Shoreham


This station seems to lack the elaboration of its counterparts along the line from Swanley to Bat & Ball. The nine-mile single-track branch was built by an independent concern known as the ‘’Sevenoaks Railway’’ and opened on 2nd June 1862, Shoreham coming into use on this date. At Eynsford and Sevenoaks Bat & Ball, the main buildings had been built to incorporate accommodation for the resident Station Master, but such a practice was not employed at Shoreham. Instead, the ticket office and Station Master’s residence were built as wholly independent entities. Starting with the former, this was positioned on the ‘’down’’ side, built in red brick and one-storey high, no more spectacular in appearance than (and similar to) those structures erected by the SER at Halling and Yalding about three decades later. Arguably, the most imposing features of the building were the pair of chimneystacks. Presumably, passengers spent the duration of their waiting time within the main building if the weather was poor, for the structure lacked any form canopy; indeed, there was not even an additional waiting shelter provided on the ‘’down’’ side. A timber waiting shelter was nevertheless in evidence on Shoreham’s ‘’up’’ side, this built to the exact same style as the example at nearby Eynsford. More features which these two stations had in common were the identical metal railings which lined the outer edges of the platforms, and matching gas lamps.

 

Before moving on further, the Station Master’s house is indeed worthy of a mention. This was positioned just east of the station, alongside the entrance road, and incorporated the elegance which the main building lacked. It was built in red brick, comprising two storeys topped with a pitched roof, and had architecture on similar lines to the station buildings which later appeared at West Malling and Wrotham. The design of the windows was familiar: these demonstrated the typical ‘’arched’’ patterns used at Eynsford and, later, on the high-level building at Maidstone East.

Goods provision here could be considered as nothing more than humble: a single siding was in evidence on the ‘’down’’ side, to the north of the platforms. It served a pitched-roof goods shed, this of which reflected standard LC&DR design. However, access to the building was indirect, a reversal manoeuvre into the siding first being required. The station building’s modesty was to the extent of the goods shed rivalling it in size – in fact, the latter’s dimensions were greater in every respect. The shed even boasted the canopy that the station building never had, although this was attached on the structure’s road-side and for the benefit of goods vehicles only, not passengers! Still under LC&DR auspices, these buildings were joined by another structure, circa 1880: this was the signal box. Erected by contractor ''Saxby & Farmer'', this was of all-timber construction, complete with hipped slated roof, and could once be found at the London end of the ''up'' platform. The same company also built the cabins at the 1882-opened Otford station and the nearby Otford Junction, but the LC&DR employed its own design at Bat & Ball.

The 1923-formed Southern Railway procured a number of noticeable changes. The first to occur was in July of that year, when the suffix ‘’(Kent)’’ was added to the name boards in order to differentiate it from the station of the same name in West Sussex. Electrification in 1935 saw the commencement of an improved service on 6th January of that year and in preparation for this, the station received a prefabricated concrete footbridge (a track foot crossing having been in use before this). The ornate Victorian-styled gas lamps were also replaced at this time with concrete posts. The original metal railings lining the platforms' outer edges were, however, retained, and both platforms were lengthened at their southern ends.

 

Under British Railways, the ‘’(Kent)’’ suffix was dropped from the station name and all freight facilities were withdrawn from 7th May 1962, but unlike the goods sheds at Eynsford, Otford and Bat & Ball, Shoreham’s was occupied by a BR Tenant and was therefore spared demolition. The local coal merchant, Ashby Brothers, continued to operate from the goods yard; however, after withdrawal of the freight service they had to collect their coal from the goods yard at Bat & Ball, which continued to be served by a trip freight working from Tonbridge. During the latter part of 1963, Ashby Brothers unloaded and transferred 65 wagon loads of coal from Bat & Ball for which they received a payment of 4 shillings per ton from BR to offset their additional costs. Despite a gradual decline in the demand for coal, Ashby Brothers continued to receive their supplies via Bat & Ball, with no less than 165 wagons conveying 1,969 tons being unloaded during 1966. Upon final withdrawal of freight facilities at Bat & Ball from 25th March 1968, the Ashby's traffic continued to be handled via the coal yard at Sevenoaks, albeit in ever decreasing volumes. The goods shed continued to be leased commercially and for a number of years it was occupied by a local building contractor, T P Bohan Ltd – in 2014, it was still occupied and remained in good condition.

During the 1970s, the SR concrete platform lampposts were replaced with metal equivalents. On 21st February 1971, the Saxby & Farmer signal box went out of use on the introduction of colour lights; the existing panel at Swanley took over its functions. The latter itself went out of use in 1983, when the Victoria Panel assumed control of the area.

 

Circa 1986, Shoreham’s main building acquired its first section of canopy: Otford’s layout was being degraded at this time, which included the removal of the extensive platform canopies and installation of glazed bus shelters as replacements. A section of the dismantled ‘’up’’ canopy was subsequently reused at Shoreham over the building’s car park entrance, three new wooden struts being erected to support it. The canopy only stretched half the length of the building and to the unsuspecting person, it could pass as an original feature.  More structural changes occurred in 1991 with the demolition of Shoreham’s ‘’up’’ platform shelter and the installation of a dreaded bus shelter in its place. An additional bus shelter, of a differing design, appeared on the ‘’down’’ platform in 1998 the transformation of Shoreham was now complete.

 

With thanks to David Morgan for detailed notes on goods activity at the site.

 


1969

 

A splendid London-bound view shows the station in all its Southern Region glory, before rationalisation. Taking centre stage is the Saxby & Farmer signal box, with hipped slated roof and timber sides. We can also observe the connections between the running lines and goods yard, which had ceased to handle general traffic in 1962. SR Green Totems abound, but note that modern white signs, complete with black text, are creeping onto the scene on the ''up'' platform. Today, the quaint timber waiting shelter is no more, but we can at least observe a virtually identical example in use at Eynsford. © David Glasspool Collection


8th March 1986

 

Shoreham: 8th March 1986

Viewed from the ''Up'' Platform, the station building and goods shed appear to be in a reasonably good state of repair, although by this time the windows had been boarded over and the entrance to the gents toilets, behind the brick-built screen wall, had also been blocked up. © David Morgan


8th March 1986

 

Shoreham: 8th March 1986

Viewed from the Station Approach, the station building looks well cared for although by now the booking office was only open Mondays to Fridays. A window to the left of the entrance had been bricked up in the early 1980s as part of the works associated with the Victoria area re-signalling scheme. The three posters on display, from left to right, give details of train departures, cheap fares by ship to Holland, and a warning about fare dodging, although whether any Shoreham resident attempted to purchase international tickets here is open to conjecture. © David Morgan


 

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