Demolition within the old parcel room above and an unexpected find below. See below.
The old shop counter had to be removed to open up the space within the old parcel room and booking office to give a good workable space for future use as a community hub. When the original entrance to the parcel office was opened up a treasure trove of concealed itmes was discovered including a teddy that belonged to the shop owner's son, Guy Wright.
The new entrance doors into the new community hub
Previously access to Linda's Stores was via a door to the right of the station main entrance. This old entrance we made into the fire exit from the community hub and a new entrance was formed from the octagonal booking hall with new Art Deco style doors to match the original main doors of the station building.
Building the Community Hub
The plan to restore Bishopstone Station is a long term project that is split into phases. Phase One, now completed, was to turn what was Linda’s Stores into a new Community Hub for the benefit of the local population. Linda’s Stores consisted of the original British Rail Parcel Room and Ticket Office. The counter of the shop was the dividing wall between the two spaces.
In order to create a workable community space it was necessary to remove the counter and dividing wall to open up both areas into one new space. The entrance to Linda’s Stores was via a double door at the right hand end of the station building as one faces it from the forecourt. It was decided that this entrance should be used as a fire escape and that a new entrance be made giving access to the hub from the octagonal booking hall of the station. In effect reinstating the original entrance to the parcel room.
The floor levels of the ticket office and the parcel room differed by about 13 cms so it was necessary to raise the parcel room floor to the same level as the ticket office. The ticket office had an original wood block parquet floor that was in rather poor condition. This has been restored with additional matching blocks. The parcel office floor was laid with a wood finish vinyl floor so as to differentiate between the two areas and keeping a reference to the original layout.
A new suspended ceiling was installed with new lighting and electrics. and a new kitchen area was added at the front of the community hub.
Our local MP, Maria Caulfield, has taken a great personal interest in the restoration project and has been a great help and support. Here she visits the project and meets Barbara Mine and the contractor and to see how the work is progressing.
Teddy, Bishopstone Station’s Bear
Teddy found behind the shutter
Guy Wright reunited with Teddy
It was during the start of the restoration work in the old parcel room one cold February day February in 2021. The old wooden sleepers that concealed a space that was once used to take in the packages were taken down. This revealed an old wooden roller shutter. When this was rolled back up all manner of things started spilling out onto the floor including a little red and yellow teddy bear. He must have belonged to someone once!
I then found a large box containing more toys with a boys name printed on it.******************************. Did this belong to him? There must be a lovely story to come out of this little teddy find.
We put it out to the media and amazingly the owner came forward. It was a lovely moment for him to be reunited with his teddy, his skateboard and many treasured belongings. He told me quite a bit about his his family history when they owned the old shop, Linda’s Stores.
The double doors at the fire escape were replaced with new Art Deco style doors in keeping with the main entrance doors.The walls and ceiling were decorated and a new hanging system was installed for displaying pictures. New folding tables and new chairs were purchased. Internet provision was installed.
The final touch will be to have the new curved Art Deco style Critall windows to the frontage of the station building to replace the aged and damaged existing Critall windows.
Whilst I was chatting about this with my friend, Sandra Gordon, who was at that time doing a writing course, she said, “This would make a great children’s story! It could be adapted to suit the little boy and his teddy.” She then went ahead and produced ‘Teddy, Bishopstone Station’s Bear”.
Knowing we had a huge job on our hands getting the Station building restored she kindly had the book printed with proceeds going to Friends of Bishopstone Station and Cancer Research.
The book is in memory of Guy Wright, the owner of the bear.
Barbara Mine ( Chair of Friends of Bishopstone Station)