Station Name: MANORS NORTH

[Source: Alan Young]

Date opened: 1.1.1909
Location: Immediately south of New Bridge Street and east of Central Motorway East, A167(M). Technopole Business Park occupies much of the station site.
Company on opening: North Eastern Railway
Date closed to passengers: 23.1.1978. The entrance building continued to give access to Manors East platforms for some years.
Date closed completely: 23.1.1978
Company on closing:

British Rail (Eastern Region)

Present state: Demolished although the south end of platform 1 survives.
County: Northumberland
OS Grid Ref: NZ253644
Date of visit: Frequent visits from 1956 - 1973, 1984, 9.7.2005, 27.7.2010 & 12.5.2012

Notes: Known by local people as ‘The Manors’, the name refers to the area on the edge of Newcastle’s city centre which was almost obliterated by the station as it grew into an extravagant nine-platform affair. Passengers travelling from Newcastle towards Benton gained a vivid impression of the station’s vastness, as first the Coast Circle via Wallsend platforms (8 and 9) curved away, followed by the East Coast main line platforms (6 and 7), before the train drew in to platform 1, with numbers 2 (for trains from Benton to Newcastle) and 3 to 5 (for Blyth and Newbiggin services) to the right. Today a single island platform on the East Coast main line, with an hourly local train service, is all that remains. From 1909 until 1969 Manors was officially two separate stations – East and North – but the latter closed in 1978, justifying its inclusion as a ‘Disused Station’.

An Act of Parliament on 21 June 1836 authorized the construction of The Newcastle & North Shields Railway (N&NS) which opened on 20 June 1839. The Newcastle terminus was intended to be at Pilgrim Street but, owing to the possibility of a central Newcastle station being provided for all railways serving the city, the N&NS ended a short distance to
the north-east. A temporary terminus opened close to Carliol Square: known as ‘Newcastle’, this was effectively the first Manors (East) station. Its buildings were not finished until 1842. In July 1846 the Newcastle & Berwick Railway (N&B) absorbed the N&NS, and used the existing North Shields route for about 1½ miles to Heaton Junction for its line which opened as far as Morpeth on 1 March 1847. From another junction on the east side of Trafalgar Street the N&B pushed further into the city centre, to a junction with the Newcastle and Darlington line at the new Central station on 30 August 1850. The former ‘Manors’ terminus was retained as a coal depot, and a new through station was constructed above Trafalgar Street, on the site of the later platforms 6 and 7. This had an office building on the down side, in the angle of the junction. Access between platforms was through one of the arches of the new viaduct. The platforms were extended and given extensive roofing in 1872-3.

In 1864 the Blyth & Tyne Railway (B&T) entered Newcastle from the north, opening its New Bridge Street terminus about 300yd north of Manors. This station would eventually, in 1909, be superseded by Manors (North). The North Eastern Railway (NER), which absorbed the York Newcastle & Berwick Railway (as the N&B had become) in 1854 went on,
twenty years later, to absorb the B&T. Despite owning the two neighbouring stations, the NER was slow to link them. To do so would require the demolition of Trafalgar Goods station, and there was already a link between the two routes at Benton.

As traffic grew, the two miles between Newcastle and Heaton, through Manors, became congested. In 1887 the route was quadrupled, and Manors was remodelled. The old down platform and building were retained (as platform 1) but a long island platform (2 and 3, later re-numbered 7 and 8) replaced the old up one, and platform 4 (later 9) was added, its tall, 3-storey curving frontage following the line of Melbourne Street. Shop units occupied the street level space, with waiting rooms at platform level. The enlarged station required a labyrinth of passages and stairways beneath it - likened by one reviewer to the fictional Castle Gormenghast! Access to the platform from Melbourne Street involved ascent of a lengthy staircase; part way up the staircase a tunnel led off to the other platforms. Robust, slate-and-glass canopies were carried on ornate Gothic columns and spandrel brackets. Platforms 2 and 3 (later 7 and 8) had ridge-and-furrow roofing with hipped ends, carried on two lines of columns, sheltering a timber office range including a booking office, towards its south-western end, and waiting rooms. On platform 4 (later 9) the roof ridge ran along the platform. Quadrupling of the line between Manors and Central Station was completed in 1894.

The next significant development was beside the railway rather than on it. In 1901 Manors power station opened to supply electricity to the city's tramway system. This competition stimulated not only the electrification of the existing lines between the city and the coast but also the eventual construction of the Manors-New Bridge Street link with new platforms at Manors (North) which opened on 1 July 1909.

The extensions to Manors were on a generous scale. Two through platforms (1and 2) and three bays (3, 4 and 5) made up Manors North: the older platforms became Manors East, numbered 6 to 9. The new line came across the corner of Trafalgar Street bridge on girders, then over the site of the Newcastle & Berwick station building which was replaced with an office
range adjoining platform 1. The North station building, approached from Trafalgar Street, was set back behind a wide, triangular forecourt. The core of the building - the booking hall - was a single-storey structure in red brick with a hipped roof, fronted by a large gable and surmounted by a clock cupola.

Passengers entered from the forecourt at the north side of the booking hall under a small glazed awning. From the booking hall a staircase led down to a subway to platforms 2 and 3, from which platforms 4, 5 and 6 were then directly accessible; a parcels subway and lifts were also provided. A footbridge also linked all platforms, stretching from the ‘up’ end of platform 1 to the ‘down’ end of platform 9.  There was access to the station from the New Bridge Street over-bridge at the north end of platforms 1 and 2. A long, covered ramp delivered passengers to the exterior of the main building, whilst covered flights of stairs led to platform 2/3. This facility was possibly already
disused when it was damaged by fire in the early-1960s. Extensive glazed roofing sheltered the new platforms, supported by columns with Ionic capitals and spandrels embellished with the City of Newcastle’s ‘Three Castle’ crest. The new station roofing lent a light, airy atmosphere to Manors North in contrast to the more gloomy platforms of Manors East. William Bell was Chief Architect of the North Eastern Railway from 1877 until 1914, when these major changes were made to Manors station. Lavish new buildings featuring large expanses of glazed roofing at Monkseaton, Whitley Bay and Tynemouth, on the Coast line from Manors were also impressive products of Bell’s office: unlike Manors North, they survive to be admired today.

As noted earlier, electrification of the Newcastle tramways, spurred the NER to ‘fight the devil with fire’: the company electrified the route from Newcastle Central to New Bridge Street via Wallsend / Carville and Tynemouth using a 600v DC third rail system and increased the frequency of the service. From 1909 electric trains were introduced through the new Manors
North, travelling to Benton, but the traditional ‘Coast Circle’ electric service, starting and terminating at Central station, did not begin until 1917. Electric services continued until 17 June 1967, diesel multiple units having been gradually phased in during the previous year to replace the fleet of electric trains that had been operating since 1937.

Although in practice one station, and the nameboards bore the name Manors, the old and new parts were officially Manors East and North from 1 January 1909 until 20 February 1969. Some tickets referred to East and North, as did LNER timetables until June 1947. In British Railways days working timetables still distinguished East from North. Public timetables indicated by footnotes that express services from Monkseaton via the East Coast main line called at the East rather than the North platforms.

On a typical weekday in the early-1960s, outside rush hours, an electric multiple unit called every twenty minutes to the Coast via Benton (platform 1), and to the coast via Wallsend (platform 8); from the Coast via Benton (platform 2) and from the coast via Wallsend (platform 9), totalling twelve services per hour. Rush-hour Coast Circle services were frequent but at
irregular intervals, and occasional services to and from the ‘Riverside Branch’ (the St Peters and Carville route) and Blyth / Newbiggin used the station too. On Saturdays the Blyth / Newbiggin services operated at hourly intervals, terminating in platforms 3, 4, or 5, rather than using Central station.

By the early 1960s these were diesel multiple units, though the first working of the day - originating at Newcastle Central, travelling to Newbiggin, then returning to Manors – was steam-hauled and conveyed mail and parcels. Platforms 6 and 7 had irregular express EMU workings to and from the Coast via the East Coast main line and Benton SE Curve, as well as DMUs to and from Alnwick. Some steam-or diesel-hauled ‘semi-fast’ Berwick and Edinburgh services called at Manors, but main line expresses did not call. A variety of goods traffic also passed through Manors, and goods services on the ¾-mile Quayside Branch, electrified with overhead equipment - but third rail in and just outside its tunnels - terminated here. (The Quayside branch went over to diesel haulage on 29 February 1964 and closed on 16 June 1969. For many years after, the poles to support the electric wiring remained on Manors East platforms.)

The variety of passenger services began to decline when, on 2 November 1964, Blyth / Newbiggin trains were withdrawn, making Manors North platforms 3 to 5 redundant. The few Riverside Branch trains ceased from 23 July 1973. Much more significantly trains were withdrawn permanently from Manors North when the Coast service via Benton ended on 23 January 1978 in preparation for Metro works: Coast trains via Wallsend continued to use Manors East until 11 August 1980. On 14 November 1982 a regular local passenger service resumed at Manors, but using the new underground Metro station on the Newcastle to Coast route.

Until the mid-1970s Manors was busy and well maintained; in 1967, 201,173 tickets were issued there, increasing in 1972 to 346,217 when the Coast Circle services were revitalized in the Tynerider promotion of 1970. Hanging baskets adorned the North platforms 1 and 2 in the summer months. The North Eastern Region’s favourite ‘oriental blue’ paint
was applied to iron columns and woodwork - though this did not really blend with the tangerine signage! LNER electric ‘mint imperial’ design lamps hung from the roofing of the North station, or were carried on hooped standards on the open platforms. Small LNER name tablets accompanied the lamps: tangerine BR ‘totem’ signs were, sadly, never fitted. Under the East station roofing the electric lighting had LNER brick-shaped diffusers bearing the station name. Tall, vandal-proof lamps arrived in 1971, and ‘corporate identity’ black-and-white signage followed in 1973.

From August 1980 only some thirty local services on the East Coast main line called at Manors, but the number has dwindled in 2011 to four southbound on Mondays-to-Fridays (two on Saturdays) and four northbound on Mondays-to-Saturdays, with no Sunday services.

The near-extinction of Manors’ passenger services was accompanied by a dramatic contraction of the station. By late-1979 the tracks had been removed from North station, and demolition of the buildings was advanced. By Easter 1980 the only old buildings remaining were on ‘local’ platforms 1 and 9. Northbound main line passengers had to make do with
a crude, breezeblock shelter, while southbound passengers – if there were any – and Coast-bound passengers, who shared platforms 7 and 8, had to shelter in the subway.

In September 1985 the once-dignified entrance building on platform 1 was being demolished. The cupola, stripped of its clock, rose proudly above the crumbling remains of the booking hall. On the façade a tangerine British Rail Manors sign was still fixed to the gable in front of the turret, accompanied by a modern British Rail sign, reassuring doubters that trains still called. Access to the station was afforded by a lengthy footbridge over the ‘Central Motorway East’. On reaching the unstaffed station the would-be passenger had to navigate through the roofless North booking hall, avoiding chunks of fallen masonry, then along the rubble-strewn former platform 1, overhung by roofing supports awaiting demolition. Beyond this a causeway crossed the old track-bed to platform 2. To catch a train to Newcastle Central a footbridge then had to be crossed. By 1985 platforms 2 to 5 had gone, and much of their site had been landscaped. The platform-level buildings and awnings on platform 9 were removed in 1986.

By 1991 Manors (East) possessed one shortened island platform, with overhead wires installed for the main line electrification. The Technopole Business Park on the site of Manors North, and extending into the space between the North and East stations, might have been expected to justify an improved train service at the surviving platform, but the frequent services at the
nearby Manors Metro underground station probably meet workers’ needs.

In recent years Manors station has attracted much interest, with lively blog-site discussions on its every feature. Perhaps the use of its gloomy subway and staircases as a film set in the 1971 cult movie Get Carter, starring Michael Caine, is part of its mystique. Contributors seem amazed that so little remains of such a vast and formerly important transport facility. The clock cupola survives, but it is in South Shields as a feature of the Rattler pub (formerly Marsden Rattler).

BRIEF HISTORY OF BLYTH & TYNE RAILWAY (Newcastle [New Bridge Street] – Jesmond – Benton – Backworth)
The southern end of the Blyth & Tyne Railway has a complicated history. Until 1861 there was a single route from Blyth and Seghill onward through Prospect Hill to Percy Main, with a terminus adjacent to the NER station. However in that year a new branch was opened, following the route of the former Whitley Waggonway, extending from Hartley to Tynemouth. It should be noted that this included the stretch to what is now Monkseaton, which was to be known as the ‘Avenue Branch’, and that the line beyond to Tynemouth was half a mile inland of the present day Monkseaton – Tynemouth Metro line.

At the Tynemouth end the original terminus was quickly replaced with a new one on a short branch which curved south eastwards, and that in turn closed when its branch was extended to a third terminus, which adjoined the 1847 Tynemouth terminus of what had been the Newcastle & North Shields Railway.

In 1864 the Blyth & Tyne reached Newcastle, with a terminus at New Bridge Street. This was achieved by diverting trains onto a new line just south of Holywell, then through Backworth, Benton, and Jesmond. At Backworth a new line was opened to join the 1861 Whitley (Monkseaton) to Tynemouth route. Trains could now travel on the B&T from Newcastle (New
Bridge Street) to Tynemouth, making the Holywell – Prospect Hill – Percy Main route, and the ‘Avenue Branch’ between Hartley and Whitley (Monkseaton) redundant. These two lines closed in June 1864 on the day when the Newcastle – Tynemouth service was inaugurated.

In 1874 the B&T was absorbed by the NER, and the opportunity was taken to reorganise the railway routes in the Monkseaton / Whitley / Tynemouth area. With the growth of housing and holidaymaking on the coast the ‘inland’ route from Monkseaton to North Shields was superseded in 1882 by one within sight of the sea, and the two formerly competing termini at Tynemouth
were replaced with a splendid new through station. This created the coastal section of the familiar Coast Circle and Metro route, although there were to be realignments at Whitley Bay in 1910 and Monkseaton in 1915 where new, larger stations were built.

In response to the growth and electrification of street tram networks on North Tyneside the Coast Circle route via both Wallsend and Carville was electrified in 1904 on the third rail system, and the irregular and infrequent steam service was replaced with a frequent interval service. For almost six decades the basic pattern was three trains per hour in each direction, with extras in the rush hour.

In 1963 the Reshaping of British Railways (‘Beeching’) report made no reference to the main Coast Circle line, but the Riverside Branch, via Carville, was recommended for closure (which was eventually implemented in 1973). However on a visit to Tyneside shortly after the report’s publication Beeching made it clear that the Coast Circle line was a likely candidate for closure. In the mid 1960s the ageing electric multiple units, dating from 1937, were being allowed a few more minutes to complete their journeys, and the decision was made to replace them with diesel multiple units cascaded from other areas rather than with newer electric stock. In June 1967, shortly after the line became part of British Rail’s Eastern Region – the North Eastern having been abolished - the last EMUs ran, and the third rails were removed.

The service of three stopping trains per hour in each direction was replaced with a half-hourly service, plus one ‘express’ serving only the coastal stations, Wallsend and Manors; it is no surprise that custom was lost at the stations whose service was cut. However in October 1970 the tide turned, and the Eastern Region launched the vigorous Tynerider campaign to revitalise
the line (including the Riverside branch) and the South Shields branch. Although the Riverside continued to have a sparse service at rush hours only, the Coast Circle’s 20-minutely service returned, with the new feature of trains in the early hours to bring revellers home from Newcastle city centre. Passenger numbers increased dramatically, and strengthened the case for further investment. The idea of incorporating the local railways into a rapid transit system was examined, and in 1973 Royal Assent was obtained to use the Coast Circle as the basis of such a network, which was to become the Tyne & Wear Metro.

The engineering work to bring about this transformation was ambitious, involving the driving of tunnels under central Newcastle and Gateshead and constructing a sixth bridge over the Tyne between these centres, so that the Metro could be separated from the ‘main line’ system. For some time between January 1978 and November 1982 all of the stations on the Coast Circle (except Tynemouth) were closed for conversion work to be done: this included West Jesmond, South Gosforth, Longbenton, Benton, and West Monkseaton on the former B&T Newcastle route, thus their inclusion in the list of Disused Stations. Backworth closed in 1977 and Manors North in 1978 and were not to reopen on the new Metro line (although Manors
underground station replaced Manors North, and Northumberland Park was opened in 2005 immediately south-west of the site of Backworth).

Almost all of the Newcastle – Backworth route remains as part of the Metro system. Only at the southern end has there been any significant change. A short distance north of the original Jesmond station the Metro route of 1980 curves to the south-west to enter the tunnel beneath central Newcastle and the new Jesmond station.

Click here for a list of sources and a Blyth & Tyne bibliography

Tickets from Michael Stewart except 4195 & 5524 CJ Dean  and 2568 & 0882 Brian Johnson. 1906 Bradshaw from Chris Hind, 1950 Bradshaw from Nick Catford. Street map from Ali Ford. Route map drawn by Alan Young.

See also Manors East

To see other stations on the Blyth & Tyne Railway Newcastle - Backworth line click on the station name: Newcastle New Bridge Street, Jesmond, West Jesmond*, Moor Edge, South Gosforth*, Longbenton*, Benton (1st site)*, Benton (2nd site)*, Forest Hall, Benton Square and Backworth (2nd site).

* Station reopened as part of the Tyne & Wear metro. Three other Metro stations on this line are new sites and are not included. These are Palmersville, Northumberland Park and Ilford Road.

An EMU calls at platform 1 in October 1947, bedecked in the blue and off-white livery which was replaced with malachite green in the early 1950s. In this view, looking south, the covered ramp from New Bridge Street to the main entrance can be seen; this was destroyed by fire in the early 1960s.
Copyright photo by HC Casserley

1940 1:2,500 OS Map. Manors (North) and (East) – simply described as ‘Manors Station’ - are shown at their full extent. North station’s five platforms can be seen, with glazed roofing (shown as cross-hatching) covering much of the area. The main building and its triangular forecourt are at the western margin of the station, with access from Trafalgar Street. Further entrances can also be seen: the subway from Trafalgar Street from which passengers emerged by a flight of steps to platforms 2 and 3; and the long, covered ramp immediately west of the site which led from New Bridge Street and delivered passengers to the main entrance.

Class B stopping passenger train bound for the Blyth / Newbiggin system waits at platform 3 in April 1952. 67347 is a G5 class 0-4-4 tank, built at Darlington Works in 1901 to a design by Wilson Worsdell. It entered service on the NER carrying the number 436 and was renumbered 7347 by the LNER in November 1946. Withdrawn from 54A Sunderland Shed in March 1956, it was scrapped shortly after. The tracks serving the other two bay platforms (4 and 5) are also occupied. A Coast Circle EMU is calling at platform 2 (right) en route to Newcastle (Central) direct.
Copyright photo by HC Casserley

1937 stock EMU bound for Newcastle Central (direct) at platform 2, looking north-east
from the footbridge in 1962.

One of the subways at Manors was used in the cult 1971 film 'Get Carter' . Michael Caine is seen here looking down to the station entrance at the corner of Melbourne Street and Trafalgar Street. These stairs led up to the island platform (7 & 8) and to a subway to Platform 1. The stairs have now been stripped out and a restaurant has been built in the old station entrance

On 4 July 1973 a DMU for Newcastle (direct) stands at platform 2. Although corporate identity nameplates have recently been installed the BR(NE) running-in board is still in place. The buildings and roofing in both Manors North and East remain intact, but there are signs of neglect: staff no longer maintain the flower bed beyond the nameboard
Photo by Alan Young

Manors (North) seen from platform 7 of Manors (East) in March 1977. The DMU in the distance is at platform 1 and will travel to the coast via Benton.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Flickr photostream

Looking south from New Bridge Street road bridge towards Manors North in March 1978. Several weeks after closure to passengers a DMU stands at platform 2. It is understood that the section of line from just north of Jesmond (where the Metro route diverged into its tunnel) to Manors North was temporarily being used as a turnback siding Bay platforms 3 to 5, to the left, formerly used by Blyth / Newbiggin services are without tracks.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Flickr photostream

Manors (North) in July 1978 (six months after closure) looking south along platforms 2 and 3, towards Manors (East) where the DMU can be seen at platform 7. The subway gives access to
the booking hall on platform 1.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Flickr photostream

Manors (North) looking south from New Bridge Street in December 1979. The bay platforms 4 and 5 have lost their roofing.
Photo by Alan Young

Manors (North) looking north from platform 2 in January 1980. Platform 1 is to the left. Demolition of the roofing over island platforms 2 and 3 is under way. In the background (right) New Bridge Street goods warehouse can be seen.
Photo by Alan Lewis from his Flickr photostream

Looking south from New Bridge Street. By April 1980 all of the buildings and verandahs on platforms 2 to 8 at Manors had been removed, leaving original buildings only on the disused platform 1 (right) and 9 (in the background.
Photo by Alan Young

Looking south from New Bridge Street at Manors (North) in September 1985. Demolition of the main building on platform 1 (right) is at an advanced stage.
Photo by Alan Young

In July 1991 Technopole Business Park is taking shape on the site of Manors (North) station. The southern ramps of platforms 1 (left) and 2/6 (right) are visible on this northward facing view.
Photo by Alan Young

Within Technopole Business Park, the photographer is looking north from a site in the former bay platform area of Manors North station in July 2010.
Photo by Ali Ford

Looking south at the surviving south end of platform 1 in May 2012. A disused section of former platform at Manors East is seen in the background. Manors Metro station (opened in 1982) is underground, and a new, shorter island platform on the site of platforms 7 and 8 of Manors (East) is now used by Northern Rail trains on the East Coast main line.
Photo Ali Ford

Click here for more pictures of Manors North station




[Source: Alan Young]

Last updated: Sunday, 21-May-2017 15:37:19 CEST
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