The historic Wingfield Station, recognised as one of Derbyshire’s top ten most important ‘at risk’ buildings – has been rescued thanks to the collaborative work of Derbyshire Historic Buildings Trust (DHBT), Amber Valley Borough Council (AVBC) and The National Lottery Heritage Fund.
Built in 1840, the Grade II* listed Wingfield Station and Parcel Shed closed in 1967. It is one of the earliest stations built in England – possibly the world. It is also the last surviving example of railway architect, Francis Thompson’s best work on the North Midland Railway.
Francis Thompson was commissioned by Robert Stephenson – son of George Stephenson – to design 24 stations along the Derby to Leeds section of the North Midland Line. Wingfield Station is the only one to survive. As well as being famous for his railway work, Francis Thompson designed houses, commercial buildings, and many publicly acclaimed buildings. One of the most representative of his surviving work is the Midland (now Hallmark) Hotel, Derby.
In 2012, the Victorian Society described the station as a “maimed beauty deserving better” and one of the ten most important buildings at risk in the country.
AVBC compulsorily purchased the building after more than 30 years of concern over the deteriorating condition of the Station, which is in urgent need of repair and conservation.
The council will hand over ownership of the buildings to DHBT on Tuesday 10 December 10th, in order for the Trust to begin essential works to preserve it for future commercial and community use.
The National Lottery Heritage Fund has awarded DHBT development funding of £137,000 to start the project and an application for a further grant to complete the work is planned.
During the restoration of the nationally significant buildings, DHBT is planning to offer a host of activities including “Living History” events detailing the story of the station and the North Midland Railway line as well as open days for the public and local community to gain first-hand experience of the project. In addition the Trust will offer bursary placements for young people’s training in traditional skills.
The Trust will also be recruiting volunteers to help with the project as well as collecting memories and experiences of those who used to work, or had families who worked, at the station or on the local railway.
Commenting on the project Peter Milner FRICS, DHBT Trustee Lead said: “We’re very grateful to the work done by Amber Valley Borough Council and for the National Heritage Lottery Fund support. We intend to give the building a new lease of life as well as offering many opportunities for the community and students to get involved. It’s great to know that we are a step closer to taking the building off the Heritage at Risk Register and ensure its survival for years to come.”
Derek Latham, Chair of DHBT said: “Wingfield Station is just one of many heritage buildings at risk in Derbyshire that we want to see saved and restored for the benefit of our communities in perpetuity. We hope the rescue of Wingfield Station will encourage more action to be taken to secure the future of others on the list.”
Other funders who have made this project possible include The Pilgrim Trust and The Architectural Heritage Fund.
“Wingfield Station is said to be the oldest surviving rural railway station in the world, so it’s great to hear that the Trust will not only be restoring the building, but also opening up that heritage to the local community” said Jon Millhouse, Director at Planning & Design Practice Ltd.
Jon is both a Chartered Town Planner and a member of the Institute of Historic Building Conservation.
Planning & Design recognise the importance of the built heritage in our towns, villages and rural areas.
We have worked on numerous schemes affecting Listed Buildings, Conservation Areas and the Derwent Valley Mills World Heritage Site. Director Jon Millhouse specialises in heritage planning and design team leader Lindsay Cruddas is a registered Specialist Conservation Architect.
To discuss a specific project or for general heritage enquiries, please get in touch.