Story of a signal box saved from demolition

PUBLISHED: 12:14 20 July 2006 | UPDATED: 11:53 04 May 2010

The Black Bank signal box in its original location.  Photos: SUPPLIED

The Black Bank signal box in its original location. Photos: SUPPLIED

WHEN the train station at Black Bank was scheduled for closure in the 1980s, many thought the station s historic signal box would be demolished. But thankfully, it was not to be, and last Tuesday, the Little Downham Local History and Archive Group (LHAG)

WHEN the train station at Black Bank was scheduled for closure in the 1980s, many thought the station's historic signal box would be demolished.

But thankfully, it was not to be, and last Tuesday, the Little Downham Local History and Archive Group (LHAG) organised an open evening, attended by more than 80 people, to recount the story of the signal box's rescue on a winter's evening in 1988 and its new life as a summer house for Little Downham business manager Les Stevens.

Mr Stevens had purchased the box, but was given only a small window of time to remove it by the rail company, when there would be no trains running.

In his talk to the history group, he told how these conditions meant that dismantling the box was out of the question.

Only the top half of the structure could be removed, and what followed was a story of tenacity overcoming all of the odds, as Mr Stevens and his friends brought the signal box through the village on a low loader, moving power and telephone lines, and nearly demolishing the roof of a cottage in the process.

John Clarke, of the LHAG, said: "Everybody has a story - perhaps not as memorable as this one, but the local history group, in conjunction with the parish magazine, wants to record them all."

INFO: The Little Downham Local History and Archive Group is always on the lookout for stories, photographs, or people willing to register their interest. The group can be contacted on 01353 698884 or 01353 699484.

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