History in Structure

This site is entirely user-supported. See how you can help.

Former Shirwell Skittle Alley

A Grade II Listed Building in Shirwell, Devon

Approximate Location Map
Large Map »
Street View
Contributor Photos »

Street View is the best available vantage point looking, if possible, towards the location of the building. In some locations, Street View may not give a view of the actual building, or may not be available at all. Where it is not available, the satellite view is shown instead.


Latitude: 51.1182 / 51°7'5"N

Longitude: -4.0143 / 4°0'51"W

OS Eastings: 259116

OS Northings: 137359

OS Grid: SS591373

Mapcode National: GBR KS.9YP0

Mapcode Global: VH4MS.C5N4

Entry Name: Former Shirwell Skittle Alley

Listing Date: 16 November 1984

Last Amended: 6 August 2015

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1318097

English Heritage Legacy ID: 98228

Location: Shirwell, North Devon, Devon, EX31

County: Devon

District: North Devon

Civil Parish: Shirwell

Traditional County: Devon

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Devon

Church of England Parish: Shirwell St Peter

Church of England Diocese: Exeter

Find accommodation in


A former railway carriage built in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Train, relocated to its current position and used as a skittle alley from 1933 to 2014.


A former railway carriage built in 1897 for Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Train, relocated to its current position and used as a skittle alley from 1933 to 2014.

MATERIALS: green painted timber coachwork on metal and timber frames with rounded beads and pattresses over panel joints; the carriage is covered on three sides and above by corrugated-metal sheets.

PLAN: a long rectangular structure on an east-to-west alignment entered via the former rear connecting door; a 48-ft wheelbase GWR corridor bogie carriage, now without bogies; it rests alongside a hedgerow, in the north-west corner of a field, adjacent to the highway.

EXTERIOR: the former railway carriage is screened along the south, east and west sides by free-standing corrugated-iron sheets that extend over the roof. Some of the metal sheeting and guttering have suffered from the effects of weathering and rot. The coachwork at the ends, along the north side, and part of the south side, retain the original timber window frames, glazed and blind, doors and louvered ventilators, all with radius corners asymmetrically arranged. The carriage rests on supporting concrete plinths, at least one of which is broken.

INTERIOR: the interior has lost all of the internal divisions, seats and water closets. A timber skittle alley has been placed over the floor. The arrangement of the cabin can still be discerned through the contrasting alignment of the diagonal flooring visible on either side of the alley. The doors are lettered 8283 A, B, C and D internally. Timber panelling survives, as do the adjustable ventilation shutters. The frames at ceiling level form white painted coffers with border decoration.


This first-class railway carriage originally formed part of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee Royal Train built in 1897. It was designed as the second of six, 48-ft carriages, constructed at the Great Western Railway Carriage Works in Swindon. It is believed to have been used by the Queen’s Ladies-in-Waiting and their attendants. Originally numbered 283, the prefix 8 was added in 1909. The Jubilee train continued in use until 1925. It was condemned on 19 November 1932 and the carriages were disposed of individually. In 1933 a group of residents from Shirwell, North Devon joined together to purchase carriage 8283. It was towed from Barnstaple Railway Station to Shirwell by local firm Jas Murch & Sons of Umberleigh, using a traction engine. It arrived in December 1933 and was placed in the north-west corner of a field on the edge of the village. A tin roof was placed over the carriage that year and soon after further cladding was added around the sides. The interior was then converted by removing the existing compartment and adding a skittle alley. In 1984 it was recorded that the silk pulls survived over some of the carriage doors windows. The skittle club closed in 2014.

At least two other known railway carriages built for the Jubilee train survive. One of these is a saloon carriage (no. 223, later 9002), used by the Queen and her attendants. Sometime after 1932 it was taken to Wales and used as holiday home, before being bought by the Madame Tussauds wax work museum, London, to form part of their royal display. It was purchased by STEAM Museum of the Great Western Railway, Swindon, in 1996. It is now (2015) on public view in their main exhibition hall. The other carriage known to survive, another saloon, is currently undergoing renovation to be used as holiday accommodation.

Reasons for Listing

The former Skittle Alley, Shirwell, Devon is listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Historic interest: as a surviving railway carriage, later converted into a sports building, that formed part of the royal train built to celebrate the Diamond (60th) Jubilee of Queen Victoria, the first of only two British monarchs to reach this landmark anniversary;
* Architectural interest: several original internal features survive that denote the importance of this late-C19 carriage, including the richly-decorated coffered ceiling and timber panelling;
* Degree of intactness: both phases of use, as a railway carriage and skittle alley, are legible within the surviving fabric;
* Rarity: as one of four listed re-used railway carriages and the only one to have been converted for non-domestic use.

Other nearby listed buildings

BritishListedBuildings.co.uk is an independent online resource and is not associated with any government department. All government data published here is used under licence. Please do not contact BritishListedBuildings.co.uk for any queries related to any individual listed building, planning permission related to listed buildings or the listing process itself.

British Listed Buildings is a Good Stuff website.