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Halesworth Station Moving Platforms

A Grade II Listed Building in Halesworth, Suffolk

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.3472 / 52°20'49"N

Longitude: 1.5057 / 1°30'20"E

OS Eastings: 638868

OS Northings: 277908

OS Grid: TM388779

Mapcode National: GBR XNN.X2V

Mapcode Global: VHM73.18VH

Entry Name: Halesworth Station Moving Platforms

Listing Date: 4 February 2019

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1454344

Location: Halesworth, East Suffolk, Suffolk, IP19

County: Suffolk

District: Waveney

Civil Parish: Halesworth

Built-Up Area: Halesworth

Traditional County: Suffolk

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): Suffolk

Summary


A set of four movable platforms dating to 1888, all built for the East Suffolk Line.

Description

A set of 4 movable passenger, railway platforms dating to 1888, refurbished in 1922, all built for the East Suffolk Line.

MATERIALS: the platforms are narrow and rectangular in form, constructed of cross-braced, wrought-iron with wooden planks forming the platform surfaces, which also have iron railings.

PLAN: the platforms are to the north west of the station building and are along both sides of the track.

DESCRIPTION: the moving platforms are of cross-braced iron and are in four sections which meet in the middle when closed. The platforms surfaces are of timber boards and have iron railings. Although they are presently permanently closed, the platforms swung open internally, across the tracks, in four sections, which also provided a bridge between the two platforms. The curved ends of the platforms swung into matching curved brick enclosures. The platform on the north side bears a plaque stating ‘BOULTON AND PAUL LTD, ENGRS 1922’. There is also a platform gate on the north side.

The station building itself is essentially a post-war, and partial, reconstruction of the original building and as such is not considered to be of special interest.

History

Halesworth Station was built on the East Suffolk line. The first section of the line to be constructed was between Halesworth and Beccles, begun in 1851 by the Halesworth, Beccles and Haddiscoe Railway. The company was absorbed into the wider East Suffolk Line concern later in the 1850s. The Halesworth station building was opened in 1859. As the popularity of the railway, and consequently passenger numbers, grew through the second half of the C19, the initial platforms were too short to meet the growing demand for space caused by longer trains. Extension of the platforms to the south was not possible because of the local topography, so rather than provide a level crossing, movable platforms, with level crossing gates embedded, were constructed across the then through-way of Station Road, which was the main road from Halesworth to Bungay at the time. The moving platforms were installed in 1888 and were balanced in such a way that they could be operated by one person alone. To prevent accidents the controls to lock and unlock the mechanism were housed in the signal box. The platforms, when closed, also provided a bridge for transferring luggage cross the tracks.

The platforms were refurbished by Boulton and Paul in 1922 which is commemorated by a plaque on one of the platforms. The station was bombed in 1941 and the station house was badly damaged. The building was reconstructed but with a smaller station house with only two bays rebuilt on the upper floor. The remaining two bays of the valence remain in-situ, and its previous length can still be ascertained through marks on the station building wall.

Increasing road traffic in the 1950s required the construction of a new road to Bungay, which bridged the railway to the north. As the platforms were no longer required to move, they were no longer maintained to the same degree and the mechanism became less efficient, latterly requiring three people to move it. The platforms are presently permanently set in place and the roadway over the tracks has been removed. The road to the north remains but the construction of new housing has re-levelled it to be no longer aligned with the road below the crossing.

Reasons for Listing

The moving platforms at Halesworth, dating to the second half of the C19, are listed at Grade II for the following principal reasons:

Architectural interest:
* as exceptionally rare survivals;
* as an innovative engineering solution which stood the test of time and retain their form and character.

Historic interest:
* as tangible evidence of the mid-to-late-C19 development and expansion of the railway, and a bespoke solution to the conflicting needs of rail and road transport.

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