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  Brotton Station

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Brotton and Loftus stations were mirror images of one another and situated on a line from Saltburn to Loftus, which received its passenger service in April 1875, though opened earlier; it was later (1883) extended to Whitby. The route to Loftus was built primarily to convey local ironstone to the blast furnaces of Teesside, and was knit together from two lines, opened to mineral traffic in 1865 and 1872. Brotton and Loftus stations are distinctive works by the NER Darlington Section architect, William Peachey, who designed them in the autumn of 1872 although they greeted their first passengers on 1 April 1875. A third station on the route, Carlin How, was much less ambitious.

The route lost its passenger service in May 1960, but today handles potash trains from a mine at Boulby, three miles beyond Loftus. Carlin How station had been demolished in 1952, but the main building at Brotton survives although the waiting shed on the opposite platform has been lost; it also retains its contemporary goods shed, a characteristic Peachey design. Loftus has been demolished, save for the stationmaster's house.

Brotton Station is a tightly-knit design in which bay-windowed wings (one the two-storey station house, the other a waiting room) frame a seven-bay arcade fronting the platform waiting area. Behind this is an office range which shares a steeply-pitched roof with the waiting area or 'loggia'. A forerunner of this design is Peachey's 1867 station at Etherley in south-west Durham, which lacks the arcade but goes part way towards integrating the platform roof into the overall shape. Brotton's road frontage features a gabled two-storey porch, closely resembling the one he provided at Tow Law Station, built in 1871-2 and demolished a century later.

The striking feature of Brotton is the platform loggia, with its segmental brick arches borne on sturdy cast-iron columns of the 'barley-sugar' style. This produces a very different visual effect from his earlier designs and makes one wonder if he had been studying the Great Central Railway's new Mexborough Station, opened in 1871. That features a loggia fronted by a much broader pair of masonry arches borne on a central cast-iron column, though the two buildings differ markedly in details.

above: section E-W through the waiting area, showing its scissors-truss roof.    left: view in 1999; the arcade and ground-floor windows had been bricked up for security.


above: south gable of Brotton goods shed

left: detail of the walled-up platform loggia

The second platform at both Brotton and Loftus was provided with a small, matching pavilion comprising a 3-bay waiting loggia clasped between a pair of waiting rooms. Carlin How comprised just one such pavilion, accompanied by a detached and decidedly nondescript station house.

The pavilion design also formed the basis for Peachey's Rowley Station, built in the latter part of 1873 high up on the West Durham moors and eventually translated to Beamish Museum. The main differences from Brotton are a lengthening to include toilets at the right-hand end and the adoption of stone walls and gables with raking parapets to suit moorland traditions and weather.






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© W. Fawcett, 2011