Martin Mill

 

The Dover & Deal Joint Line was one of few instances which saw the cooperation between the county's two frenetic rivals: the SER and LC&DR. The line was opened on 15th June 1881 and it is apparent that the stations along the route were crafted by the SER, there being nothing of LC&DR design in evidence. Martin Mill was one of two intermediate stations built between the named locations, wholly of SER design, featuring two platforms directly opposite each other either side of the double-track (not the typical staggered SER arrangement on this occasion). The main building here was single-storey and situated on the ''down'' side, but what is peculiar about the station (and, indeed, Walmer) is that it is brick-built. The line opened in the thick of the SER's policy of providing ''economical'' clapboard structures for stations, the company's Dartford Loop Line having already been subject to this, and the Bexleyheath Line later followed to this ''rule'' in 1895. A further anomaly were the waiting facilities on the ''up'' side. Usually, these would only have been constituted of a wooden timber shelter (especially for a station of its size and in light of the period in which it was built), but once again a single-storey brick-built building - approximately a third of the size of the main ''down'' side structure - was in evidence. Both ''up'' and ''down'' side structures featured a pitched roof and were complemented by the distinctive SER arched roof platform canopies (examples of which still exist at Paddock Wood). The platforms were linked by a subway at their northern end, the entrances of which were also typical SER architecture, featuring a brick base protected by a curved roof on pillars.

 

Goods facilities here were spacious for a station of its size. These trailed off the ''down'' line, to the south of the platforms, and the single-track goods shed and additional siding were situated at forty-five degrees to the running lines. It is possible that the sidings were arranged in such a fashion in order to lie close to the ''Martin Windmill Corn Factory'', which presumably provided most of the revenue-earning freight traffic here. Coal would also have been a commodity dealt with here, destined for the village the station purported to serve, which was situated approximately half a mile away. The goods building was not the only shed in the immediate vicinity; the second, situated to the south of the platforms, beyond the bridge, was in fact a locomotive shed. This served a single-track branch opened for private contractors S. Pearson & Son, whom had been awarded the contract in April 1898 to build a new Admiralty Harbour at Dover, plans of which had been finalised in September of the previous year. The building task of erecting three breakwaters took over a decade to undertake, completion not coming until 1909. The branch was standard gauge and had a connection with the SE&CR line here, going out of use on commissioning of the harbour, but the track remained in situ for nearly three more decades. The line's lifting occurred only for it to be relayed again a few years later in response to World War II!

 

The years of decline, or rather, ''economising'', started fairly early at this station, with the signal box on the ''up'' side, to the south of the platforms going out of use in October 1934. Its functions were transferred to the main station building, where a lever frame was installed within the booking office and a porch added to the building's platform-side façade to afford the signalman a view of the layout. With the incorporation of the signal cabin within the station, the signalman was now multitasking, selling tickets and providing a post office service, in addition to operating the levers! Goods facilities here were not officially withdrawn until over twenty-five years later, closure eventually coming in September 1961. The following year saw the commencement of the all electric timetable, this coming into use on 18th June 1962 as part of the Kent Coast Electrification Scheme's ''Phase 2''. As part of this, the platforms received concrete extensions at their southern ends. Retrograde steps were taken in the 1980s; these included the demolition of the brick waiting room on the ''up'' side, leaving just part of the retaining wall and the subway entrance, and the replacement of the main ''down'' side building's canopy with a featureless corrugated metal fabrication, utilising the original pillars. The subway entrances saw their curved roofs removed and replaced by downward sloping types, whilst waiting accommodation on the ''up'' side now merely consisted of a glazed bus shelter. Finally, on 12th April 1998, semaphore signals went out of use between Dover and Deal on commissioning of colour aspect lights, and the diminutive signal box here was closed, control transferring to the SR-designed ''glasshouse'' at Deal. 

 


12th February 2005

 

Martin Mill

A northward view from 12th February 2005 reveals the original station building, but now with a canopy

of 1970s origins. Note the subway entrance beyond the canopy struts, which now has a downward sloping

roof. The wall on the extreme left is part of the original ''up'' buildings which have now succumbed. The

former cabin of the signalman's can just be picked out emerging underneath the canopy, with white window

frames. David Glasspool

 


12th February 2005

 

Martin Mill

A southward view from 12th February 2005 reveals both subway entrances, the ''up'' side glazed bus

shelter and the main station building. Those railings on the right are original 1881 features. David Glasspool

 


 

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