Visiting Ramsgate Station, Ramsgate, Kent, England: Recalling the Close of a Neoclassical Era in Station Buildings
A gracious structure from a bygone age
Dating from 1926, this Neoclassical railroad station building, with its two sets of three, huge rounded arches — a common feature of this style — recalls the end of an era as regards station buildings in this style.
The building is attributed to E. Maxwell Fry (1899-1987)(1), a distinguished architect known for many Modernist creations, but who trained in Neoclassical style, away from which he subsequently moved.
Shortly after the date of this building's construction, it became common for public buildings such as railroad stations to reflect functionalist styles.
The structure is executed in brick, with terracotta details; coats of arms of the former Southern Railway and Town of Margate are supplied.
What was known as the London Chatham and Dover Railway first came to Ramsgate in 1863.
Today, the Station is managed by Southeastern. Trains of the East Coast Line link the Station with London Victoria.
Given the fact that simple, functionalist structures at such buildings tended to predominate from the mid-20th century onwards, in some ways this building reminds me more of a large, 19th century Nonconformist chapel than a railroad station.
October 17, 2017
(1) Architect Fry was chief assistant to J. R. Scott, Chief Architect to the Southern Railways. He worked with Elizabeth Denby (1894-1965) on social housing projects. See also: https://www.historicengland.org.uk/listing/the-list/list-entry/1086060
Fry's wife Jane Drew (1911-1996) was also a distinguished architect. Fry and Drew formed the architectural partnership Fry, Drew and Partners in 1950, which among other undertakings was responsible for many buildings in Africa and India.
Some sourcing: Wikipedia
Also worth seeing
In Ramsgate itself, as a resort, its Main Sands have long been popular with tourists; Ramsgate Maritime Museum is housed in the 1817 Clock House, and is administered by the Steam Museum Trust.
How to get there: United Airlines flies from New York Newark to London Heathrow Airport (distance to Ramsgate, Kent: 149 kilometres), where car rental is available. The Kent Coast Line links Ramsgate Station with London Victoria. There are rail and coach links from London to Dover.Please check with the airline or your travel agent for up to date information.
MJFenn is an independent travel writer based in Ontario, Canada.
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