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24 September 2014
BBC Liverpool - Local History

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Lime Street Station

Elephants arriving at Lime Street
Image © Robin Bird

Lime Street Station Liverpool claims to be at one end of the world’s first true public railway, which linked the Mersey to Manchester, but the original terminus was at Crown Street rather than Lime Street.
And in the very earliest days, trains were hauled up and down from Edge hill by ropes, rather than by locomotives.

The building of Lime Street Station began with the purchase of the Cattle Market from the council for £9000 in October 1833, and over the following months, many different plans and drawings for the interior were submitted, from the parcels office to the roof.

The council was invited to contribute to the cost and in May l835, they agreed to pay £2000 towards the erection of a grand public entrance. With certain conditions:

1. Work would be subject to the council surveyor’s complete satisfaction
2. The company had to have spent approximately £6,000 before the council paid their £2,000.

The station was finally opened to the travelling public in August l836, although it was still not completed and work continued on various parts of the building over the following years, including the iron gates and the palisade, were were erected in 1837. The structure was extremely elegant, with many features which were soon copied all over the country.

By September l842 traffic increased so much that it became evident the site would need to be extended, and so a Station Improvement Committee was set up.

The subsequent work took four years to complete, but it never interfered with the running of the station, and disruption to passengers was minimal.

The initial idea was for an iron roof like the one spanning Euston station in London, with ridge roofs supported by iron columns between the tracks, but a Dublin iron works submitted plans for a single curved roof.

After stringent tests in Dublin, and some modifications, the roof was completed in l849. It was then the largest iron roof used on any building, and the first time such a construction had been used to cover a railway station.
And the cost? £15,000.

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