Railway station’s award in place at last
A delegation from the National Railway Heritage Awards panel pulled into Morpeth Railway Station to present an award that the project team could not pick up at a ceremony due to Covid-19 restrictions.
The Conservation Category winner plaque recognises the high-quality work that was carried out to give the old Victorian station a new lease of life.
Led by the awards panel chairman Theo Steel, the delegation was hosted by Greater Morpeth Development Trust (GMDT) – the organisation was the driving force behind the project to transform the rundown main building into a smart modern terminal, as well as creating space for a modern ticket office, café, taxi office and room for seven small businesses to base themselves at the station.
The trust worked with a partnership team of the National Lottery Heritage Enterprise Fund, the Railway Heritage Trust, Northumberland County Council, Network Rail and Northern Rail to sympathetically complete the restoration, repair and renovation work in line with the original design of the station by the renowned pioneering railway architect Benjamin Green.
The Grade II-listed facility welcomed its first trains as long ago as 1847 and the judges for what are called the ‘Oscars’ of railway heritage praised the efforts made to retain as many of the original features of the station as possible, including its very tall chimneys, along with the Victorian character and style of the building.
Mr Steel said he was delighted to be able to travel to Morpeth to see for himself the quality of the work that had been done to safeguard the history and heritage of the station, at the same time as making it a modern facility for today’s rail travellers, as well as creating much-needed office space for small businesses in the town.
GMDT’s newly-appointed chairman, Mike Willis, praised the work of the partnership team led by his predecessor Doug Phillips and now retired chief executive, David Lodge, for what he called the “amazing job” that has been done at Morpeth Railway Station.
He added: “Morpeth can once again be as justifiably proud of its railway station as it was when it was first opened very nearly 175 years ago.”