An etching of what was believed to be the original Lichfield Trent Valley station
An etching of what was believed to be the original Lichfield Trent Valley station

An academic says new research suggests a record of the earliest train station in Lichfield could be incorrect.

Prof Chris Baker has been exploring the rail heritage of the city for his blog.

He had previously written about the “original Lichfield Trent Valley station” which came into use in 1847 to serve the London and North Western Railway, before a replacement was built in 1871 to improve connection with the South Staffordshire Railway.

Much of the information had come from research into the first stationmaster, William Durrad.

But additional research by Prof Baker has suggested an even earlier station could have been in use as Lichfield welcomed trains for the first time.

“I was browsing the 1851 census returns for Streethay and, sure enough, William Durrad and his family were there living at the railway station.

“But two pages earlier I came across an entry that refers to Richard Mooney and his extensive family.

“Richard was a gatekeeper for the Trent Valley Railway and lived at the Old Station. This was in 1851, when the railway had only been opened four years and, as far as anyone knows, the station that was built in 1847 was still in existence.

“Looking at the order in which properties are listed on the census, the location of Richard Mooney’s dwelling can be quite precisely located, and is shown on the 1848 tithe map.

“It can be seen to be where a road – the Old Burton Road – crosses the railway on a flat crossing, and thus the building shown is an ideal location for a gatekeeper’s cottage.

“If this was a station, it was in use very briefly between the opening of the railway in September 1847 and the preparation of the tithe map sometime in 1848.

“Perhaps it was a temporary arrangement – simple platforms that were in use as the main station was being completed.”

Prof Chris Baker

The later Lichfield Trent Valley station built in 1871 stood until the 1970s.

But Prof Baker said more recent developments would likely have destroyed any evidence of the earlier phases of the railway infrastructure.

“It seems to me that there is a real possibility that there was, albeit for a very short time, an earlier station than the one I described in my earlier blog post.

“Sadly, there is nothing left of it on the ground. The crossing was replaced by a narrow bridge in the early 20th Century, and this bridge was itself recently replaced by a much more substantial structure leading to the new cark park at the station.

“Any traces of the ‘old station’ would have been destroyed when the foundations of the latter were being laid.”

Prof Chris Baker

Leave a comment

Our volunteers moderated 1142 comments in the last 30 days. Say thanks with a coffee.

Please familiarise yourself with our comments policy before posting.

Your email address will not be published.