Leicester Railway Station

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Photograph: Leicester Railway Station, Paul Conneally 2013

The Leicester Railway Station we see here, photographed from the other side of London Road, was built by The Midland Railway over a period of two years between 1892 and 1894.

The architect of the station was Charles Trubshaw and it is built on the site of Leicester’s old Campbell Street Station.

Campbell Street had been built in 1840 by the Midlands County Railway. It was originally called simply Leicester, then Leicester Campbell Street and in 1894 was renamed Leicester London Road Station. Most people now refer to it as just Leicester Station again as today there is only one station in Leicester whereas there had been seven stations in Leicester in Victorian times.

The station clock is the only remaining hand wound railway station clock in the UK.

The station has around 4.5 million users a year and I’d urge any visitor to the City to take a walk across London Road just to look back at the station frontage, a fine example of The Midland Line Railway architectural style. It is only the London Road frontage and the Conduit Street side gate that are listed by English Heritage. This frontage is designated as a Grade 2 listed, and it’s reasons for designation are given by English Heritage as:

“The Porte Cochere, including pedestrian loggia and octagonal turret, to Leicester Station is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons: * Architecture. The porte cochere is a distingushed example of late C19 railway architecture completed in 1892 by one of the most important and ambitious companies of the era of railway development in England to the designs of the notable railway architect Charles Trubshaw. * Intactness. The porte cochere is the most intact element of the station complex, having sustained little significant alteration, in contrast to the main booking hall, the station platforms and platform buildings, all of which have been remodelled. * Prominence. The porte cochere forms the approach frontage to the station complex. Its architectural detailing and the use of decorative terracotta were intended to help create an impression of grandeur reflecting the importance of the Midland Railway Company at the height of its development at the end of the C19.”

Thomas Cook launched his first ever excursion from Leicester Campbell Street Railway Station on the 5th of July 1841. The journey transported 540 temperance campaigners from Leicester to Loughborough for the price of one shilling each to include travel and food. The food was actually eaten as a picnic in Loughborough’s public park.

Any visitor to Loughborough now on a busy Friday or Saturday night will see that the visit did nothing long term to quell the drinking of alcohol in the town. Setting this aside the trip was a success for Thomas Cook as he went on to build the huge travel company that Thomas Cook has become.

Below is a postcard of Leicester London Road Station from the 1900s.

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