Friday, 22 December 2017

Move over Sherlock Holmes ....... the Case of the Mysterious Red Girder and a railway station has been solved

You know, even when a mystery has you stumped, someone will come up with a solution, and they don’t have to have a silly name, wear an even sillier hat and have a friend called Watson.

The Red Girder by Andy Robertson
And so it was with the Case of Mysterious Red Girder and a railway station which set me off on one on Monday.*

The culprit as ever was Andy Robertson whose photograph revealed a bit of red girder which was where it shouldn’t have been.

My own pathetic attempts at sleuthing were quickly swept away by a series of responses, which included a number of pictures and some straightforward suggestions.

Victoria Station, John Knight
So thank you to Bill, and John who both suggested it was part of the original roof and to Antony who went much further commenting that ”the red girder to the left is the yellow lattice girder shown in your photograph of the advertising hoarding Andrew Simpson. Together with the red girder to the right, these supported the old train-shed roof. 

These two girders, and those on the main station building have been deliberately left in situ to ‘preserve the heritage of the station’ (so said the publicity blurb at the time). 

One other reason would have been that cutting the beams was cheaper and caused no damage to the old buildings. Any attempt at complete removal would have been time-consuming to expose the hidden parts of all those joints and very expensive to make the good damage caused (with heritage materials?). 

This also explains the cascade of what appear to be rectangular drain-pipes that were provided to mark the outline of the former train-shed roof.

And that as they say is that.

Well not quite, because just a few hours after the story went live Lee Hutchings told me "I wrote the heritage appraisal for the shed roofs years ago and found that there were 3 or 4 dates of roofs in this location, all culminating over the restaurant, a very small part of the original 1840s roof a few sections of roof from the temporary c1860s shed roof and parts of the 1910s roof, I seem to remember that the 1860s roof was but as an open-sided shed extension that was adapted and extended when the final station frontage was completed in the 1910s".

Location; Victoria Station

Pictures; the red girder, 2017, from the collection of Andy Robertson, and Victoria Station, courtesy of John Knight

*The Case of the Mysterious Red Girder and Victoria Station,

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