This mighty cast iron wheel is one of four that are attached to the substantial 15 foot high wooden door at the original Selby Railway Station, on Ousegate in Selby. The station was opened in 1834, and was the first railway station in Yorkshire.
The doors which the wheel controlled opened to allow goods moved by rail to Selby to travel across Ousegate to be loaded onto coasters on the River Ouse for onward shipment to Hull and beyond.
The wheel merits a place in the "History of the World" as, by its scale, it is evocative of the enormous volume of trade from the West Riding of Yorkshire through Selby by rail onto the River Ouse, thence by sail to Hull and the continent. The sheer scale of the building tells of a time when Selby was a very rich market and trading town
However, the station closed to passengers in 1841 - but not because the railway was unsuccessful, rather as a victim of its own success. The goods trade thrived so strongly that there was effectively no capacity for passengers inside the building.
This commerce made many merchants in Selby rich, brought trade and workers into the town and encouraged the growth of local agricultural and shipbuilding industries