Station Name: STANMORE VILLAGE

 

[Source: Nick Catford]


Date opened: 18.12.1890
Location: South side of Gordon Avenue near the junction with Old Church Lane
Company on opening: London & North Western Railway
Date closed to passengers: 15.9.1952
Date closed completely: 6.7.1964
Company on closing: British Railways (Midland region)
Present state: The main station building has been converted into a house but has been heavily altered so that it is barely recognisabe. The remainder of the station site and goods yard has been demolished to make way for a housing development.
County: Middlesex
OS Grid Ref: TQ169918
Date of visit: December 1967, February 1968, June 1968, August 1968. March 1969, December 1973, April 1981 & April 2007

Notes: Stanmore Station was sited about 1/4 mile from the village centre and was deigned to blend it with is affluent surroundings. The main station building consisted of a brick and tile building with freestone embellishments resembling a small gothic country church. Its principal feature was a square tower with a spire, stone-faced clock and buttressed portico. The station had a single platform 310ft in length, protected for most of its length by a cast-iron and glass awning supported by stanchions bearing the arms of the Gordon family; the platform was later shortened to 220 feet. Facing the platform was a locomotive run-round road; behind it, on the east side, a goods shed and four sidings. Other structures in the goods yard included a goods office, weighbridge and office, bicycle shed, loading bay and two banks of coal staiths

The station was renamed Stanmore Village on 25th September 1950 to avoid confusion with the Bakerloo Line (London Transport) station of the same name. After closure to passengers in 1952 the station remained open for freight traffic with a daily freight train although by this time the goods shed had become a banana warehouse and bananas and coal were the only freight traffic handled at the station.

A number of films were made at Stanmore including 'The Gold Express' in 1954 and a BBC television play, 'The Sun and I' in 1955 and for this the station was renamed 'Harley'. On 26th April 1959, the Harrow Sub-Division of the Middlesex Division of the Civil Defence Corps staged exercise 'Rocket' at the station. The exercise was based on the idea that a nuclear bomb had exploded at Chingford and Harrow was in the badly damaged area. A train 'passing through' Stanmore had been affected by the blast and there were 80 casualties in the three coaches. the exercise was staged on the loop road opposite the passenger platform.

After closure to freight traffic, the last train left Stanmore Village on 21st August 1964 loaded with asbestos cable dusts that had been stored at the station. For a short time after closure the station was used by a potato merchant but once he left the station began to deteriorate quickly; the goods shed, bicycle shed and another storage building in the goods yard were all badly damaged by fire

In April 1967 a local committee was formed to look into the possibility of renovating the station as a visual arts centre and railway museum. Some maintenance work was carried out but despite newly erected 'no trespassing' signs and regular inspections the vandalism continued and when Harrow Council failed to offer its support the committee was disbanded. In 1969 the site was sold to a local developer. Efforts to get a preservation order on the station building failed and although its shell was retained although it now bears little resemblance to the former station. The booking office and ladies waiting room was converted into three garages with a single bedroom flat built into the new roof. The remainder of the station and goods were cleared in July 1970 to make way for a new housing development.

On 27th September 1975 a plaque with the inscription 'Harrow & Stanmore Railway, 1890 - 1964' was fixed to the front of the building.

BRIEF HISTORY OF THE HARROW & WEALDSTONE - STANMORE BRANCH

With a population of only 1,400 and three stations within easy reach there was little demand for a branch line to Stanmore.  London hotel owner Fredrick Gordon acquired the Bentley Priory estate in 1882 with the intention of converting it into a country retreat and resort for his London hotel guests. To bring customers to his new 'resort', Gordon resurrected an earlier failed proposal to bring a railway to Stanmore by proposing his own Harrow and Stanmore Railway Bill; his line was authorised in 1886.

After failing to raise sufficient capital, Gordon proposed a second Bill in 1887 for a shorter 2 1/8 mile route from a junction with the London & North Western Railway at Harrow & Wealdstone to a terminus at Stanmore. By a further Act in 1891 the LNWR agreed to work the short branch with the Harrow & Stanmore Railway building and maintaining a single track line with a passenger and goods station at Stanmore and interchange sidings at Harrow. The act also allowed for an intermediate station if requested by the LNWR. After one year the LNWR agreed to take over maintenance and repair of the line.

The H & SR was sold to the LNWR under 'The LNWR (Additional Powers) Act’ of 1st July 1899 before the line was completed with the first train running on 18.12.1890. The first timetable shows ten down and nine up trains Mondays to Fridays with one extra train on Saturdays. There were no Sunday trains as part of the initial deal secured by Fredrick Gordon.

In 1912 Harrow & Wealdstone Station was rebuilt as part of the LNWR widening and suburban electrification scheme. The branches from Watford to Croxley Green and Rickmansworth were both electrified but because of the position of the junction the Stanmore branch was not included which, in the long run, led to the demise of the line after the Metropolitan Railway (now the Jubilee line) opened their line to Stanmore on 10th December 1932 once urban development reached the area.

Gordon's hopes for the line failed to materialise and traffic was always light.  Although there was some early development around the station the branch ran through open countryside until the 1920's. Gordon's Bentley Priory scheme was not a success and Bentley Priory eventually became a girls' school.  Passenger traffic was further depleted after 1913 when the first motor busses arrived in the area. In 1923 the LNWR and with it the Stanmore branch were vested into the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS)

Passenger numbers improved in the 1930's when urban development finally reached the area between Harrow and Stanmore.  To cater for this, the LMSR opened a wooden halt at Belmont on 12 September 1932, on the site of the former Kenton Lane siding, to serve a planned housing estate. Although the Metropolitan line from Wembley Park reached Stanmore shortly after
Belmont opened fares were cheaper from Belmont and the new station attracted commuters.  A Sunday service was introduced in 1934 and in order to cater for the added demand, Belmont was rebuilt in 1937. In 1938 the service had increased to 71 trains in each direction on weekdays with a ten minute interval during rush hours. Freight traffic also improved; with the ongoing urban development there was a demand for large quantities of bricks which were delivered to the yard at Stanmore and eventually a temporary siding was laid at Belmont to cater for some of this traffic.

The branch survived WW2 with only a short disruption to the service when a bomb left a crater near the track. In 1946 there was a fuel shortage and the Sunday service which had initially been very popular was temporarily suspended. When it was reinstated most passengers had found alternative means of transport and never returned to the railway so the Sunday service was permanently withdrawn from 27 July 1947.  Although Belmont remained busy and was now the principal station on the line few passengers used the terminus at Stanmore and in 1952 the average daily usage was only 700 so it came as no surprise when BR announced closure of the branch which was making an annual loss of £4000.   There was a robust campaign by residents of Belmont to keep their section of the line open; this was successful and from 15th September 1952 the passenger service was cut back to Belmont.  Stanmore remained open being served by a daily freight train.

Diesel Multiple Units began operating the Belmont service on 15th March 1954 when British Railways' experimental ACV diesel railcar was transferred from the St. Albans Abbey branch but it returned to St. Albans the following year and steam returned to Belmont.  During the next seven years the line was worked intermittently by a variety of steam locomotives
and DMU’s with the last steam service running on 15th December 1962.  Off peak travel to Belmont became very light in the late 1950's while rush hour traffic remained heavy with some trains carrying up to 100 passengers in 1958; most of this was commuter traffic into London. Despite the lines continued popularity with commuters the branch was listed for closure in Dr Beeching's Reshaping of British Railways in 1963 as it was uneconomical to keep it open. No attempt was made to save costs on the line but there was a vigorous local campaign to keep the line open but to no avail with the line closing on 5th October 1964. To coincide with the closure of the passenger service to Belmont the freight service to Stanmore was withdrawn from 6th July 1964 and track lifting north of Belmont started in mid-September that year.

After closure a local campaign to reopen the line was started and this was considered by the Minister of Transport six months after closure and again in 1965 but the Minister decided "there is no economic or social justification for reopening the line".

The first few chains out of Harrow were retained until 1968 as a headshunt for the Harrow goods yard and a test track for tamping machines. On 9th June 1965 the branch came back to life for one day when it was used by the BBC for an episode of 'The Londoners' TV series with a two car train shuttling up and down the branch all day.  Only one other train went beyond the 1/4 mile post when a weed killing train visited the branch on 25th June 1965.

Track lifting beyond the retained siding took place in January 1966 and the remaining siding was lifted at the end of 1968.

Despite a campaign in 1967 to renovate Stanmore Station as an arts centre and railway museum the station site was sold to a local property developer in 1969 while Harrow Council bought the remainder of the track bed much of it has now been developed although the central section of the branch is now a public footpath between Christchurch Road through Belmont to Wolverton Road.   

Other web sites: Abandoned Tube Stations & Dewi's Trains, Trams & Trolleybusses

Source: London's Local Railways by Alan A. Jackson - Published by David & Charles - 1978 & (2nd edition) 1999 - ISBN 0 7153 7479 6.
Harrow & Stanmore Railway by Peter G. Scott - Hartest Productions 1972 and (2nd edition) 1981 ISBN 0 9506469 1 1. Tickets from Brian Halford   

Further reading: The Stanmore Village Branch - A photographic journey by I. Baker & J.E. Connor - 1998 Connor & Butler ISBN 978-0-947699-26-0

To see other stations on the Stanmore branch click on the station name:
Harrow & Wealdstone
& Belmont




Stanmore Station in c.1900
Copyright photo from John Alsop collection



Stanmore Village Station in c.1950
Copyright photo from John Alsop collec
tion


    Stanmore Village Station in c.1957 - 5 years after closure to passengers. the goods
                                                                  depot alongside was still open at this date.
                                                                                          Photo by Dr. Neil Clifton


Stanmore Village Station in June 1968
Photo by Nick Catford


The much altered station building at Stanmore Village in April 2007
Photo by Nick Catford


Click here for more pictures of Stanmore Village Station

[Source: Nick Catford]


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