6. Level Crossing/GWR Shed

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OS Map of Bridge Street Level Crossing in 1924

This was the site of a level crossing and footbridge where the railway crossed the road. You can see the remains of the line which carried on into Bridge Street Station and Castle Station. This is part of Northampton’s earliest railway, built in 1845 to connect the town to the Birmingham to London Line and Peterborough.

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Bridge Street Crossing looking east, c1960. (Photograph Richard Gennis)
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The footbridge over the level Crossing on the western side of the road, c.1960s.

Although the station here at Bridge Street was closed in 1964 trains ran along this level crossing until 2005. Unfortunately the signal box was destroyed by arsonists in 2006.


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The engine shed you can see to the west of the level crossing site was built by the London Great Western Railway in 1885 to replace an earlier shed, which collapsed. The shed is currently still being used by Railtrack as a depot. Although it doesn’t look much from the street, a view of the shed to the rear shows it still retains much of its original character.

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The rear of the Bridge Street Shed.

 


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The cottage next to the crossing, which is still distinguished by a sign marking Cotton End, also belonged to the railway. It was the Horsekeepers House, behind which was located the railway stables for all the dray horses. Before the growth of motorised transport from the 1920s onwards, horse and cart was the only way to deliver goods from the warehouse into town. The Midland Railway therefore had a large number of drays to maintain. By the 1940s drays had been largely replaced by vans, and some of the stables were replaced with a garage.

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A land plan from around 1900 shows the extensive stable complex next to Bridge Street complex