In the 1880's, the GWR commissioned the architect, W. Danks, to design a number of "standard" station buildings. By that time, most Great Western lines had already been built, so the design only appeared here and there on new lines or where an earlier building needed to be replaced. One of the best examples was at Ross-on-Wye. Sadly, this has now been demolished.
When Bob Marrows carried out the architectural design work for Kidderminster Town, he naturally chose this design because it combined a standard GWR image (at home anywhere) with a refined elegance obtained by accumulated experience in the years up to 1880. The building's appearance will be in every way a classic railway structure but without too much overbearing Victorian fussiness. The design for Ross has been altered to fit our needs because the building stands at ninety degrees to the track rather than parallel with it, to form a terminus arrangement. The GWR would have made the same adaptations; they always altered standard designs to suit special site requirements, just as Bob Marrows did.
It was most fortunate that Bob, a true Great Western purist, was at hand at the right time to design and oversee construction free of charge. Few other architects would have carried out such extensive research and taken so much care with proportions bearing in mind that it had to be built using metric bricks! Unfortunately, money ran out before all phases of construction could be completed. The restaurant was added later. It is a dreadful structure, not at all in keeping with the original concept – but, thankfully, only temporary. In order to recommence the good work begun in 1984, design work now began for the Porte Cochere (or awning to us normal folk!) for the front of the building.
There is no known exact original in existence, so, with the aid of photographs and site visits to stations throughout the GWR system, Dave Redfern and I managed to put together authentic designs. The arrangement of the building's drains, high pavement and close proximity of coaches turning in the road, have precluded the original Ross downward-sloping design. An arrangement where the roof slopes up away from the building was considered more suitable. The design consists of four lattice steel brackets constructed from 3" x 3/8" angle with ¼" thick corner webs The main frame of the bracket is from two angles back-to-back to form a tee shape, the lower piece having a handsome curve. These are already on-site having been specially rolled by Accurate Sections Benders Ltd of Cradley Heath for only £28.0.0d each!
At the time of writing, we are collecting funds to purchase the remainder of the material which will be cut and drilled on-site, ready for riveting. When the building was erected, provision for the awning was made in the form of steel members built into the wall. Visitors may have wondered at the lead flashing already in place above the entrance to the booking hall. It will form a seal with the new guttering of the awning. In order to fit the supporting brackets, it will be necessary to cut-out brickwork and let– fabricated steel pacer pieces and stone corbels to attach the new structure. The four lattice brackets will support longitudinal steel angles to which the corrugated iron roofing is attached. (The Great Western made much use of corrugated iron – a modern invention at that time.) Finally, the whole structure will be edged with 6" boards cut off in zig-zag shapes along the bottom. This finishing touch will transform a nondescript Victorian building jokingly referred to by me as Comberton Hill Infants School into a RAILWAY STATION!
Thank you for your support.
MICK YARKER - COMMITTEE MEMBER - 1993