'World's oldest ticket office' opens in Derbyshire

Wirksworth ticket office Image copyright Wyvern Rail
Image caption Volunteers have refurbished an 18th-Century tannery to create a booking office at Wirksworth

An 18th Century building which railway enthusiasts believe is the oldest in the world to house a working ticket office has opened in Derbyshire.

The former tannery at Wirksworth station was built around 1750 and has been renovated by volunteers.

It sits on the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway tourist line to Duffield, which was re-opened in 2011.

Transport Secretary, and local MP, Patrick McLoughlin officially opened the booking office earlier.

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Image copyright G. Moore / M. Bentley
Image caption The old tannery can be seen behind the tree on the left of this picture of the station from 1953
Image copyright Google
Image caption The line between Wirksworth and Duffield closed in the 1980s but was fully re-opened as the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway in 2011

Leigh Gration, the railway's commercial manager, said the stone building was originally used to store raw animal skins before they were sent away for processing.

The line was built in 1862 and by the turn of the last century, the building was being used by an animal feeds dealer.

The doorway through which feed was delivered directly by rail is now the booking office's main entrance.

"Coincidentally this mezzanine floor level is at platform height," he said.

Image copyright Picture the Past / AP Knighton
Image caption A steam train at Wirksworth in about 1906
Image copyright Picture the Past / Normanton Local History Group
Image caption A Sunday School outing at Wirksworth train station in 1957

The building cannot, however, claim to be the world's oldest ever ticket office.

That accolade belongs to the Red Hall in Bourne, Lincolnshire, which was built in around 1650.

It became a booking office for the Bourne and Essendine Railway Company in 1860, until its closure in 1959.

Image copyright Wyvern Rail
Image caption The ticket office is being opened by Derbyshire Dales MP, Patrick McLoughlin

Volunteers have renovated the tannery, installed internal partition walls, heating, lighting, a counter and disabled access.

The Ecclesbourne Valley Railway was closed to all traffic in 1989, having closed to passengers 40 years earlier.

It was fully re-opened in 2011.

Image copyright Wyvern Rail
Image caption Passenger traffic ceased at Wirksworth in 1947

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