is very little I can say.”

Whatever the outcome I do hope the panels are saved, having notified Historic England several weeks ago, I eagerly await their hurried and considered response…

In the meantime get y’self on the choo-choo to Blackpool North toot sweet, and have a gander at a fine Fine Fare fibre glass panel or two, before you can’t.

DSC_0003 copy

DSC_0005 copy

DSC_0009 copy

DSC_0015 copy

DSC_0007 copy

DSC_0008 copy

DSC_0014 copy

DSC_0006 copy

DSC_0026 copy

DSC_0023 copy

DSC_0027 copy

DSC_0020 copy

DSC_0022 copy

DSC_0028 copy

DSC_0324 copy

DSC_0035 copy

DSC_0032 copy

DSC_0019 copy

DSC_0021 copy

DSC_0039 copy

DSC_0033 copy

DSC_0017 copy

DSC_0018 copy

DSC_0024 copy

Oxford Road Station – Manchester

Where are you?

Neither here nor there.

Up in the air.

Betwixt and between.

Possibly on the way to somewhere else, stranded at Oxford Road Station.

Tucked in behind Shaw’s Furniture and The Tatler Cinema.

I love every curvy corner, timber frame and canopy, concrete spiral, empty kiosk and precipitous steps – I’m happy to be stranded.

tumblr_mtlstgyiE41rr41pto1_1280

It opened in 1849 and was rebuilt in 1960.

webmedia-2.php

webmedia-1.php

The station was opened as Oxford Road on 20 July 1849 by the Manchester, South Junction and Altrincham Railway . The station was the headquarters of the MSJAR from its opening until 1904. It had two platforms and two sidings, with temporary wooden buildings. To allow for extra trains in connection with the Manchester Art Treasures Exhibition in 1857, extra platforms and sidings were built. In 1874 the station was completely rebuilt providing two bay platforms and three through platforms. Further reconstruction took place during 1903-04. From 1931 it was served by the MSJAR’s 1500V DC electric trains between Altrincham and Manchester Piccadilly.

The station had become dilapidated by the 1950s, and in connection with the electrification and modernisation programme of the Manchester to London line in 1960, the old buildings were replaced by the current structure by architects W.R. Headley and Max Glendinning and structural engineer Hugh Tottenham. It was designed in a distinctive style in concrete and wood with curves bringing to mind the Sydney Opera House.

Use of the station increased from May 1988 when the Windsor Link was inaugurated between Deansgate and Salford Crescent, connecting lines to the north and south of Manchester.

The station is a grade II listed building.

One of the most interesting and innovative buildings of the period, the most ambitious example in this country of timber conoid shell roofing.

  • Clare HartwellPevsner’s Architectural Guide Manchester.

Further development awaits, widening the viaduct and lengthening platforms as part of the Northern Hub Project.

oxford road

The defunct Platform 6 and lost awning to the left – Photo: 20 3 1971 Tom Burnham

Altrincham bound 931 Metro-Cammell MSJAR 1500 volt DC EMU – all withdrawn by 1971, when the line was converted to AC.

P1010524 copy

P1010499 copy

P1010445 copy

P1010495 copy

P1010431 copy

P1010465 copy

P1010425 copy

P1010467 copy

P1010436 copy

P1010490 copy

P1010471 copy

P1010542 copy

P1010434 copy

P1010446 copy

P1010518 copy

P1010522 copy

P1010540 copy

P1010528 copy

P1010511 copy

P1010504 copy

P1010441 copy

P1010516 copy