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Curzon Street Railway Station

S

speaky

Guest
I have a Bradshaws Railway Companion of 1841 giving times of train arrivals and departures, fares, maps, etc., for 1841. There is no mention of either New Street or Snow Hill as stations, the reference is simply Birmingham! Does anyone know which station that would have been in 1841? It is interesting to note that a 2nd class ticket from Birmingham to London was 20s 3p which must mean that in real terms, it's cheaper to travel by rail now than it was then!
 

Di.Poppitt

master brummie
From New street Remembered by Donald J Smith, the station in 1841 would have been Curzon Street, opened in 1838, the northern terminus of the London & Birmingham Railway Company. There had been a temporary station in Vauxhall, which was north of Curzon Street, and opened in 1837.
 

Di.Poppitt

master brummie
Thank you Jennyann for the link, it is such a lovley old building.

Speaky I can go back to a journey to Blackpool during the war, when the carriages were filled with soldiers and airmen. There were no corridors on the trains and no loo's either, so my mom had my 'pottie' near at hand. Needless to say, although I was only four, there was no way I was going to use it :)
 
S

speaky

Guest
Thanks to you all for a lovely little topic of conversation, but a special thanks to John for his submission. That one answered all my questions re the Birmingham station in my "Bradshaws Railway Companion" I don't know why I didn't think of Curzon Street myself, but that's what happens when you are starting to qualify as a 'coffin dodger' I understand. I remember Curzon Street when it was fully operational, and it's just a pity it's still not operational now. It might have kept a lot of them there big lorries of the motorways, taking miles sometimes to overtake one another and blinding motorists with spray.
After sampling this topic and the detail that has been forthcoming I am wondering if I dare throw out my encyclopedia's now? "Thanks folks"!
 

jennyann

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Staff member
Speaky, Curzon Street Station escaped because it was deemed to be a heritage building
some years ago. It somehow looks lost in the contemporry buildings around it. I am glad that it has been preserved. I am old enough to have worked at New Street Station in l957 and the whole area, of course, was completely different. The Royal College of Organists had planned to make Curzon Street Station building their National Headquarters as they had been awarded some Lottery funds. However, due to spiralling costs to renovate the building, the plans fell through and they moved back to London after being in Brum for about four years.
Hopefully, someone else will take it over, otherwise it will suffer a relapse I fear.
 
S

speaky

Guest
JennyAnne Thanks for that! Perhaps this a fine example how Heritage Building preservation orders can work. The thing is, having got it, what do we do with it now? Sitting here overlooking the sea and the hills, I am far far away from the land of my birth, and obviously out of touch with the place, so maybe it could be argued it's got 'naff' all to do with me now. Maybe I shouldn't be interfering and putting forward suggestions at all , but I really would like to see a memorial to the Brummies of the past, who as we all know, were the salt of the earth, hardworking characters. Now it occurs to me that a photographic pictorial, and a place where future generations could sit and contemplate how the city of a thousand trades functioned through both the good times and the bad would make for a wonderful visit. I believe that the photographs in this topic would make a great start to the collection and be of great interest to young and old alike. Now where better for it to be housed than in a Victorian building right at the heart of the Railway revolution? Yes your right Curzon Street ex Railway Station. OK I'm a silly sentimental old coffin dodger, so I'm off, before I get kicked off.
 

robert

master brummie
Is there a Birmingham museum,solely about BIRMINGHAM? its great forfathers, its glorious history and its proud inhabitants.
 

Rupert

master brummie
Robert, The science museum at Millenium Pt. on Curzon St. probably has what you are looking for. It is close to the building referred to here. This museum used to be located on Newhall St. if I remember rightly. If it's as good or better than it was before It is worth a visit. You can Google it.
Regards.
 

jennyann

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Staff member
Speaky, Hope you will post your memories. Birmingham has everything to do with you in the fact that you are an important part of it's history. Rupert, I loved the old Science Museum
and my kids, when we were in Birmingham for a few weeks, loved it too. You could hardly buy any books on Brum back in the late l970's and we have come along way promoting
the city since then. I haven't visited Millenium Point as yet but hope to next year.
Please post some of your memory stories Speaky. We have a lot of new members on this forum and it would be great to read their memories also.
 
O

O.C.

Guest
As the eighteenth century had been the period of canal construction, the nineteenth was to be the century of railway making.
Birmingham men were shrewd enough to hail the coming of the “iron-horse”, and gave hearty support to the new movement. Lines between Birmingham and Liverpool opened in 1837 also lines between Birmingham and London in 1838 were the first to be constructed in Brum
The Aris's Gazette of July 10th, 1837, comments: -“At an early hour on Tuesday morning, the town of Birmingham was in a state of great commotion and excitement, owing to the public opening of the Railway. Soon after five o'clock streets leading in the direction of Vauxhall were crowded with persons of all ranks anxious to be witnesses of the first public travelling on this most important line of railway”.
“At seven o'clock precisely, the bell rang, and the opening train, drawn by the “Wildfire” engine, commenced moving. The train consisted of eight carriages, and bearing the following names: - The Greyhound, The Swallow, The Liverpool and Birmingham Mail, The Celerity, The Umpire, The Statesman, and The Birmingham and Manchester Mails. The train started slowly, but, upon emerging from the yard, speedily burst off at a rapid pace. To those who for the first time witnessed such a scene, it was peculiarly exciting, and the immense multitude, as far as the eye could reach, gave expression to their admiration by loud and long-continued cheering, and the waving of hats and handkerchiefs."
The building of the first Railway Station in Birmingham at Curzon Street at this time was still going on and a tempory station was used at Vauxhall.
Curzon Street Station built by Philip Harwick in 1838 at a cost of £26,000 was built to contain refreshment rooms, engineers office and directors apartments the entrance was suppose to have been built as an replica of London’s Euston Station which cost £35,000 also by Harwick (But as you can see by the enclosed photo’s it was slightly different) and Robert Stephenson’s London to Birmingham Line which was 112 miles long and cost £5.5 million took over 20,000 navies 5 years to build was completed in 1838
Pricing to go on the train was rather strange at the start and the train had some flat bed bogies on (see Picture 2 far left) which enabled the rich folk to drive their own carriage onto the train and use that as a first class compartment and after travelling to London which took eight and a half hours they hooked a horse up to it which could be hired for 10 shillings and sixpence and travelled around London……if you went by 2nd Class you could go in a closed carriage by night or a cheaper open one by day……and the 3rd class went in open trucks.
By 1850 the time it took had considerably come down and the run to London was done in 4 hours and 30 minutes and the cost was £1 for 1st class….15shillings for 2nd class and 9 shillings and fourpence and a halfpenny for 3rd class
Curzon Street was the original terminus of the London to Birmingham line but it was later extended to New Street by 1854 which became the main station for Birmingham and Curzon Street station became a goods station
The old station at Vauxhall remained and was the next station down from Curzon Street. In 1914 leading up to the Great War over 2000 men were employed there along with 600 horses and 900 wagons
Euston Station was demolished in 1962 despite massive public protest……
Curzon St Station closed in 1966 and is now derelict and empty ……British Rail was going to demolish it but Birmingham Council stepped in and purchased the building.
I did see plans for the new library …..which was going on the Royal Mail Railway site if so all traces of the Station will disappear except the entrance ……but I have heard a whisper that with the aid of a grant and if it is restored The Royal College of Organists will move in ……if that does not happen ……will it suffer the same fate as most of our heritage and will be left to rot and disappear
I believe it is one of the most important buildings Birmingham has now got ..
Pic 1 Inside Curzon St Station
Pic 2 The Front Entrance
Pic 3 London & Birmingham Coat of Arms over the front door
Pic 4 Plaque


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All images replaced 30/3/16.
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O

O.C.

Guest
Pic 1 Euston Station 1904
Pic 2, 3,4 Curzon St today 2007
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Replacement images #1 and #4 30/3/16
Images may vary from original
 
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O

O.C.

Guest
Two Great old newspaper pics of how they controlled the trains in 1844
 
O

O.C.

Guest
Inside Curzon St.2 Photo's courtesy of Robsey
Bottom Photo courtesy of Andrew Doherty show Curzon St Entrance top right in 1938 with the Hotel now demolished next door (note the Woodman pub on the corner on the right)
 
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jennyann

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Staff member
Crom: thanks for the description of the first trains at Curzon Street Station.
I didn't realize that it took so long to get to London for the first trains.
I hope that we don't lose this heritage building. I remember reading that
the Royal College of Organists decided not to move into Curzon Street.
I expect it is empty now. Thanks for the photos especially the inside ones.

Little bit about the RCO here:

The RCO was founded as the College of Organists in 1864 by Richard Limpus, the organist of St Michael's Cornhill in the City of London, and received its Royal Charter in 1893. From 1904 until 1991 it was based in Kensington Gore in West London in a remarkable building designed by the architect H H Cole. When the lease on this building expired the RCO moved to Holborn in London, then in 2002 they moved to Millennium Point in Digbeth, Birmingham. Plans were made for more permanent purpose-built premises around the Grade I listed former Curzon Street Railway Station in Birmingham, a notable piece of monumental railway architecture. New facilities designed by Associated Architects included a new library and 270 seat concert hall.
In late 2005 the RCO announced that this move would not be taking place. The College has since announced that it will not longer be looking for a permanent home of this kind, focusing instead on core activity such as education, events, examinations and member services.
 
O

O.C.

Guest
Jennyann, I had heard that before but just thought I would give it a mention......I cannot see what the building could be used for only as an entrance.......be very interesting to see the outcome......demolish or not......and I think a lot of people are keeping an eye on what is going to happen to the building
1902 Map shows building marked in yellow


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jennyann

Gone but not forgotten. R.I.P.
Staff member
You know Crom, if the City had been a little more generous and offered the
College of Organists a better deal, it would have all worked out. It seems that the rent was too high and now, of course, there are no tenants and consequently no rent....duh. I suppose there are several buildings that
could be used for many purposes in the centre of Brum going spare, as it were probably for the same reason if the city has ownership. People definitely must keep an eye on Curzon Street Station because it is definitely a " one off" and has so much of Brum's history of the railways going along with it.
 

Tammie

proper brummie kid
a bit of a worry

My interest in this beautiful building is that g g grandad was manager of the goods Station in 1901 and subsequent descendants including my dad, risked their lives defending the place from air raids...seems to me that now St Pancras has been refurbished Birmingham ought to capitalize on this to have a lovely railway museum there including rail art....wasthis the Midland Railway. Incidentally the link from Canals to Railway is illuminated by his own dad who was the lock keeper at Aston Locks.
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Mrs T

Proud To Be A Brummie.
Birmingham's historic Curzon Street station is left boarded up Dec 3 2007


By Gary Marks, Birmingham Mail



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AN historic landmark in the heart of Birmingham's Eastside development is being boarded up as attempts continue to find a use for it.

The Grade I listed Curzon Street station will have boards nailed on to the inside and outside of the ground floor windows and doors on the advice of the city council's insurers.
The move signals the end of a series of art and photography exhibitions recently held in the 169-year-old building and is a stark reminder of the city council's struggle to find a suitable use for the site.
Curzon Street Station, designed by Philip Hardwicke and opened in 1838, had been earmarked as the new home for the Royal College of Organists, with plans for a 270-seat concert hall and a £750,000 organ.​
But the plans were abandoned in 2005 after the institution failed to raise the funds for the move.
After the recent exhibitions, campaigners said they were hopeful it would eventually find use as a photography museum or heritage centre.

In September, it was home to the Station photography exhibition, which included pictures of Robert F Kennedy's funeral train; photos from Birmingham City Library's archive and work by Stephen Morgan capturing the Severn Valley Railway.​

Nathan Tromans, co-organiser of Station and course director of Birmingham City University's BA degree in Visual Communication, said: "I had aspirations to see Curzon Street as a permanent venue for photography and, particularly, the Birmingham archive."​

He said a number of arts organisations were interested in managing the building but lacked funding.​

He added: "The whole area is due for such a dynamic change I think there's nervousness about making the right decision for the building."​

Freddie Gick, chairman of Birmingham Civic Society, said: "I understand a decision on its use should not be rushed into."​

A council spokesman said discussions were still going on about the future of the site and it was being boarded up on the advice of their insurers.​

FACTFILE​

The London & Birmingham Railway received Parliamentary approval for its line in 1833​

The first goods trains left Curzon St on Nov 12, 1837, and the first passengers on April 9, 1838​

The journey time from London to Birmingham was six hours​

A ticket to London cost 30 shillings (£1.50) Ð more than a week's wages for many​

When New Street Station opened in 1854, Curzon Street was used only for excursion and goods traffic.​

The Curzon Street building was first listed in 1952. The station finally closed in 1966​
 
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