Posted by: travelrat | April 15, 2014

Windermere Station


The NIMBY mentality is nothing new. Back in the 19th Century, in the heyday of the railways, a line was proposed, which would completely traverse the English Lake District. Voices were raised, and the loudest of all was the Poet Laureate, William Wordsworth.

In those days, the ‘Top Versifier’ was much more influential than he is nowadays, and the railway came to a shuddering halt at a sleepy little village called Birthwaite. The Bard of Grasmere went on his way, rejoicing that he had kept the unlettered masses away from his beloved Lakes for a little longer.

The railway company had a stroke of PR genius; they arranged for Birthwaite to change its name to Windermere! No matter that the lake of the same name lay a couple of miles away, down the hill. The ‘trippers’ came, and undertook the trek or carriage ride down to the lake, to have a sail on the ‘Lady of the Lake’, or just wander around seeing what was to be seen.

(If, incidentally, you saw the episode of Poirot, where the sleuth and the faithful ‘Esteengs’ got off the train at ‘Windermere’ station, and just crossed the platform to board a steamer … that wasn’t Windermere; that was Lakeside, on a different rail network entirely)

As was their habit, the Victorians built a grand station at the terminus of their line … four platforms and a turntable, with a glass roof overall, and a most imposing entrance. Even as late as the 1950s, it was presided over by the grandly-uniformed Station Master, wearing as much gold braid as an Admiral.

But, the station has now been moved to a much more modern structure, about a hundred yards down the track. The old station is now … a supermarket!

And, unfortunately, there’s little to be seen of the building’s former grandeur … maybe they should have made it a Listed Building, or something.

Picture by an unknown photographer. From an old postcard.

Picture by an unknown photographer. From an old postcard.

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