Station Name: GOSPORT

[Source: Nick Catford]

Date opened: 29.11.1841
Location: West side of Spring Garden Lane
Company on opening: London & South Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 8.6.1953
Date closed completely: 6.1.1969
Company on closing: British Railways (Southern Region)
Present state: Apart from the 'trainshed' overall roof the station is extant and has now been fully restored as a residential and office development.
County: Hampshire
OS Grid Ref: SU614003
Date of visit: July 1975, January 1983, September 1995 & 11.3.2006
Notes: The terminus was built after considerable negotiation with the Board of Ordnance, which argued that the site, just outside a main gate in the Gosport Lines ramparts, could compromise the Portsmouth Harbour defences. The buildings were designed to be defensible, with surrounding railings and a roof parapet. The terminus was designed by William Tite in
an Italianate classic tradition and finished with Tuscan columns with Corinthian capitals and an overall wood and glass 'trainshed' roof.

From the start, the station was very busy, particularly with the carriage of coal and other freight, and initially was also used for passengers travelling to Portsmouth, a short ferry ride across the harbour. The LSWR also opened a locomotive depot north of the station on the west side of the line in February 1842. This was badly damaged during a bombing raid in 1941 but remained in use until its demolition in 1953.

The station, fronts onto Spring Garden Lane having a masonry wall flanked with railings and a pair of substantial gate posts with wrought iron gates. A stationmaster's house is incorporated into the end of the building. There were two platforms, the south platform was used almost exclusively for passengers and incorporated the booking office, ladies waiting
room, stationmaster's office, parcels office and telegraph office. The north platform was retained for goods and included a cattle loading dock (resited outside the station in 1900). There was a goods shed and 10-ton crane in the yard on the north side of the station but the shed was demolished in 1922 with all goods being handled within the station.

There were numerous sidings on both side of the line with those on the up side used mainly for coal which accounted for the majority of freight traffic serving 10 local coal merchants. The station also carried ongoing freight traffic to the Isle of Wight. There was also considerable naval and military traffic.

The station was given great impetus during World War I as Gosport's role as Victualler to the Navy increased. There was in influx of supplies to and from Royal Clarence Yard, and also large numbers of troop movements and the transportation of the wounded en route to Haslar Hospital.

After the First World War rail traffic decreased, but with the coming of the World War II the station saw much military activity again, including supplies, hospital trains and trains carrying prisoners of war on their way to a local internment camp. On the night of 10 March 1941 the station received a direct incendiary hit from an aerial attack, the main damage being to the roofing
which caught alight and collapsed. After the war a new roof was provided consisting of asbestos sheets on a steel framework.

After the war Gosport station's role again diminished. In 1950 there were weekday down trains from Alton and 5 up trains with no Sunday service and a further 4 down trains and 3 up trains from Eastleigh. On 6 June 1953 scheduled passenger services from Gosport ceased. Freight traffic remained until 30 January 1969, but then the station closed to all regular traffic although a private siding remained in use after that date.

The county council acquired the Grade II* listed station in 1972. Since that time, the council restored the railings along Spring Garden Lane and carried out maintenance of the buildings and grounds. However, the loss of the roof meant the brick and stonework was exposed and the condition of the buildings deteriorated. After remaining derelict for 37 years,
latterly securely fenced, planning approval was given in 2006 for conversion of the platforms and buildings into a small number of residential properties and offices with the main gate in Spring Garden Lane opened up for vehicle access. This development is for the Guinness Trust was designed by architect Matt Swanton of award winning architects Format Milton Architects (now Re-Format). Work started clearing the site in late 2008 and the development was completed early in 2011.

A few offices being created in the area of the original station managers accommodation with flats in the rest of the main building and residences created on the opposite platform. The area between the platforms is now a ‘common garden’ area for the development. The development comprises
1 - 17 The old Railway and 1 - 12 Lock Terrace.

A railway to Gosport was first promoted in 1836 as part of a plan by the London and Southampton Railway to connect Portsmouth to London. There was strong opposition from local residents to the building of a branch line into Portsmouth for a line that was destined for Southampton, such was the
animosity between the two towns. Instead it was proposed that the line should be built to Gosport from where there was a short ferry journey to Portsmouth. The plan was dropped but was revived two years by the London and South Western Railway (LSWR) who had taken over the London & Southampton. The proposed terminus was to be just short of the town centre as Gosport was a fortified town and the Commanding Officer refused to allow the walls to be breached to bring the railway closer to the town centre.

The line opened on 29th November 1841. Gosport station was first used by the Royal Family on 8th October 1843 when Prince Albert arrived at Gosport by train to greet the King Louis - Phillipe of France. Queen Victoria came to the station six days later when she accompanied the King on his return to France. The following year the Queen purchased the Osborne
Estate on the Isle of Wight and the Clarence Victualing Yard at Gosport was her favoured point of departure rather than Portsmouth or Southampton. Shortly afterwards Prince Albert and the LSWR agreed to build a 605 yard extension from Gosport through the ramparts of the Gosport Lines to a new station closer to the pier; Gosport Clarence Yard Station (also known as Royal Victoria Station) opened on 13th September 1845.

The railway was very busy in the middle part of the 19th century, particularly with the carriage of coal and other freight. However the opening of a direct service from London to Portsmouth in 1847 began to have a heavy impact on Gosport. An intermediate station at Brockhurst was opened on 1st November 1865 to accommodate the troops occupying the forts at the north end of the town.

By 1900 passenger numbers were in decline due in part to the competition from street tramways but with the coming of WW1 rail traffic quickly improved with supplies to and from the Royal Clarence Yard and large numbers of troop movements including the transportation of the wounded soldiers to Haslar Hospital in Gosport.

After the war, the line was again in decline and in 1934 the twin track to Fareham was singled leaving only a passing loop at Brockhurst; a rubber tyred, petrol engine, rail bus was introduced in 1937 as a further economy measure. Despite the lack of passengers, goods traffic on the line remained heavy and was increasing up to the start of WW2. During the war the
branch once again saw increased military activity including supplies, hospital trains and trains carrying prisoners of war on their way to the local internment camp. With the end of the hostilities in 1945 the future of the line was soon in doubt with closure to passengers coming on 6th June 1953. Freight traffic continued until 30th January 1969 when final closure came with only the northern section of the line serving the Royal Naval stores depot at Bedenham being retained; this remains in use today. The section of line between Fort Brockhurst and the outskirts of Gosport has now been turned

Further reading: The Railways of Gosport by Kevin Robertson - Kingfisher 1986
ISBN 0 946184 25 9 (out of print)
Branch Lines around Gosport by Vic. Mitchell & Keith. Smith - Middleton Press 1991
ISBN 0 906520 36 3

Some text reproduced from Wikipedia under Creative Commons Licence, Tickets from Michael Stewart

For other stations on the Fareham - Gosport branch click on the station name: Fareham, Fort Brockhurst & Gosport Clarence Yard

For other stations on the Lee-on-the-Solent branch click on the station name: Fort Gomer Halt, Browndown Halt, Elmore Halt,

See also the Stokes Bay and Gosport Road & Alverstoke

Gosport station on the opening day in 1841

1867 1:2500 OS map.

1909 1:2500 OS map, the layout of the goods yard has changed. The small turntables for individual wagon movement have been removed and the cattle dock has been resited outside
the station (in 1900).

1932 1:2500 OS map, the layout of the goods yard has again changed following closure of the hoods shed in 1922. After that date all gods was handled under the trainshed.

Coloured lithograph by Bayot and Cuvillier after a painting by French artist Edouard Pingret titled 'Retour du Roi a la Station de Gosport'. Queen Victoria and Prince Albert are shown being met by dignitaries at Gosport Station in 1845.

Gosport station looking east early 20th century. Passenger trains used the platform on the right while goods trains used the platform on the left.
Photo from John Mann collection

Gosport station entrance in the 1930s. This shows William Tite's architecture at its best.

Gosport station in 1930s.
Photo from John Mann collection

Gosport Station looking east in 1950. Following the collapse of the station roof during an air attack in 1941 The steel framework for the new roof has been built but only some if the asbestos
panels in place. The roof was never finished.
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection

A busy day at Gosport station in 1958. By this date the station was closed to passenger traffic but still handled a lot of goods traffic.
Photo from John Mann collection

LCGB New Forester Railtour at Gosport Station in 19th March 1966. Q1 class 33006 runs round its train.
Photo by Graham Stacey from (from 30937 Photographic Group web site)

Gosport station looking west in June 1977
hoto by Alan Young

Gosport station looking west along the goods platform in January 1983
hoto by Nick Catford

Gosport Station in looking west in March 2006
hoto by Nick Catford

Gosport Station in looking west in December 2008 shortly after redevelopment of the site started.
Photo from PhilF21's Flickr photostream

Gosport station looking west along the passenger platform in March 2011 shortly after the redevelopment was completed.
hoto by Lee Snelling

Gosport station forecourt in March 2011 showing the high quality of the restoration.
Photo by Lee Snelling

Click here for more photographs of Gosport Station




[Source: Nick Catford]

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