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  Arthur Pollard

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Arthur Pollard served as the second man in the NER Architect's department, effectively office manager under William Bell, from 1879. In 1902 he was designated Assistant Architect, a title upgraded to Deputy Architect in July 1914 in the run up to Bell's retirement at the end of the year. The two men enjoyed a long and cordial relationship, with Bell finally appointing 'my friend Arthur Pollard' one of his executors. Pollard succeeded as NER Architect from the start of 1915 and saw the company through to the end of 1921, retiring at the age of 70, when it was remarked that he had 'an unrivalled knowledge of the inter-working of the architect's and other departments of the company and was always popular among his fellow officers.'This resumé makes him sound like a career manager, but it is worth noting that he began very much as a designer.

Pollard was born on 7 July 1851 at Bradgate, on the west edge of Rotherham, to Ellis Pollard, a furnaceman, and his wife Emma Thornsby. His initial training and experience was in private practice, in Leeds and Harrogate. He joined the NER in 1873 and William Peachey's office reorganisation, three years later, saw Pollard, at 25, become the most highly-paid of their draughtsmen. The NER economy drive of the late seventies brought the departure in August 1879 of William Bell's two most senior staff, the supervisors William Brown and Robert Liddle, whereupon Pollard took general charge of the staff.

Pollard's contribution to individual designs is unknown, though he is credited with involvement in the new Monkseaton Station, completed at the end of 1914 but not opened until the following year. This shows a trend towards simplification and cost-cutting in platform roofing, with the employment of steel joists, with facing plates, in place of the cast-iron columns used hitherto.


Much of Pollard's term as Chief Architect was occupied by work relating to the war effort, for which he received a gratuity of £500 in 1920; other senior officers, such as A.C. Stamer, who ran the Locomotive Department in the absence of Sir Vincent Raven, were given the same. A salary comparison is revealing: Stamer earned £1,750 p.a. and Pollard only £250 less.

After World War I, Pollard was engaged on a major project in Darlington: the development of the new Faverdale Wagon Works, with construction beginning in 1920 and being completed in 1923 under his successor, Stephen Wilkinson. On a smaller scale, he was responsible for Gosforth Car Sheds, designed to house the Tyneside electric trains. Also completed in 1923, these made ingenious use of recycled roof trusses from a wartime submarine shed. A more elegant work is the Darlington District Passenger Superintendent's Office. This stands at the south-west corner of Bank Top Station, whose proximity may have dictated a well-mannered design, respecting pre-war conventions in its employment of canted bays, Georgian sashes and a modillioned timber eaves cornice.

Arthur Pollard was involved in architectural circles outside the railway, and in 1884-6 he served the first of three terms as president of what would become the York & East Yorkshire Architectural Society. He had married Fanny Cooper and their son, Ernest Arthur Pollard, was born in February 1871, but Fanny died just eight years later, aged 28. Her mother then joined the household, to look after young Ernest. He followed his father in entering the NER Office and becoming a stalwart of the York & East Yorkshire Architectural Society, serving as vice president and treasurer. Arthur retired to Scarborough, where he died on 20 January 1841. Ernest outlived him by a mere six months, dying on 15 July, aged seventy.   







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© W. Fawcett, 2011