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Curzon Street Station

1838 - 1966
Curzon Street 1938

Curzon Street station as a passenger concern had a complex and all but brief existence. The Grand Junction Railway was technically the first to reach Birmingham with a temporary terminus at Duddeston. However, the London and Birmingham Railway were the first to make it to the city centre when they opened a station at Curzon Street in 1838. The station they built was fittingly grandiose with its classical entrance building with pillared frontage designed by Philip Hardwick in 1838, who also designed the original Euston Station at the other end of the tracks. A year later the Grand Junction Railway also completed their line into the city centre with the construction of a terminus on Curzon Street too. However, in 1846 both companies merged and, along with the Manchester and Birmingham Railway, formed the LNWR. The newly formed LNWR looked for a more central location and began work on New Street, completing the linking of their London mainline to the station in 1854. Unfortunately for Curzon Street, this rang the death knoll for passenger services and the station was kept on as a goods-only station until final closure in 1966. Above, we see Curzon Street station c1938 (photo: A.H.Baker) with the old L&B;'s goods yard in the foreground, Curzon Street across the middle of the photograph from left to right, the L&B; station entrance building top-right, and the main goods sheds top-left: the GJR's station was off to the left of this shot further along Curzon Street and on the other side of the road.

Station building Station building, New Canal Street

Above-left we are standing on Curzon Street with New Canal Street in front of us. The station entrance building seen here has survived the threat of demolition by British Rail following the City Council's intervention and purchase of the structure.It is an impressive sight although it has lost the hotel that stood immediately to the left of it as we see it here. Above-right we have moved onto New Canal Street to again look at the old entrance building and its impressive frontage - the scale of which cannot be appreciated in a photograph. To the extreme right we see part of a gateway leading into the Royal Mail's yard which now occuppies the old station site.

Station building doorway Side entrance

Above-left is a closeup of the doorway into the station building showing the London and Birmingham Railway's coat of arms carved in stone above the doorway and plaque that reads: "Curzon Street Station. This plaque commemorates the 150th anniversary of the arrival of the first London to Birmingham train at this station on Monday 17th September 1838". Above-right we have a close look at the gateway into the Royal Mail yard: the pillars supporting the gates are original features, this once being a gateway to the station yard.

Looking towards Lawley Street Looking towards City Centre

We have now moved back onto Curzon Street and are looking along it towards the Grand Junction Railway's station site the remains of which are evident in the surviving wall running alongside the parked cars on the opposite side of the road beyond the gateway and billboard. As was mentioned earlier, the Royal Mail occuppy the site with a large distribution centre and warehouse taking-up the area once occuppied by the goods sheds themselves. In this view we can see the road entrance to the distribution centre on the right-hand side in the foreground. Above-right we are in the same spot but have revolved to look towards the city centre and New Canal Street. Roughly where the two white cars are parked used to be a level crossing linking the main station with the 'Top Yard' which was the L&B;'s old goods yard - this can be seen in the photograph at the top of this page in the foreground of the image. To the right of this spot today is the Millenium Point development which contains, among other things, the City's Museum of Science and Industry and is part of the 'Eastside Development' programme for the regenerating the industrial remnants of this area of town. For Curzon Street this is disconcerting as a new central library is planned for the current Royal Mail site with a projected completion date of 2007. If this goes ahead, I'm certain all traces of the old station, bar the entrance building, will be swept away so if you are planning a look around I'd suggest you go now.

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This web site and all images, video clips and text contained therein are ©Andrew Doherty 2003 - 2007 (except where another photographer is cited in which case the copyright rests with that photographer or organisation). If you wish to use any of the images for your own non-profit website, feel free to do so but I would appreciate being credited and an e-mail to let me know their new home would be nice. Use of photographs for publication in print is permissable only by obtaining written consent prior to publication. Thanks. Andy Doherty
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