Restoration now on the home straight (plus tea and cakes in sight)

Work continues apace at the station. Despite some setbacks with a leaking roof, which originates from the canopy beams (and is hence waiting for Network Rail to come and carry out a repair), our project team has been forging ahead. As you can you see from the photos below, the interior is being finished to a very high standard and before too long will be ready to receive its first paying tea room visitors.

On that note, the Trust is pleased to announce that, following the ‘Request for Proposals’ process launched in February, we have partnered up with local businesswoman and baker Cheryl Clark, who will become the operator of our station tea room. Cheryl has been working in the hospitality and events industry for over 20 years through her business and has a passion and flare for good, locally-sourced and delicious food and, just as importantly, the value of good company and community involvement. The Trust were very impressed with Cheryl’s proposition which really ‘ticked all the boxes’ against our Charitable Objectives, and we look forward to working with Cheryl in the coming months as we approach the completion of the restoration and the transition into an operational building.

Some have quite understandably been asking about when the ‘Grand Opening’ of the station will be. We had been looking at an event in the summer but unfortunately due to the roof leaks, this has set us back a bit, so we are reluctant to commit to a date until this problem has been completely solved. As such the Trust has decided that, once the roof leaks are sorted, we will have a ‘soft start’. This is partly so that Cheryl’s tea room operation can ‘find its feet’, but also to ensure that any snags in the building are ironed out – not that we expect any! So it looks likely that any Grand Opening will now be in the autumn. We will of course let you know as soon as arrangements are confirmed.

Photo above: the reinstated chimney at the north end now completes the restoration of the characterful ‘three chimneys’. This one actually functions as a chimney (for extraction of kitchen fumes) but the other two are ‘dummies’.

Above: A view towards the south of the building, showing the WC to the left (behind the scaffold tower). Behind the wall upon which the ladder is resting is the archive room. Note the stylish period lamps on the wall; it was hard to know exactly what to go for as there are no original photos showing the inside of the building, but we think that they look reasonably authentic based on research from other railway stations. Ditto for the colour scheme; the Trust had to take a view on what was authentic using a variety of historical sources.

Above: Close-up of the wall lamps.

Above: The kitchen area, featuring a rather nice reclaimed ‘hood’ which acts as the extraction; it goes up through the re-instated chimney on the north end of the building.

Above: The fabulous ‘Part M’ compliant Unisex bathroom, into which an awful lot of head-scratching has gone into making it both compliant and historically appropriate!

On the roof a framework has been installed to receive solar panels, which will be hidden from view at ground level by the parapet.