When Horsted Keynes Station was built in 1882, the London, Brighton and South Coast Railway erected two identical sets of buildings and canopies on Platforms 1/2 and Platforms 3/4. Those on Platforms 1/2 were demolished (and the North signalbox taken out of use) in 1914 as an economy measure, and not replaced even when electric trains arrived in 1935.
The Bluebell Railway's volunteer staff at Horsted Keynes decided to restore the buildings for the benefit of passengers using this platform, and the first step was made nearly thirty years ago with twelve columns around the subway. Re-starting in 1992, we constructed a steel cage and re-erected the remaining columns and brackets, most of which were salvaged from Hassocks and Lavant stations when they were demolished. On top of the iron and steel work we constructed the beams and rafters, and on top of them laid zinc sheeting. Almost all of this was new.
Phases I and II (the canopy itself) are complete, and we are well advanced with Phase III (the building). The first room is that north of the northern chimney, which will be used as a permanent exhibition of museum items for which there is no space at Sheffield Park. The second room, between the chimneys, is furnished as a waiting room, and will be used for a changing series of exhibitions of various types.
The Canopy Team, Topping Out the first chimney, October 10th 2000
The first room corresponds to the area occupied on Platforms 3 and 4 by the gents', ladies', and ladies' waiting room, but is all one large room, since the Building Inspector would not allow re-instatement of lavatories sharing drainage with the surface water. This is what applies on the rest of the station, and had been the case here also.
In order to replicate (as viewed from the exterior) what was built in 1882, we have used a mixture of small and large windows at differing heights. Those on Platform 2 match those on Platform 3, but on Platform 1 we have not put back the louvres to match those on Platform 4 (the buildings were mirror-images), but have instead fitted similar windows to those on Platform 2. The doors, however, are in the same places, on Platform 1 and at the north end, but that at the end is outward-opening as a means of escape. We are most grateful to Sheina Foulkes who rescued an LBSC door from Kingscote in the early days there and kept it "in case it came in useful" - it has!
The interior contains a small LBSC fireplace - thanks to Chris Knibbs, who put us in touch with members Mr. and Mrs. Favell of Cowfold, who had rescued it from Isfield. The larger (ex S&T) one from Barcombe Mills is fitted in the second room with an insert from an architectural salvage firm. We have installed in all rooms S.R. enamel lampshades, courtesy of Graham Burtenshaw, who rescued them from Stewarts Lane. Electricity for lighting and background heating is expected to be installed in the near future. No fireplaces have been installed in the southern chimney stack, matching the position on Platforms 3/4.
The southernmost room, with cellar below, is largely complete, and we are making good progress with external mouldings. There are only two problems yet to solve - the level of the tarmac surrounding the building, which is very variable and will need extensive work, and the cost of the stained glass windows for the doors. Donations are still welcome, therefore, Gift-Aided for taxpayers. Please contact Robin Elliott at Horsted Keynes Station, RH17 7BB if you can help to complete this long-term project.
Completed north end of the canopy, with the new structure for the first phase of the building in place - March 2002
Completed north end with the first phase of the building - March 2003
Floor joists and the start of the walls of the second section of the building - March 2003
Progress with the second, central, phase of the building - nearly complete, November 2003
Robert Hayward's photo of Robin Elliott and Ted Anderson was taken following the presentation to the Bluebell Railway Preservation Society of a FirstGroup Skills Award Runners-up certificate at the National Railway Heritage Awards, in relation to the reconstruction of Horsted Keynes Station Platform 1 & 2 buildings.
Particular praise was given to the high level of workmanship and the care taken to ensure that the materials used in this new building accurately replicate the original construction appearance in keeping with the adjoining buildings on Platforms 3 & 4. Robin Elliott and Ted Anderson accepted the award on behalf of the Society; the presentation being made by Paul Atterbury (of Antiques Road Show fame) on Wednesday 3rd December 2008 at Merchant Taylor's Hall in the City of London.
The overall winner of this particular award was for the restoration and refurbishment of the High Level Railway Bridge across the River Tyne between Gateshead and Newcastle; a significantly larger project and was won by Network Rail jointly with May Gurney and Mott McDonald.
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This page last updated on 4th June 2005
by Robin Elliott, and 6 December 2008 by Richard Salmon
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