Project to restore one of the world’s oldest railway stations in Derbyshire is finished – with public events starting next week
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The ambitious project to save Wingfield Station from ruin has now finished and the building – thought to be one of the oldest purpose-built railway stations in the world – is set to open its doors next week.
Enid Buxton (née Barlow) lived at Wingfield Station near Alfreton as a child in the 1950s when her father William Barlow was station master there. A few years after the Barlow family moved on to live and work near Salford, Wingfield station was closed in the 1960s Beeching cuts. It then declined for over half a century into near dereliction.
Wingfield station’s distinction is that it’s the only remaining station building on the Derby to Leeds line, built in 1840 by railway pioneers, George and Robert Stephenson. After a long process to secure ownership of the building and restore it to its former condition, Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust (DHBT) are delighted that Enid will officially re-open the station on Friday, October 27 2023.
The Victorian Society recognised Wingfield station as one of the top ten most important buildings in the country at risk of being lost forever. Project manager Peter Milner said: “It’s great to be able to relieve the building of that accolade! Visitors who come through the door at our opening event on the October 27, and then at the public event on October 28, will be stepping into a vision of the past.
“It's a rare chance for the public to see the fabulous work that’s taken place.”
The opening day marks the start of a programme of events that will give the public chance to see the station before it is handed over to new office tenants.
DHBT has expressed their gratitude to The National Lottery Heritage Fund for valuable financial aid over the last three years for this project. Their funding has made it possible not only to carry out restoration work on the building, building on emergency repairs supported by Historic England, but also to involve local people in the building’s revival through events and activities.
Robyn Llewellyn, Director for England, Midlands and East at The National Lottery Heritage Fund, said: “It’s fantastic to see the transformation of Wingfield Station take shape. It’s thanks to National Lottery players that the repair, preservation, and enhancement of one of world's oldest country railway stations has been possible and will continue to be enjoyed by future generations.”
Public open days start on the October 28, when re-enactors will bring the station to life: you can get a stamp from the ticket clerk, or meet passengers in the waiting rooms. The launch day will feature Shirland Brass Band at 11.00am and 12.30pm, and the Alfreton Male Voice Choir at 3.00pm. A self-guided trail will introduce families to the story of the station. It will also be the first chance to see a model railway of the line as it was in the 1940s that’s been specially built for the goods shed.
For full details of the opening day, visit DHBT’s website. Car parking is limited so visitors are encouraged to use public transport.