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Bridgnorth Station, Severn Valley, UK

By chris
Authentic staffordshire bricks were used to minimise impact on a sensitive heritage landscape at bridgnorth station

Planning permission and listed building consent were granted for a new Station Building at Bridgnorth to provide both refreshments and toilets on the basis that the new building was of demonstrable high quality to minimise its impact on the sensitive heritage landscape.

Bridgnorth Station itself, opened in 1862 and is the working terminus of the Severn Valley Railway (SVR) heritage railway. Lying within the Bridgnorth Conservation Area and overlooked by Pan Pudding Hill, a scheduled ancient monument, the site is a highly significant heritage asset, and all key original buildings still remain. The main Station Building is Grade II listed and since 1979, has been served by a “temporary” Portacabin Refreshment Room which has detracted from the setting of the listed Station. The new building compliments this to such a degree, it's hard to tell it's entirely new.

The new design by Robert Marrows is in the style of a typical ancillary structure of the Great Western Railway from 1910 and at a scale which remains subservient to the main listed station building. Drawing from the vernaculars of the Great Western Railway, considerable attention has been paid to external and internal details, materials and finishes.­ Oxford Architects LLP produced the planning, listed building and construction drawings in close collaboration with Robert Marrows and David Postle from the SVR heritage Railway.

The external face of the wall was built with over 25,000 Staffordshire blue, Class A, engineering bricks from Ketley Brick, which have a natural blue tone with random flecks of red and brown on the face giving an antique brindle appearance. These were carefully selected by hand in order to achieve the level of colour variation that would have been seen in this type of brick at the turn of the century. An English bond laying pattern was used. As a result of having to adapt to using insulated cavity construction, 13,000 headers were specially cut for the job.

The brick detailing creates the decorative areas of brickwork for this authentic example of early 20th Century Great Western architecture. The simple single storey structure with pitched slate roof and gable ends has four elaborate brick chimney stacks in the same brick.

Windows and doorways are defined by brick arches above and bullnose brick reveals. Corbelling beneath the eaves as well as plinths at the base of the building allow for a change in depth to the brickwork attracting shadows and adding interest and authenticity.

Considerable care was taken to select a mortar to be consistent with the 1910 GWR aesthetic, with Ty Mawr Light Blaenavon crushed aggregate was used in the cement, lime and sand mix. Inside, Ketley quarry tiles have been laid to the floors adding warmth, character and authenticity to the spaces.

The overall appearance of the building, both inside and out, is so effective, it’s hard to believe that it's all brand spanking new!

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