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Exeter St. David's Railway Station

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Image taken 2021.
Image taken 2021.
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Image taken 2021.
Image taken 2021. The 1864 Transfer Shed.
Image taken 2021.

1842 November. Site for the station. 'Bristol and Exeter Railway Terminus at Exeter. — At meeting of the directors on Friday last, it was determined that the terminus the Railway at Exeter shall be on what has called the Inner Site — that is the level and spacious meadow in the occupation of Mrs. Drew, dairywoman, in front of Elm Field House, St David's, and near Tarrant's Red Cow Inn, on the Crediton road. There is the best ground for believing that in the Autumn of 1844, the entire line will be opened to Exeter.[1]

1844 May 01st. Station opened as the terminus of the Bristol and Exeter Railway

1846 May 30th. The South Devon Railway opened a line westwards towards Plymouth

1851-91 William Mears is the Superintendent / Station Master.

1851 May 12th. The Exeter and Crediton Railway line opened

1862 February 01st. The London and South Western Railway line arrived

1864 The station was re-modelled and all of the buildings were designed by Francis Fox, the B&ER engineer, and Henry Lloyd.


1864 June. THE NEW RAILWAY STATION AT ST. DAVID'S. EXETER.[2]

As we have already stated this handsome erection was opened for traffic on Wednesday last; and there are few stations in the kingdom that excel it. Some months ago we gave a descriptive account of the building, then in hand. We now append further particulars.

It is of the Doric order architecture, and has occupied nearly two years in building. The cost, including the making of the new approaches, and the taking down and removal of the old station - which has been in use about 20 years - is estimated at between £50,000 and £60,000. The contract of Messrs. Spider and Son, of Taunton, for the masonry, carpentry, window glazing, and decorations, amounts to £18,000, besides "extras." Mr. Kerslake, of this city, who supplied the ironwork, receives £9,000. The roof alone contains about 300 tons of iron, and 30 tons of rolled plate glass (supplied by the St. Helen's Company, Liverpool). The wrought-iron principals weigh something like 60 tons. The architect is Mr. Henry Lloyd, Park-street, Bristol (who it will remembered was architect of the New Town Hall at Tiverton); Mr. Stear, of Holloway-street, Exeter, was clerk of the works and Mr. Simmons, resident inspector. The sub-contractors were Mr. Hucklebridge, Exeter, and Mr. Pollard, Taunton; Mr. J. Bradley, of this city, executed the ornamental lettering; Messrs. Hall and Peddar, Bristol, supplied the handsome globular lamps which light the platforms and Messrs. Hennet and Company, engineers, Bridgwater, erected the iron footbridge connecting the platforms. The whole work has been under the supervision of Mr. Francis Fox, chief engineer of the Bristol and Exeter Railway Company.

A view of the extended front is obtained from the footpath leading from St. David's Hill, and the appearance of the station is very imposing. It is 360 feet in length. The exterior is faced with Westleigh stone, the cornices, parapets, dressings, and arches being of Bath freestone. There is an ornamental verandah projecting over the footpath - 12 feet wide- and portion of the road - which is 45 feet wide - is covered with a similar roofing of glass and iron, to shelter carriages, cabs, &c. The facade which rises above the offices - all of which are on the Exeter side - is divided into three compartments, having parapets with vases and handsome scroll-work between each bay.

The interior view is equally handsome. The walls supporting the roof are 32 feet high. The ridge of the open iron roof is 60 feet high, which there is a continuous skylight, extending down each side of the ridge about 12 feet, which together with the side windows and the glass screen ends, affords ample light to every part.

There are three platforms. The down platform 25 feet wide and has run of 300 feet. The North Devon narrow gauge line runs through the centre, and the up trains start from the opposite side of the station. Hydraulic lifts are fitted to each end of the trellis girder bridge for the ready transit of luggage. The booking-offices, waiting-rooms, refreshment rooms are on the down platform, except that a small refreshment-room and a waiting-room occupy each end of the centre platform. The whole of the rooms are spacious, lofty, comfortably and elegantly-furnished. Three ornamental water-basins and a large fish-stand, supplied by the Coalbrookdale Iron Company, are placed in different parts of the largest platform. The railway company may be thanked for the excellent accommodation they have afforded the public; and all parties connected with the erection of this magnificent station deserve commendation for their taste and skill.


1891-1900 Samuel Morris is Station Master and left to become Superintendent of the West Cornwall Division of the GWRR. Presented with a bicycle and an illustrated album[3]

1930 E. T. Evans is Station Master.

1935 E. T. Evans is Station Master.

See Also

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Sources of Information

  1. North Devon Journal - Thursday 24 November 1842
  2. Exeter and Plymouth Gazette - Friday 10 June 1864
  3. Western Times - Tuesday 23 October 1900