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Helmdon Historical Articles

Spotlight on Helmdon for Sulgrave

an article in British Railways Magazine

G.R. Rowell

J. Lovell

R. Thompson

L. Wills

L. Ayres

W.J. Holloway
Helmdon top station on the Great Central Railway


HELMDON which, as a result of regional boundary arrangements, is now a London Midland station, betrays its Great Central ancestry by its typical island platform. It is a country station lying between Rugby and Aylesbury on the old G.C. (later L.N.E.R.) line between Manchester and London (Marylebone). It was opened in 1899 and deals principally with agricultural traffic; passenger traffic is mainly to and from the nearby town of Brackley. The station has gained many awards for its gardens and general cleanliness and among its decorative features are many flowerbeds, a sundial, bird-bath, goldfish pond and an ivy-covered imitation well. The latter, which was built by Leading Porter J. Lovell, looks just like the real thing and its old-world appearance is an eye-opener for passengers seeing it for the first time.

In the nearby village of Sulgrave is Sulgrave manor, the home of the ancestors of George Washington. The house was purchased by Lawrence Washington in 1539 and remained in the family until 1610. Over the main doorway is the Washington coat-of-arms. This ancient manor is a Mecca for American tourists and members of the U.S. Forces serving in Great Britain.

Reading from the top our portrait-strip shows Station Master G.R. Rowell (who is also in charge of Culworth); Leading Porter J. Lovell; Porter Signalmen R. Thompson and L. Wills; Ganger L. Ayres; and Lengthman W.J. Holloway.

This article appeared in "British Railways Magazine - North Eastern Region", Volume 5, Number 10, October 1954. Cover price 3d.

Thanks to John Woodhams for the loan of his copy.

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