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  Redcar Old Station

Redcar Old Station was opened on 3 June 1846 by the Middlesbrough & Redcar Railway and designed by their architect, John Middleton. The single-platform trainshed was a smaller edition of his Middlesbrough station, built of Roche Abbey limestone, in contrast to Middlesbrough's buff firebrick, with stately tripartite openings in the end wall and a main entrance dignified by a handsomely bowed Ionic porch. The terminus lay much closer to the coast than the present station, and was accompanied by a Grand Promenade Room, which would have offered fine views out to sea. Unhappily, this was consumed by fire on 2 October 1847 and the railway's initial intention of rebuilding it was never carried out.


Perspective sketch of the first Redcar Station, based on early photographs


From 19 August 1861 regular services were diverted into a new station, serving the extension to Saltburn, although the old one continued for a time to handle excursion trains. Eventually, the tracks were removed from its approach route, this being a prime development site. The trainshed was floored over between the platforms and let as a promenade room, later opening as a public hall: the Central Hall. In 1909 it became the venue for an early cinema: the Central Electric Theatre, a contemporary photograph of which appears in G.J. Mellor's Picture Pioneers (Frank Graham, 1971). This shows the office facade still in its original state.

Though the office range was gradually colonised by shops, it retained much of its former elegance, while the trainshed continued its afterlife as the Central Picture House. Fire, the bane of the celluloid film era, eventually gutted the trainshed, which was reborn as a brick barn with a white faience frontage tacked on the end. Even then, the old office range survived, though latterly bereft of its portico. The whole lot was destroyed in the nineteen-sixties to make way for a rather joyless office and shop development known as Craigton House.


A current view of the site of John Middleton's Redcar Old Station, with the King Edward VII memorial clocktower in the foreground. The left-hand portion of the sixties' development corresponds to the location of his office range; the remainder occupies the trainshed frontage.





© W. Fawcett, 2011