Lime Street Station, Liverpool. 1849; a second roof added in the 1880s; currently undergoing major restoration and redevelopment. Richard Turner, in collaboration with Joseph Locke and Richard Fairbairn. Constructed for the Liverpool & Manchester Railway.

Photograph by Chris McKenna, 2006, from Wikimedia Commons (slightly cropped). Caption and commentary by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2009.

The original roof of Lime Street Station was over 150' wide and used "principle trusses in the form of sickle-girders": it was "the first railway-station roof to be constructed as a single span." The absence of iron columns had some obvious advantages: "it allowed changes to the layout of platforms and tracks to be made much more easily (and more flexibly), removed awkward obstructions in the plaforms, and reduced the unlikely but dreadful possibility of a rogue engine careering into a column and bringing the whole structure down on the station" (Curl 205). There could be no better proof of the reassessment of Victorian architecture than the current work on this station, which involves removing more recent structures to reveal the "historic colonnaded stone gable-end of the main Station shed" and enable it to be used again as the station's grand entrance ("Lime Street Gateway"). Cf., on a much smaller scale, the restoration of Crystal Palace Station in London, which involves the demolition of an ill-considered 1980s' booking-hall.

Related Material


Curl, James Stevens. Victorian Architecture. Newton Abbot & London: David & Charles, 1990.

"Lime Street Gateway" (City of Liverpool site). Viewed 18 May 2009.

Last modified 18 May 2009