This is your stop for the historical records and archive material relating to this interesting country railway station on the York to Scarborough railway line in North Yorkshire. The importance of this station wasn’t from serving a large town or city, but from its association with one of England’s most magnificent stately homes, from which it derived its name.
The story starts over 160 years ago, during the revolution in rail transportation, when the rapidly growing railway network in Britain reached toward the North Yorkshire coast. In order to build the new line, the York and North Midland Railway company had to secure land that passed through the extensive Castle Howard estate. Maybe it was in gratitude to the land owner, the Earl of Carlisle, or perhaps with some foresight into the social standing of some of the future passengers that would use it, that the great architect, George Townsend Andrews, paid special attention to the grand design of the building to ensure it was the most impressive and imposing station on the line.
From its opening in 1845, Castle Howard Station served the travelling needs of the general public, the nobility, and even royalty, when in 1850 the young Queen Victoria and Prince Albert visited Castle Howard. This was an event of huge importance to the people of Yorkshire and a great honour for the railway company to undertake.
As well as the transportation of people, the freight siding was invaluable for outward movement of produce from the estate and surrounding farms, and also as a means to receive art and objects of great value from London, to enlarge the Howard family’s already impressive collections. Among the largest of these consignments to arrive by train was the great Atlas Fountain. It was transported from the site of the Great Exhibition in London to its present showpiece position in the grounds of Castle Howard.
In later years it was the popularity of Scarborough as a seaside destination, that brought far greater numbers of passengers from northern cities and beyond to the coastal resorts. The only way to provide more frequent and faster express trains was to close all but a small number of stations on the route, and so in 1930 all regular passenger services ceased at Castle Howard Station. The station continued to function for modest freight movement and parcel services for almost another 30 years until it finally entered into a period of disuse and neglect.
The Station was sold in 1964 by the British Railways Board, but it wasn’t until the late 1970s that the subsequent owners started the urgently-needed restoration work to retain the fabric of the building. Since 1986, the present occupier, local veterinary surgeon Edmund Collins, has further restored the grade II listed building and preserved many of its historical features. One day Edmund was treating an animal owned by a local resident, who happened to mention that the original Castle Howard Station sign from the late 19th century lay abandoned in one of his out buildings. The gentlemen reached an agreement, and the sign was reunited with the station property, where today it can be seen from passing trains.
Edmund has a great a passion to learn more about the Station’s past, and has accumulated a large collection of books, newspaper clippings and photographs. Now, for the first time, the historical archive has been made available through this online resource, to anyone who has an interest in the subject. While there is much fascination from railway enthusiasts, the information has been presented in a form which should broaden its appeal to a wider audience whose interests extend from architecture to social history and beyond.
This website is not the final result, but is an ongoing project, aimed to gain an even greater insight into the history of the station, the people who worked for the railway, the passengers who travelled on the line, and, in addition, the recollections of local residents or visitors who remember the station’s past.
If you have a related story to tell, or possess documents, photographs or even artifacts that you think might interest visitors to this site, your contributions would be enthusiastically received. Alternatively, if you have a question about Castle Howard Station, out of mild curiosity, for academic research or even an enquiry from the media, the site co-ordinator will gladly attempt to provide the information you seek. Although Castle Howard Station is a private home and not open to the public, if you have a special interest in the building please make your interest known, as invitations will be issued for special visitor open days planned for the future.
With respect and immense gratitude to contributors to this online project, the ‘Acknowledgements and Links’ page gives recognition to all the individuals and organisations who have helped build this historic record. Although every attempt has been made to identify and credit originators of text and images, some items simply have no record of source. If you can provide information to identify the creators or publishers of such material, your input would be most welcome. The majority of new text and illustrations created during the production of this site are made available for re-publication under the Creative Commons license to expand knowledge, and not for profit.
Please direct all initial contact and enquiries by e-mail, or post to the website co-ordinator:
Castle Howard Station Road
Website design by Shoepepper
© 2009 E. Collins
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Subject matter related to railway history on the York to Scarborough line in Ryedale, North Yorkshire in the United Kingdom.