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Norbury Station


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#1 Mah-in

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 02:05 AM

I know it's a tiny bit out of our area, but I used to live in Norbury before I moved to Crystal Palace. I had reason to return there this week, and looking at the amazingly advanced ramps (for Victorian days) to the station, I was reminded of a story I was once told.

Apparently, the King used to bring horses to Norbury, and the station was built with ramps on every platform for this reason. Is it true?

Norbury was established in the late 1800s and was actually quite posh then, being on the edge of the countryside, and the new railway network meant that posh people didn't have to live in the dirty city. They could be half an hour away from the city and live in a nice area.

Being Australian and all that, my knowledge of kings and queens isn't perhaps what it should be, so I can't suggest which King it might have been.

Can anyone tell me if this story is true?

#2 Nick

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 03:01 AM

Moderators Note: I have moved this to history as this is a more appropriate section.
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#3 Andy

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 10:42 AM

I too used to live in leafy Norbury, I grew up around there. Can't say much about the King and Queen bit, but I do remember my old man telling me that Norbury Park used to hold farmers fairs or markets back in the day, and the ramps in the station where used to enable the cattle and horses to be brought to the park by train.

Selhust station also has a long ramp inside it, presumably for the same thing.

#4 Local

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Posted 21 February 2009 - 11:51 AM

I know it's a tiny bit out of our area, but I used to live in Norbury before I moved to Crystal Palace. I had reason to return there this week, and looking at the amazingly advanced ramps (for Victorian days) to the station, I was reminded of a story I was once told.

Apparently, the King used to bring horses to Norbury, and the station was built with ramps on every platform for this reason. Is it true?

Norbury was established in the late 1800s and was actually quite posh then, being on the edge of the countryside, and the new railway network meant that posh people didn't have to live in the dirty city. They could be half an hour away from the city and live in a nice area.

Being Australian and all that, my knowledge of kings and queens isn't perhaps what it should be, so I can't suggest which King it might have been.

Can anyone tell me if this story is true?

In London, the railways and horse-drawn transport were both at their peak during the Victorian era. Longer suburban journeys were undertaken by train with horse buses and carts finishing the delivery. It could have been Queen Victoria who brought her horses to Norbury (Prince Albert had died in 1861), or possibly Edward VII during the first decade of the 20th century. Was this to carry goods, or to ride in the fields and woods?

#5 Woodvale

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Posted 22 February 2009 - 11:45 PM

It's taken some time to check my facts before I could respond.

The line between Balham and East/West Croydon was opened on 1 December 1862, with stations at Streatham Common and Thornton Heath. Selhurst opened 1st May 1865, but Norbury didn't open until January 1878, built speculatively in conjunction with local estate developers who paid one third of its cost.

All the stations were rebuilt 1900-1903 as a result of the four-tracking of the line, so Norbury and Selhurst would have had the ramps put in then. Ramps were also built at East Croydon when the new station building was opened in 1894 on the Addiscombe Road bridge.

A friend of mine is a well-known local historian and considers the horse-riding story as fanciful in the extreme (after all, horse-riding is done in Hyde Park to this day, and it's a lot closer to Buckingham Palace than Norbury!). Pure speculation on my part, but it is noticeable that Norbury and Selhurst are the two stations on the line that did not have a goods yard, so at least one platform would have needed a ramp to allow baggage trolleys to be loaded from a train in the platform and then moved to the station building (and vice versa). Merchandise for Streatham Common and Thornton Heath would have been delivered or collected by wagons shunted into the yard by the local goods train. Also, Norbury station platform had to be located further from the station building because the embankment wouldn't have been wide enough that close to the road bridge over London Road, so, assuming that the down local platform would have had a ramp for baggage trolleys, ramps may have been put in for the other platforms as an alternative to a level passageway at road level with steps at the platform end which would have required some lighting throughout the day.