Glendon & Rushton Station
A Brief History

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Glendon and Rushton, as the station was known, is located 75 1/2 miles from London St. Pancras on the Midland Main Line. It was opened by the Midland Railway company in 1857, as one of the stations on its new line from Leicester to Hitchin.

The Midland Railway was a relatively latecomer to London, and since its formation in 1844, had relied on running rights over other company’s lines to reach the capital. In 1847, the company obtained permission for its own independent route into London, but allowed this to lapse. It was only after a proposed merger with the London & North Western Railway (whose tracks it made use of to run into London Euston) was vetoed by Parliament in 1853 that the Midland obtained permission to build a line from Leicester to join with the Great Northern at Hitchin. The Midland, still having no independent line of its own into London, obtained running rights over the lines of the Great Northern into Kings Cross. It was not until eleven years later in 1868 that the Midland Railway finally opened its own terminus in London at St. Pancras.

Rushton station opened first to goods on 15 April 1857 and then to passengers on 8 May. It was one of twelve stations built to a design created by Midland Railway architect C.H. Driver – although no two were exactly alike and only two were built from stone – Rushton (limestone) and Desborough (ironstone). The other stations of this design were at Great Glen (now a private house), Kibworth (now empty having previously been used as industrial premises), Kettering (demolished in 1892 when the present brick building was built), Wellingborough (a larger version still in use), Finedon (now demolished), Sharnbrook (now demolished, but the goods shed remains), Oakley (station master’s house and goods shed remain and are used as business premises), Cardington (current use unknown), Southill (beautifully restored as a private house) and Henlow (now demolished).

In 1854 the owners of Rushton Hall sold land to the Midland Railway to enable the construction of a station, goods yard and railway cottages. The deeds stipulated that no alcohol could be sold from the premises unless written permission was obtained from William Williams Hope, his heirs or any future owner of Rushton Hall. This covenant still stands to the present day! Although at that time even the most obscure of places often had their own station, it was the norm for a station to be opened if there was the presence of a hall. In 1896, the station became known as Glendon & Rushton, presumably as an acknowledgement that it also served the nearby hamlet of Glendon (which also had a hall) and to distinguish it from Rushden. The present day confusion often encountered between Rushton and Rushden is therefore nothing new!

According to Bradshaw’s 1922 timetable, sixteen trains per day called at Glendon & Rushton, eight in each direction. The trains however only ran from Monday to Saturday, the station having lost its Sunday service the previous year in 1921. From 4 January 1960, passenger services ceased altogether, although goods traffic continued for a further five years.

The station remained the property of the British Railways Board until it was sold in August 1987 to Mr. Richard Walter Bee who hoped to develop the site. Ownership then passed to Springfir Estates who constructed some houses in the station yard, resulting in the sad loss of the goods shed. Following the sudden demise of Springfir, the site was bought by businessman, Mr. Michael Harris on 17 December 2004 for £410 000, officially assuming the title as owner on 17 February 2005. In June 2006 the housing development was sold at auction to Sebright Homes of London, whilst Mr. Harris retained the station and the small triangle of land in front of it.

Rushton station was awarded Grade II listed status on 5 May 1981, and although the family of Mr. J.A. Beswick, the last stationmaster there continued to occupy the building as statutory tenants, it was not prevented from falling into a serious state of disrepair. Having had no maintenance since its closure to passengers fifty years ago, the fabric of the building has started to crumble. Ivy, trees and other plants have attacked the stonework. The old stationmaster’s house has been vandalised and suffers from serious damp problems. The roof on the former waiting shelter has collapsed and some of the floors are missing. An estimated £500 000 is needed to repair and restore the station to its original condition, which is more than twice the building is worth.

In July 2006, the last member of the Beswick family moved out, leaving the property vacant. Mr. Harris planned to develop it and convert it into three properties, but was denied planning permission. He successfully obtained permission in November 2008 to convert it into two properties, but considered this not to be financially viable, particularly in the current economic climate.

In June 2008, we contacted Mr. Harris about the possible purchase of the station, although at a sale price of £250 000, it was a lot of money to find at that stage. It was shortly after this that we started looking after the station by getting it boarded up and properly secured, and then tidied, with efforts being made to stop any further structural deterioration. Finally, in November 2009 a group called the Friends of Glendon & Rushton Station was formed, with the aim of restoring the building and ensuring its survival for future generations to enjoy. Amazingly the station has changed little since it was built, and thus retains much character and many original features, all of which will be preserved. At first we were renting the building, but are now concentrating on raising the money required to buy it. The plan is to restore the waiting rooms and booking office to their original condition and re-create a Victorian railway station which will be opened to the public. The stationmaster’s house will have museum display areas, a cafe and a shop.

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