Old Photographs: Leicester Central

This section shows the frontage of Leicester Central Station in about 1910, a tour around the station in the late 1960s, just before closure, and also an aerial photograph of the station site from the 1930s.

Leicester Central station postcard1910

A delightful study of the original ornate frontage of Leicester Central Station with horse-drawn carriages waiting for custom.  From a postcard posted in 1910.

Leicester Central station postcard1910

Coloured postcard, posted in 1910, showing the original ornate frontage of Leicester Central station and a passing tram.

Leicester Central station front

For comparison with the postcards above, here is a photograph in October 1974, after closure, of the austere, simplified, frontage of Leicester Central station as modified by British Railways.

Leicester Central station

The simplified frontage of Leicester Central Station in 1967.  The new brickwork around the roof line is very obvious.

Leicester GCR bakery

By 1974 the hoarding advertising the Ford Capri at the side of the station had been removed to give a clear view of the building behind which had been built by the Great Central Railway as a bakery.  As can be seen, by now the building was in use by “JELLY & Co. Ltd.” who were listed in the ‘Yellow Pages’ telephone directory as “ventilating, dust extracting & general engineers”.  The bread from the bakery could be delivered to the refreshment rooms using the tunnels under the platforms.  The bakery was later demolished and a vehicle repair workshop was built in this area.

The majority of the photographs of Leicester Central Station below were taken on 4th August 1967, about 2 years before closure.

Leicester Central station entrance hall

The station port cochère, with the booking hall through the entry on the left.

Leicester Central booking hall

The booking hall.

Leicester Central station passageways to the platforms

There were three passageways under the tracks to the platforms, and at this time only the one on the left was still in use and led to the south staircase.  The centre passage had apparently led to the lift and the right passage to the north staircase.

Leicester Central station stairs to the platforms

The top of the stairs ascending to the platforms with the, by now closed, W.H.Smiths bookstall in front.

Leicester Central station looking down the stairs to the platforms

Looking down the steps from the platform, with my bicycle at the bottom.  At the bottom to the right is the tunnel from the booking hall, while on the left is a gate which is apparently blocking the way to the rear entrance of the station.

Leicester Central station, start of removal of signalling

Redundant signals are being dismantled and track lifting has started.  The wall surrounding the turntable can just be made out behind the loading gauge.

Leicester Central station, removing track of sidings

British Railways workers are in the process of removing the sidings.  The turntable itself has already been removed.

Leicester Central station, looking north

Looking south from the south bay.

Leicester Central station, platforms

Looking north along the south bay from the end of the platform, with the parcels depot, which still survives, on the far right.

Leicester Central station, buffers

The south bay hydraulic buffer stops.  Since the bay platforms were no longer in use the buffers appear to have been drained and were fully retracted.

Leicester Central station, platform 5

Platform 5, the northbound platform, looking north.  I believe that the north bay had platforms 1 & 2, the south bay had platforms 3 & 4, and the through platforms were 5 & 6.

Leicester Central station, platform 6

Platform 6, the southbound platform, looking north.

Leicester Central station builders plate, Horsely Co., Tipton

Maker’s plate on upright girder.
“Horsely Co Ld, Tipton, Staffordshire, 1899”.

Leicester Central station waiting room, GCR

The Waiting Room then in use, one of several original ones.  The fireplace and seating are very similar to those still in place in some of the stations on the preserved Great Central Railway.

Leicester Central refreshment room, GCR

By this time the Refreshment Room was out of use, so had to be photographed through the window.  Note the two beer hand-pumps on the counter.

Leicester Central goods lifts

The goods lifts.

Leicester Central station platforms, GCR

The north bay, looking south.

Leicester Central station looking north

Looking northbound from the north bay.  Note that the out-of-use colour light signals have been turned sideways, and the roof of the Great Central Hotel (now long demolished) on the right.

Aerial view of Leicester Central station from R101 airship

Above is an aerial photograph of Leicester Central station looking north taken from the R101 airship, apparently on October 18 1929 during a test flight.

The Leicester Mercury ‘Mr. Leicester’ feature “Was it a bird? Was it a plane? No, it was R101”of February 23 2017 (the original link of http://www.leicestermercury.co.uk/was-it-a-bird-was-it-a-plane-no-it-was-r101/story-30079152-detail/story.html is, alas, no longer active) showed a photograph of R101 flying above London Road, Leicester, with the information that the R101 first flew on October 14, 1929 and passed over Leicestershire just four days later, on October 18, during a test flight over the Midlands.  The R101 was disastrously lost a year later on October 4 1930 on its ill-fated maiden voyage to India.

In the photograph above, the turntable is to the right of the centre, with Great Central Road just beyond, running parallel to the station.  The River Soar / Grand Union Canal is in the foreground at bottom left.

Old Photographs Section

[Leicester Central]
[Leicester in Colour]
[Nottingham - Rugby]
[Steam around Leicester Central]
[Last Day, Demolition]
[Dereliction & Demolition]
[Around Leicester]
[Demolition 1]
[Demolition 2]
[West Bridge]
[South to Ruddington]
[Ruddington to Loughborough]
[Early Preservation]
[Loughborough & Sheepshed Railway]

© 2001-2022   Text and photographs copyright Nigel Tout, unless otherwise indicated.