Friargate Station and Goods Yard
Friargate Station and its Surroundings
Friargate station opened for business in 1876, four years after an Act of Parliament had been granted to the Great Northern Railway for its construction. Carving its way through the city, and causing the demolition of a large number of middle and working class housing and other properties, the construction had caused huge controversy throughout the town. Despite this, when it opened it proved immensely popular with the general public and provided a convenient and badly needed rail connection for the many mills and foundries situated in the Friargate area and the West End. Along with the station GNR also built a rail yards and sidings, a huge warehouse and offices and many other ancillary buildings.
Despite its popularity by the 1960's British Rail had decided that it was no longer economically viable and announced its closure. The last train left the station, for Nottingham, at 10:10 am on Saturday 5thSeptember 1964 and the station officially closed the following Monday.
Following its closure much of the site was cleared, the tracks removed and much of the route was built over. However on the Friargate site itself a surprising amount still remains, albeit overgrown and largely forgotten by the people of the town. These pictures offer a glimpse of what can still be seen.
At first glance there seems to be little to see on the site of the old station, however that is not the case. Walking up from Friargate the visitor first comes across the large shed and cobbled yard of what was once the ticket office and entrance to the platforms.
Due to the entrance being sited below the level of the tracks the traveller would go up a flight of steps and through a subway beneath the tracks before emerging onto one of the platforms. Although all the station buildings have now gone the platforms themselves, as well as the track beds can still be seen.
To see what the site looked like when it was still open see the book :
Memories of Friargate Station by Susan Bourne (Breedon Publications)
The picture above shows the remains of the water crane, the pipes can still be
seen in the hole. This was used to fill the boilers on the steam trains.
This was the entrance which provided access to the platforms from the Friargate Ticket Office. Originally steps would have led down but these have now been filled in and only the top portion of the arch can now be seen
This is the surviving base of one of the signal towers
The posts in the above picture were once the pillars holding up the station sign
The photo above shows the base of a crane
The huge warehouse building standing near to the station was the Friargate Goods Depot. Although now derelict this Grade 2 listed building still stands majestic and proud waiting patiently for an imaginative new role.
The curved façade pictured above housed the offices of the company as well as an apartment for the manager and his family. Although this has been neglected for over 30 years and has suffered a number of fires and other acts of vandalism, a tantalising glimpse of the interior can be seen in the photo below
Although the building can appear quite striking and austere from a distance , a closer inspection reveals the beauty and elegance in its design and construction.
The main part of the warehouse was built over three floors. The basement level was used for storing bonded goods of all types. The next floor provided more storage whilst the top floor served as a grain store and featured two grain chutes and ten hydraulic cranes, the housing for one of these can be seen in the picture below.
The Warehouse has been subject to a great deal of vandalism over the years, including numerous arson attacks and is now in an extremely derelict condition. As a result it is now bricked up and all access to the interior is impossible. However recently a couple of the entrances had been opened up, presumably by vandals, and I took the opportunity of photographing some of the interior. The images show what would have been the living accommodation and offices of the building.
Please click on the images to see in a viewer
Some more new pictures, this time of the interior of the main warehouse.
September 2018 - the building continues to deteriorate through a mixture of vandalism and neglect. There is however some possible good news. Someone has apparently applied for planning permission to restore the building and turn it into a classic car museum. If this does actually happen it could be fantastic
To the side of the main warehouse stands a much smaller building. This once lovely building, with its ornate Italianate tower, was once the engine house for the site. Empty and neglected for years, it was recently severely damaged by a fire which has gutted the interior and wrecked the roof.
When the station closed in 1964 much of the site was cleared, the tracks were removed and many of the buildings demolished. The old photo below shows what the area looked like when it was still fully operational. Once it was cleared this area was left largely untouched and has been reclaimed by nature. Today large trees stand on the site and there are many wild flowers, grasses and insects. Unfortunately this site, which could be such a wonderful natural resource for the city, is due to be cleared to make way for the new Cathedral School. Here are a few photos before we lose the site forever