The first Manors station was the western terminus of the Newcastle
& North Shields Railway. This entered the city centre by a
massive stone bridge, crossing Trafalgar Street, a curious Benjamin
Green design with the roadway flanked by pedestrian tunnels. It
then continued on a stone-walled embankment towards Pilgrim Street
where the company had acquired a site for the city's first permanent
railway station near to the then new and splendid Royal Arcade.
This station was never built, because of speculation about a Central
Station to serve all the Newcastle railways, existing and planned.
Instead, the company curtailed their line on the east side of
a street called Manors and built a temporary station alongside
the new prison in Carliol Square. Even then, they dithered somewhat
for, though the lint: opened in 1839, the station buildings were
not complete until the beginning of 1842.
In the event, the company was taken over by the Newcastle &
Berwick Railway who brought their line into a junction at Heaton
and so gained access over the North Shields route to the centre
of Newcastle. From another junction on the east side of Trafalgar
Street they extended further into the city centre, to a junction
with the Newcastle and Darlington line at the new Central Station.
West of Trafalgar Street the new line was carried across a deep
valley by a stone viaduct, whose literal high point is the splendid
arch across Dean Street. The old Manors terminus then became a
coal depot and a new through station was provided above Trafalgar
Street, on the site of the eventual platforms 6 and 7. This had
an office building on the down site in the angle of the junction,
and access between platforms was by way of one of the arches of
the new viaduct - the start of a fine tradition of subways at
Manors, which, until Central Station was completed, served as
the terminus of the Berwick line. East of Trafalgar Street, on
the down side, was built the massive Trafalgar Goods Station of
the Newcastle & Berwick.
The railway layout at Manors did not change much until the 1880's
when the North Eastern Railway embarked on the quadrupling of
the main line to Heaton and the enlargement of Central Station.
By then they had absorbed the Blyth & Tyne Railway whose Newcastle
terminus lay in New Bridge Street, barely a thousand feet away
from Manors. They did not, however, hasten to link the two lines-despite
owning most of the intervening land - since this would have entailed
the demolition of Trafalgar Goods and the routes were already
linked at Benton.
Widening between Manors and Heaton was completed in 1887 and
new stations opened at Heaton, on 1 April and at Manors, on 13
June; the widening of the viaduct leading to Central Station took
a further 7 years to complete. At Manors the route was widened
by adding stretches of masonry viaduct on the upside either side
of Trafalgar Street bridge, which was broadened by skew girders.
The new station retained the down platform and office building
of its predecessor, perhaps pending their eventual replacement
if a link were formed to New Bridge Street. The up platform was
replaced by a long island (later platforms 7 and 8) and a platform
(later 9) high above Melbourne Street. Access between them was
by means of the arch spanning Croft Lane. This public route provided
a subway from which stairways, guarded by heavy iron gates, led
up to the new platforms. The steep fall of the land meant that
the eastern entrance into Croft Lane lay much lower than the western
one and so a second passage was provided, leading directly from
the foot of the platform 7/8 stairs to a landing on the stairs
leading up to platform 9. Even in ruin, the latter staircase is
a tour-de-force, climbing from street level between glazed brick
walls which rise sheer to a glass roof at platform level a long
way above. This deep well is fronted on the platform side by a
glazed timber screen, while Melbourne Street is faced by a dignified,
curving 3 storey brick facade with shop units on the ground floor
and waiting rooms on top - reached from platform 9 by an enclosed
bridge across the stairwell. Altogether it was an ingenious design.
The new platforms were well roofed in a style characteristic
of William Bell at that period: elaborately detailed Gothic columns
and spandrel brackets carrying an excessively heavy structure,
clad with slates half way up each side and then glazed in the
centre. Platforms 2 and 3 (later 7 and 8) had ridge and furrow
roofing with hipped ends, carried on two lines of columns and
sheltering a timber office range containing a booking office and
waiting rooms. Platform 4 (later 9) had (and still retains) a
roof whose ridge runs along the platform.
Quadrupling of the line between Manors and Central Station was
completed in 1894 but the next significant development was alongside
the railway rather than on it. This was the opening by Newcastle
Corporation in 1901 of Manors Power Station to supply electricity
to the City's tramway system. The new plant was supplied with
coal over a line branching off at Argyle Street, but a little
coal traffic was no substitute for the passenger revenue lost
to the railway once the trams had been electrified. The competition
stimulated not only the electrification of the Coast line but
also the eventual construction of the Manors - New Bridge Street
link. To clear the way for this the NER constructed a massive
new goods station alongside the Blyth & Tyne route to the
north of New Bridge Street. This, William Bell's major essay in
reinforced concrete, opened partially in 1906. Its completion,
at the beginning of 1907, enabled the company to close and demolish
Trafalgar Goods to make way for the link line and new platforms
at Manors which opened on 1 July
The extensions to Manors were made on a lavish scale, with two
through platforms and three bays. These formed platforms 1 to
5 of the combined station but were called Manors North, while
the older platforms became numbers 6 to 9 and were renamed Manors
East. The new line came across the corner of Trafalgar Street
bridge on girders and then over the site of the Newcastle &
Berwick station building which was replaced by a spacious new
office range adjoining platform 1. Manors North established the
image for other new stations on the electrified Coast line: light,
fully glazed platform roofs and pollution-proof buildings in smooth
red brick and terra-cotta which could be kept clean by regular
hosing down. From a forecourt facing Trafalgar Street, one entered
a large booking hall crowned by a clock with a typically Edwardian
cupola. Steps led down to a passenger subway linking platforms
1 & 2, while a parcels subway and lifts were also provided.
Trafalgar Street prevented any link being made with the Manors
East subway and so a footbridge was provided.
The Manors North platform roofing is characteristic of the last
phase of William Bell's work and are presented as a challenge
to modellers! They show transverse and lengthwise sections through
the roof adjoining the station offices on platform 1. It comprised
triangular trusses built up from L-section beams and borne on
cast-iron columns and spandrel brackets. The cladding comprised
overlapping rows of glass panes, retained by wooden glazing bars
attached to timber purlins resting on steel beams.
Each king post truss consisted of two triangles of T-section
beams joined back to back, each triangle being braced by an L-section
diagonal strut and a flat vertical one. The T-sections were formed
by riveting 2 L-section beams together, leaving a gap between
into which jointing plates were fitted at the angles of the truss.
An L-section, ridge beam linked the trusses and was braced by
L-section diagonal struts. Halfway down each side of the roof
came T-section purlins stiffened by an arrangement of tie rods
attached to brackets which slotted over the web of the purlin.
There were two sets of tie rods - lengthwise ones and transverse
ones running to the base and apex of the roof. Thus bracing was
provided at two points between successive columns. In the Manors
East roof (platform 9), by contrast, two intermediate roof trusses
were provided between successive columns and their support required
a deep lattice girder running along the ridge.
On the platform edge side, the base of the roof was carried by
a deep steel joist to the front of which was attached the distinctive
iron valencing and gutter - the rainwater from which was conducted
by pipes running back into the upper section of the hollow columns.
The spandrel panels were similar to those at Whitley Bay, though
less melaborate and bore the '3 castles' crest of the City of
Newcastle on a shield set within a circle. The supporting columns
were partially fluted and had Ionic capitals, very well detailed,
with angle volutes and a band of 'egg and dart' moulding. The
pattern can still be studied as it was employed also for the columns
carrying the footbridge.
Platforms 2 and 3 had a larger island platform version of this
roof, with two rows of columns, 15 feet apart, carrying an arched
queenpost truss of the type of still to be seen at the west end
of Central Station.
Manors itself has almost vanished. The first loss was the handsome
sandstone grain warehouse which stood on the up side. The station
itself survived long, but with little traffic except twice a day
when commuters brought life not only to Manors but also to the
moribund Royal Arcade, which provided a short cut between it and
the city centre.
During the late 1960's and early 1970's the neighbourhood was
devastated by an urban motorway and the 1839 station site, including
a small Gothic office by Benjamin Green, was cleared to accommodate
the road and a multistory car park. Manors Station, however, survived
until made redundant by the Metro which opened a new station near
nearby. The 1909 link line has been removed and only platforms
6 and 7 are in regular, if infrequent use.
At Manors the suffixes North and East were dropped from the public
timetable from 16 June 1947 although they continued in use in
the working timetable and other official documents. The Commercial
Circular dated 20 February 1969 finally announced that the use
of Manors North and Manors East would cease and that the station
would become plain Manors.
The closure of the section formerly known as Manors North took
place on 23 January 1978 in readiness for the Metro.