The Railway Architecture of North East England site is dedicated to the recording of the major railway buildings of North East England, primarily from the Victorian Era, and the architects responsible for designing them.   

(Please note: The site is still under construction and will evolve over the coming years)





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 North-east England was the cradle of the Railway Age. Other areas, notably South Wales, saw pioneering work in the evolution of the colliery waggonway towards what we recognise as a railway, but the North-East’s dominant role in the supply of seaborne coal to London made it essential to improve the means of transport from collieries which were being sunk well away from the coast and navigable rivers. In later years, from 1854 to 1922, the area was home to Britain’s fourth-largest railway company, the North Eastern Railway, which was a very prosperous concern, thanks to the coal and iron trades. As a result, the North East has a rich heritage of railway architecture, ranging from the early period through to World War I; after that, as in many parts of Britain, economic pressures led to a sharp decline in the amount of work being commissioned.

The North Eastern Railway proved fortunate in that its Engineer in Chief, Thomas Elliot Harrison, was a man of vision and taste, who remained active until his death in 1888. He set up an Architect’s Department within the railway, and notable works such as York station (1877) and Darlington (1887) represent a collaboration between him and successive Chief Architects: Thomas Prosser at York and William Bell at Darlington. The department itself lasted until 1995, latterly as British Rail’s Architecture & Design Group, and important later works include the remodelling of London’s Liverpool Street station in the nineteen-eighties.

The site webmaster is Dr. Bill Fawcett, who has written extensively on railway architecture and whose books include:-




New Title from 2015

Railway Architecture by Bill Fawcett.

Shire Books. (ISBN 978 0 74781 445 0)


£7.95 from UK bookshops.




title page image


North Eastern Railway Architecture, Volume 1: The Pioneers, by Bill Fawcett, North Eastern Railway Association, 2001. (ISBN 13: 9781873513347)

North Eastern Railway Architecture, Volume 2: A Mature Art, by Bill Fawcett, North Eastern Railway Association, 2004. (ISBN 13: 9781873513484)

North Eastern Railway Architecture, Volume 3: Bell and Beyond, by Bill Fawcett, North Eastern Railway Association, 2005. (ISBN 13: 9781873513576)

George Townsend Andrews of York: 'The Railway Architect', by Bill Fawcett, Yorkshire Architectural & York Archaeological Society and North Eastern Railway Association, 2011, (ISBN 9781873513767)

A History of the Newcastle & Carlisle Railway, 1824 - 1870, by Bill Fawcett, North Eastern Railway Association, August 2008 (ISBN 13: 9781873513699)

The High Level Bridge and Newcastle Central Station by John Addyman and Bill Fawcett, North Eastern Railway Association, 2000.  (ISBN 13: 9781873513286 )

All the above are available from the North Eastern Railway Association ( ) and other specialist booksellers.

Other publications:-

History of the York - Scarborough Railway  by Bill Fawcett, Beverley, UK: Hutton Press, 1995.

The North Eastern Railway's Two Palaces of Business 1906 to 2006, [an account of the two principal works of the architect Horace Field] by Bill Fawcett with illustrations by Patrick Howat. York: Friends of the National Railway Museum, 2006.






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© W. Fawcett, 2011