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Liverpool Road Station
Liverpool Road, Castlefield, Manchester, UK
Liverpool Road Station
associated engineer
George Stephenson
date  1829 - 15th September 1830
era  Georgian  |  category  Building  |  reference  SJ830979
ICE reference number  HEW 100
photo  © David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
The oldest surviving railway passenger station in the world. It was originally the eastern terminus of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway, world’s first inter-city rail line, engineered by George Stephenson. The building is no longer used as a station but has been refurbished as part of Manchester’s Museum of Science & Industry complex.
The original route of the Liverpool & Manchester Railway (L&MR), as sanctioned by Parliament in 1826, terminated in Salford. A deviation was authorised in 1829, extending the line over the River Irwell to terminate at this new station on the north side of Liverpool Road in Manchester. The station is on the south side of the tracks, with Old Main Goods Warehouse north of the railway line.
Taking charge of a project that would cement his fame was the railway company’s engineer, George Stephenson (1781-1848), who was responsible for the whole line. It has been suggested that Liverpool Road Station was designed by architect John Foster junior (1786-1846), who also designed the line’s Moorish Arch at Edge Hill, Crown Street Station and the first Lime Street Station in Liverpool.
The company acquired an existing three-storey red-brick Georgian house (built 1808), east of Water Street, to accommodate their 'station agent' (station master). The new part of the Manchester terminus was constructed adjoining the east side of the house. It is two storeys high, with separate facilities for first and second class passengers — first class at the western end — and built in the Classical style with sandstone ashlar and stucco facings, sash windows and hipped slate roofs. The first class end is noticeably more ornate, with channelled rustication at ground level and greater detail to its panelled pilasters, moulded cornicing and high parapet than appear on the second class facade.
The booking halls are at ground level with entrances on Liverpool Road and flights of stairs leading to a single passenger platform. The location of the station, next to the Water Street Bridge (rail), means that the tracks are above street level here. The timber platform was covered by a hipped canopy roof supported on slender iron columns.
The station was opened at the same time as the whole L&MR line, on 15th September 1830. The railway proved popular, and the growth of both passenger and goods traffic was such that by the end of 1837 an 'arrival station' for passengers was constructed on the north side of the tracks. Virtually nothing is known of this structure now.
On 4th May 1844, a much larger station opened to the north east, at Hunts Bank, now Manchester Victoria Station (SJ840990), on completion of a branch from Salford. There was now a greater choice of destinations, and services ceased to use Liverpool Road, which was turned into a freight depot. By 1849, some 64 wagon turntables were on the site and an extensive system of specialised goods sheds extended eastwards to Lower Byrom Street.
In 1930, the Lord Mayors of Manchester and Liverpool unveiled a plaque at Liverpool Road Station to commemorate its centenary. In December 1963, the building was Grade I listed.
The station was used for goods traffic and freight services until 1972 but closed in 1975. The site was purchased by Greater Manchester Council to house the growing Museum of Science & Industry (opened 1969 in Chorlton-on-Medlock), and the station and its associated warehousing fully restored. The site was used to celebrate the railway’s 150th anniversary in 1980. The station complex re-opened on 5th May 1982, and the whole museum on 15th September 1983.
Research: PD, ECPK
bibliography
"Liverpool to Manchester in 1830: the world's first main line railway project" by Mike Chrimes, unpublished paper seen in draft, London, 2016
"Liverpool Road Station, Manchester. An historical and architectural survey" By R.S. Fitzgerald, Manchester University Press in association with the Royal Commission on Historical Monuments and the Greater Manchester Council, 1980
http://manchesterhistory.net
http://msimanchester.org.uk
www.disused-stations.org.uk
www.historicengland.org.uk
www.ice.org
reference sources   CEH North
Location

Liverpool Road Station