Last chance to rescue the only remaining Francis Thompson Railway Station
Described by Christian Barman in his book on railway architecture of 1950 as “most perfect of all station houses” and later in 2012 by the Victorian Society as “a maimed beauty which deserves better”. Wingfield Station in Derbyshire has now been subjected to many decades of neglect from its private owner and is facing a very uncertain future.
Having once been a station for the North Midland Railway on its line between Derby and Leeds being built in 1839-40 and opened on 11th May 1840. Thompson designed various stations along the route and several of these were in the tradition of cottage orné though this station was different being of a more simple composition without any stylist trappings having a single storeyed central bay and lower wings. Constructed in finely tooled ashlar gritstone with a slate roof covering the building was first listed in 1971 as grade II with this being recently upgraded in 2015 to grade II*.
After passing into private ownership in 1967 the building has been neglected for many years and the rooves are on verge of total collapse and much of the building is being invaded by vegetation and decay.
The building has received recognition of its importance from Historic England and is include on their at risk register being named as one of the few remaining early examples of a rural railway station in England and the sole survivor of Thompsons work on the Derby to Leeds line.
The Victorian Society have also included it on their top ten endangered buildings list and SAVE list it in their buildings at risk register. The local council are aware of the risk to the building and have been under pressure for many years to issue a repairs notice on the owner and ultimately a compulsory purchase order, but so far their response has been very slow.
Being a station building means that it is located very close to the rail tracks and with this line now being a main express route further problems have been introduced for carrying out repairs and restoration and these problems are due to escalate in 2018 when the line is going to be electrified. A very small window of opportunity now exists in which to rescue the building with electrification meaning that access to the track side of the building will be greatly reduced.
Action needs to be taken prior to the electrification and the local council needs to be put under more pressure to complete the compulsory purchase ASAP to allow time for the repairs to be completed whilst access is still achievable.