Station to stir memories with Kenilworth sign donation

Peter Blakeman with Hannah Collett and Willie Whitesmith
Peter Blakeman with Hannah Collett and Willie Whitesmith
  • The sign has been at the town’s rugby clubhouse for years
  • It will be built in to the new station design to retain character for the building
  • Enthusiasts have reported large numbers of other artefacts still in the town from the former station building

More memories and nostalgia will return with Kenilworth’s new rail station after another piece of town history was donated to the development.

A sign rescued from the town’s original station is the latest item to be handed over in hope of including original features as the passenger train line is brought back to use.

The window is planned to form part of the new station design

The window is planned to form part of the new station design

The large red and white sign bearing the town’s name has been hanging in the rugby club’s Glasshouse Lane clubhouse for years.

Willie Whitesmith, club president, said nobody there has any idea how they came by the piece of memorabilia.

But after reading in the KWN about the return of a stained glass window, he knew the piece should return to where it belonged and he set about convincing the committee into a handover.

“I saw an article about designers of the new station getting excited about uncovering some stained glass windows from the original building and it got me thinking that they may be interested in the sign,” he said.

The rugby club will miss it but it is now back where it belongs

Willie Whitesmith

“For a long, long time we have had it hanging in the clubhouse, and it is one of the original Kenilworth Railway Station signs.

“No-one quite knows how it got there, it was part of the furniture and character.

“The rugby club will miss it but it is now back where it belongs.”

Hannah Collett, who runs the station project at Warwickshire County Council said they were delighted to be given more pieces which echo back to the history of the Priory Road site and help them remember the town’s past.

She said: “We are pleased to incorporate the sign along with the other original pieces we have received into the new railway station design to maintain a sense of history.”

The new station will be built at the site of the former building with demolition work to clear the area now complete.

The donations started with a stained glass window from Graham Hyde who worked to bring back the return of the station with other rail campaigners.

He said the glass was saved from the demolition of the building in 1984 and has sat in his garage for several years until a use could be found for it.

Since it was revealed as set to be included in the new design, other relics were announced as being still in the town.

Town historian, Robin Leach documented the existence of staircases for the footbridge that have since been incorporated into a barn development not far from Kenilworth.

He also wrote of “a plethora of bricks, floor and wall tiles, roof slates, ornamental woodwork and other materials, handles, hinges and catches from the ticket office” which have been used to decorate homes, and a ticket guichet is on display in the Abbey Fields barn.

“Perhaps most poignantly of all, the station clock (still working) is in the safe hands of a local enthusiast,” he said.

Trains are expected to be running by Christmas 2016, and work to rebuild the station will go ahead later this year.

The public right of way footpath that crosses the line between Farmer Ward Road and Priory Road is now reopen following demolition work being completed.