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Wellingborough Railway Station

A Grade II Listed Building in Wellingborough, Northamptonshire

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Latitude: 52.3039 / 52°18'13"N

Longitude: -0.6766 / 0°40'35"W

OS Eastings: 490333

OS Northings: 268130

OS Grid: SP903681

Mapcode National: GBR DYF.HRV

Mapcode Global: VHFPC.7C56

Entry Name: Wellingborough Railway Station

Listing Date: 5 May 1981

Last Amended: 20 November 2014

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1191880

English Heritage Legacy ID: 233787

Location: Wellingborough, Northamptonshire, NN8

County: Northamptonshire

District: Wellingborough

Electoral Ward/Division: Victoria

Parish: Non Civil Parish

Built-Up Area: Wellingborough

Traditional County: Northamptonshire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Northamptonshire

Church of England Parish: Wellingborough St Mary the Virgin

Church of England Diocese: Peterborough

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Main station building and canopy to platform 1 of 1857 by Charles Henry Driver for the Midland Railway, with later additions. Platforms 2 and 3 share a building and canopy of 1894.


Main station building and canopy to platform 1 of 1857 by Charles Henry Driver for the Midland Railway, with later additions. Platforms 2 and 3 share a building and canopy of 1894.

MATERIALS: The main station building is constructed of red brick with white and blue brick and sandstone dressings, under a slate roof with timber barge-boards. Platform and entrance canopies of cast-iron or steel covered in fibre-glass sheeting. Platforms 2 and 3 have a red brick building with a timber canopy on cast-iron brackets.

PLAN: The main station range of 1857 is located on the west side of the line. It has a two-storey gabled cross-wing and a long single-storey gabled range (originally forming a T-plan) with late C19 additions to the north; a series of stepped lower gables, and late C19 and early C20 additions to the south; a passageway and goods office. A canopy oversails platform 1 on the east side. On platform 2 and 3 is a single-storey range of 1894 with a flat canopy.

EXTERIOR: The main station range of 1857, with later additions, has gable-ends with decorative pierced timber barge-boards and finials; the eaves have dentils of white brick on a band of blue brick. There are several brick chimney stacks with oversailing courses. The fenestration largely comprises distinctive round-headed windows fixed in timber frames with lozenge glazing or sashes (those to the first floor have had their glazing replaced with metal louvres). They have hoodmoulds, with banded blue-and-white-brick reveals, which finish in decorative corbelled label-stops. Most of the windows are arranged in pairs, so that the hoodmoulds merge to a moulded sandstone mullion between. The cills are sandstone and rest on corbels. The doorways have pointed-arch lintels with the same hoodmoulds and similar banded reveals. Above the windows of the single-storey range is a blind arcade formed of arches detailed in patterned blue and white brick.

The main station building has a west-facing façade of ten bays. The first (northernmost) bay is blank but has been altered to incorporate a cash machine; the second has paired-windows without the banded brickwork and with plain one-over-one sashes; the third steps forward to a gable-ended extension; beneath the gable there is a window, a bracketed lamp and double doors with a transom light. Next there is the gable end bay of the original cross-wing. It has paired first-floor windows and tripartite ground-floor windows in a Venetian pattern. The attached single-storey block originally had six bays of paired-windows in round-headed arches. The first bay has a gable-ended extension, without bargeboard but with re-used arch and windows; the second, which originally projected to a porch, has a casement window beneath a glazed ridge-and-furrow canopy of 1986; the third and sixth are unaltered; the fourth and fifth now have a single window. Attached to the south of the main block is the former goods office, now a toilet block, which returns to the forecourt. This has round-headed six-over-six sash windows with white brick arches and blue brick hoodmoulds that carry between as a band-course. The south elevation, facing the pier of the footbridge, has simple six-over-one sashes with flat-arch lintels.

The platform (east) elevation of the main station building has, from north to south: a bay with altered door openings beneath a dormer; the gable-end of the cross-wing with tripartite-windows (the central one is an altered doorway, which has a transom light and pointed-arch lintel); a blind arcade of four bays, each with a pointed arch, a white-and-blue-brick diaper, door and paired-windows. The pier between the first two of these bays carries a Victorian post-box. In the late C19 the arcade was extended by a further two bays. The first bay was subsequently altered to incorporate a passageway to the forecourt. Beyond the arcade is a final blank bay.

Extending from the northern two bays of the main station building is a C20 flat wooden canopy with a pointed valance on steel joists. The southern four bays have a ridge-and-furrow canopy of 1857, which was extended across the two adjacent bays in 1883. It has cast-iron columns with plinths and capitals beneath four-way brackets to decorative spandrels, also of cast iron, with delicate pierced foliate work.

On the island forming platforms 2 and 3 is a red-brick building of 1894 with a blue-brick course below the lintels and a weather-boarded north elevation. The north and south elevations each have a timber door; the east and west have doors and six-over-one casement windows. The building carries a flat wooden canopy with a pointed valance on decorative cast-iron spandrels with sandstone corbels. The south end of the canopy projects on two cast-iron columns.

INTERIOR: The north end of the main station range, including the 1857 portion, houses (from north to south): plant for the cash machine; the former parcels office; the booking office; the entrance lobby and booking hall; and a café. These rooms have been altered but retain some fixtures and fittings, including four-panelled doors, door and window surrounds, cornices and skirting boards. The former parcels office has a partition with glazed joinery and a copper counter, probably of the early C20; the booking office (built as the Stationmaster’s office) has been opened-up to the adjacent booking hall with two round-headed openings and partitioned on the forecourt side for a staff kitchen and toilets. The booking hall has an open truss roof of iron beams and chamfered timber rafters. The cash machine room and the first floor were not available for inspection.

The former goods office beyond the passageway at the south end of the main station range was converted to a toilet block in 2011 and has no visible surviving fixtures and fittings.

Of the island platform building, only the room at the southern end was available for inspection. It retains a fireplace with simple surround and dado with dado rail, wainscot and skirting board; the rail carries around as the top rail of the integrated wooden benches, which have ramped arms and baluster legs.

SUBSIDIARY FEATURES: To the north of the main station range is an early C20 telegraph office and across the tracks to the east is an early C20 former Permanent Way Inspector’s office. At the south end of the station is a covered footbridge with a stepway and lift to each platform built in 2011. These buildings and structures are all excluded from the listing.

Pursuant to s.1 (5A) of the Planning (Listed Buildings and Conservation Areas) Act 1990 (‘the Act’) it is declared that: the modern palisade fencing to platforms 1 and 3; the C21 single-storey covered metal-and-glass shelters to platform 3 and outside the station; and the C20 and C21 platform signage, metal seating, lamp posts and bicycle storage racks are not of special architectural or historic interest. Internally the plant for the cash machine, the C20 or C21 suspended ceilings, partition walls, toilets and modern services within the main station range are also declared not to be of special architectural or historic interest.


Wellingborough Railway Station was built as part of the Midland Railway’s Leicester to Hitchin Line, which opened in 1857. The line was engineered by Charles Liddell (c.1813–1894) and the stations were designed by the architect Charles Henry Driver (1832–1900). The Midland Railway had been formed in 1844 by the merging of three railway companies which met at Derby: the North Midland Railway, the Birmingham & Derby Junction Railway and the Midland Counties Railway.

Driver adopted a distinctive simplified Gothic style for the stations on the Leicester to Hitchin Line, the details of which were later illustrated in Henry Laxton’s Examples of Building Construction (1858). The station buildings were built to a T-plan comprising a two-storey stationmaster’s house with end gables and a single storey ticket office with ridge-and-furrow canopy flanking the platform. Wellingborough, like Kettering, was built as a larger version of this design, extended to a cruciform plan. The appearance of the original station at Kettering is recorded in an illustration in the Illustrated London News (23 May 1857); it is likely that Wellingborough was identical.

In 1882 the line through Wellingborough was quadrupled to increase capacity. The new (slow) lines, for goods, were built to the east of the old (fast) lines. Platform 1 was on the west side of the tracks, adjacent to the main station building, while platform 2 became an island between the lines. In 1883 a covered lattice footbridge was built to connect the two platforms across their south ends. At the same time, as shown in contract drawings, the canopy to platform 1 was extended by an additional two bays to meet the footbridge, while a new building with a more modest canopy was built on platform 2. This arrangement is shown in the first edition Ordnance Survey map of 1886, by which time further works had taken place: both ends of the main station building had been extended; two goods sheds had been added to the south of the main station range (the one adjacent to the tracks survives and is Grade II listed); and a signal box had been erected to the north (this was replaced in 1893 by a signal box located between the fast and slow lines, now demolished).

In 1894 the slow lines came into passenger use for the new Higham Ferrers branch. The island for platform 2 was rebuilt with a new building and canopy to accommodate platform 3 on its east side. Platform 4, also with a building and canopy, was added on the east side of the tracks and the footbridge was extended accordingly. The flat canopy with wooden valance at the north end of platform 1, to a similar design as that on the island, may also have been added at this time. The Higham Ferrers branch ceased regular services in 1959, after which the building and canopy to platform 4 were demolished.

The south end of the main station building was extended in the late-C19 for goods offices and there were further alterations and extensions in the C20. Several ancillary buildings were built in the early C20 including a telegraph office on platform 1 and a Permanent Way Inspector’s office on platform 4. In 1986 the Wellingborough Civic Society reinstated the station’s original decorative scheme, reusing architectural details, and added the porch canopy to the forecourt. The footbridge was replaced by British Rail in 1983 and again by Network Rail in 2011.

Reasons for Listing

Wellingborough Railway Station, built in 1857 by Charles Henry Driver for the Midland Railway, is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
*Architectural interest: as a station built in a distinctive Venetian Gothic style to a common design language as other buildings along the Midland Railway’s Leicester to Hitchin line;
* Historic interest: as a station built for the Midland Railway company, one of the most important and ambitious companies of the era of railway development in England;
* Architect: as a station designed by Charles Henry Driver, a notable railway architect and expert in the architectural use of ironwork with several listed buildings to his name;
* Rarity: as a station with a ridge and furrow canopy with decorative cast iron columns and spandrels, a rare surviving canopy of this type;
* Group Value: as a station that possesses group value with the adjacent listed railway goods shed, built to a similar design by the same architect in 1857.

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