Station Name:MANORS (NORTH & EAST)


[Source:W. Fawcett]

Manors Station by W. Fawcett

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.

[Source: W. Fawcett]

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