History in Structure

Locomotive Workshops at Newtown Railway Works

A Grade II Listed Building in Ashford, Kent

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Latitude: 51.1381 / 51°8'17"N

Longitude: 0.8841 / 0°53'2"E

OS Eastings: 601860

OS Northings: 141605

OS Grid: TR018416

Mapcode National: GBR SY7.GD1

Mapcode Global: VHKKN.8NRC

Plus Code: 9F324VQM+6M

Entry Name: Locomotive Workshops at Newtown Railway Works

Listing Date: 18 September 2001

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1389437

English Heritage Legacy ID: 488096

ID on this website: 101389437

Location: New Town, Ashford, Kent, TN24

County: Kent

District: Ashford

Electoral Ward/Division: Aylesford Green

Parish: South Willesborough & Newtown

Built-Up Area: Ashford (Ashford)

Traditional County: Kent

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Kent

Tagged with: Architectural structure

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Locomotive Workshops at Newtown Railway Works


Locomotive erecting workshop. 1847-8, c1860, late C19, all for the South Eastern Railway and 1910-12 for the South Eastern and Chatham Railway. Largely brick construction with the roofs of angle steel with sheet covering, the 1909-12 section has steel framing as well. All in the mid-C19 workshop style of long parallel ranges with arcaded windows and wide span roofs over the roads. Until the C20 the extensions were of very similar construction and style to the original with only minor variations in height, width and spacing of the central brick arcades and minor differences in architectural detail. The final phase of works in c1909 made much more use of steel in the internal construction and introduced different detail in the new eastern brick end elevation. They did, however, attempt to match the existing detail in the western extension, but this has now (July 1998) been partly demolished. As finally developed by 1912 these workshops alone comprised a huge range of some 370m in length and 60m wide. This range was composed of three main structural elements running roughly east to west and each element was developed over four main phases. These elements were, from the north, the locomotive, machine and fitting shops with the main engine house; the central access covered avenue with arcaded walls; and to the south the ranges of smith, boiler and tender shops.
Interior: Only partly seen (July 1998). The various spaces are largely featureless with the walling much altered by new openings etc. and by the frequent extensions and changes, which made previously external walls internal. At least one turntable survives. The original roofs were framed by timber trusses with wooden queen posts, metal princess rods and metal straps. These were all replaced by angle steel trusses in the 1950s.
History: The first phase of the locomotive workshops dates to 1847-8 when the South Eastern Railway decided to move its main establishment from New Cross to Ashford. This forms the western core to the surviving range and much of what is clearly described by Measom's 'Official Guide to the South Eastern Railway' of 1858 is still in evidence. It is claimed to be the only composite example of an erecting shop that combined long roads with short traverse pits and served by a traverser. The original design was possibly inspired by the London and Birmingham Railway's Camden Town depot of 1837. The development of this building has been outlined above and is fully described in the RCHME (see below). The subsequent extensions in c1860 and the later C19 were done by the South Eastern Railway. In 1899 the amalgamation with the London, Chatham and Dover Railway leading to the formation of the South Eastern and Chatham railway meant the final 1909-12 extension became necessary because of the closure of the London, Chatham and Dover Railway's locomotive works at Longhedge in London in 1904. The range achieved almost its present configuration in 1912 and has had only minor additions and demolitions since, mostly along the northern elevation and at the west end. This building ceased its original use in 1962 but continued to work on the maintenance of heavy rail vehicles until c1980.
Reason for listing: This building is now the most completely surviving example of an early locomotive works with three subsequent development periods demonstrating best practice at the different dates. It is for this reason that it meets the criteria for listing.
Reference: RCHME, The Railway Works, Ashford, Kent, 1990.

Listing NGR: TR0186041605

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