I was going through my photos the other day and came across these I took of Victoria Station, Manchester. I’d completely forgotten about them but it reminded me of our holiday in the UK in Sept-Oct 2012 and how much we enjoyed the train travel in the UK.
Piccadilly Station in Manchester handles the inter-city traffic while Victoria Station handles regional traffic – at least, that’s to the best of my understanding and to simplify the differences between the two stations. We arrived in Manchester at Piccadilly Station from London, a great ride on one of the inter-city expresses.
Then we travelled on to Accrington, north of Manchester from Victoria Station, where we were staying with a friend. When we arrived at Victoria, we found it was being renovated so I took some photos because it’s a lovely old-fashioned station and I very much appreciated how it was being restored with sensitivity.
The three photos above I got off the internet – I try to use my own photographs most of the time but arrived at the station in a taxi and most of the interior was in a bit of a mess due to the renovations taking place. The photos below are my own.
These are photos I took of the refreshment area, I was amazed when we walked into to see the lovely cupola, plus the old-fashioned look achieved by the restoration.
It was really, really good to see a heritage building like Victoria Station being renovated (albeit with a modern roof for shelter) and not knocked down to be replaced by a blandified, boring, generic structure.
The piece de resistance, as far as I was concerned, was the ladies’ restroom. I can assure you that I don’t normally hang around ladies’ restrooms but what delighted me about this one was the renovation to its original state, along with the tiles of that era. I had to make sure I didn’t photograph anyone using the restroom, for fear of getting funny, suspicious looks, but I did get to talk to two ladies who walked in as I was busily snapping away and who viewed my taking photographs with great delight. It turned out they were sisters, who knew all the history of the station and were thrilled at the sensitive restoration taking place. Luckily they didn’t seem to find it odd that an Aussie was hanging around taking photos of the restroom, but were very pleased at the interest I had in the station as a whole and its history.
The other aspect of the restroom was that it brought back memories of my childhood living in Ramsgate, Kent, UK. In the summer my friend and I would hang around on the beach and around the seaside entertainment area, complete with various competition stalls and other stalls selling pickled whelks, cockles, winkles and jellied eels. We used to visit the women’s restroom when needed and I still remember walking into the tiled area, putting a penny in the turnstile (no free visits to the loo in the UK!), and then the echo as you walked into the interior. Visiting the Victoria Station was for me, a real trip down memory lane.
The final photo is of the map in Victoria Station of the railway network in Yorkshire and Lancashire.