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Higham Ferrers Railway Station
The old station
The old station that served Higham Ferrers - built in Chelveston parish - later called Irthlingborough Station, where Arthur George's father was master from 1908
Wellingborough News 06/12/1889, transcribed by Peter Brown

The Midland Railway On Monday morning an Inspector from the Midland Railway met the members of the Council to consult them on the position of the station for Higham Ferrers on the branch-line, and he pointed a spot in what is known as Berry's Close or Spong's Field as the site selected. This was considered one of the best sites possible for the convenience of the town.

The first railway station serving Higham Ferrers was on the Blisworth to Peterborough line, a mile north of the village.

A new railway branch line from Wellingborough to Rushden & Higham Ferrers was proposed in December 1888 by some businessmen, unhappy with existing railway links.

The boot and shoe trade especially was growing rapidly and needed regular supplies for manufacturing, and to transport finished goods.

Higham Railway Station

 Courtesy of the late Colin Bryant Collection
railway staff
Staff at the Higham Railway Station with the bridge behind
The train arrives from Rushden
The closest stations at that time were at the old Higham station near Irthlingborough and the one at Irchester. The Midland Railway were asked to consider a loop line, with a station at Rushden, passing by Higham Ferrers, and on to the station at Raunds, the latter being on the line from Kettering to Cambridge.

The company recommended this to their shareholders which was accepted. The original 1889 plan was revised to include a station at Higham Ferrers, the proposals were submitted to Parliament, and passed on 25th July 1890. The first passenger service ran from the new Higham Ferrers station on 1st May 1894.

Wellingborough & Kettering News15/11/1889, transcribed by Peter Brown

The Proposed Railway Extension—An adjourned meeting to consider the proposed branch of the Midland Railway from Wellingborough to Raunds was held on Saturday, in the Town Hall, Higham Ferrers. Among those present were Mr. G. Wyman (in the chair), Mr. C. Parker (Mayor), Mr. O. Parker, Mr. H. Sanders, Mr. A. Groome, Mr. W. Smith, Mr. W. Groome, Mr. S. Joll, Mr. H. Sanders, &c.—The Chairman laid plans of the proposed line before the meeting, and discussion ensued on them, some being of opinion that a station between Rushden and Higham Ferrers would be the best for both places, while others favoured a separate station for Higham Ferrers, and after the plans had been explained by Mr. O. Parker and others, showing that the proposed spot for the station at Higham Ferrers was on the Kimbolton-road, at a point where the Newton-road branches out of the main road, Mr. Owen Parker proposed that the directors of the Midland Co. be requested to erect the station on the western side of the line and as near the town as possible.—This was seconded by Mr. S. Pack, and carried unanimously.—Some discussion then ensued as to the possibility of getting the promoters of the tramway from Wellingborough to Rushden, to continue the trams to Higham as there was a deal of business between the two places, and it would be a great convenience especially to the working-people to have the trams. In fact, it was thought it would be more beneficial than the railway.—Mr. Wyman said the tram scheme was blocked before.—Ultimately, on the motion of Mr. H. Sanders, seconded by Mr. Joll, it was unanimously decided that the Chairman, on behalf of that meeting be requested to communicate with the promoters of the tramway and ask them to continue their line from Rushden to Higham. A vote of thanks was accorded the Chairman, and the meeting terminated.

Wellingborough & Kettering News 22/11/1889, transcribed by Peter Brown

THE TRAMWAY SCHEME—The notices for the deposit of the plans of the Tramways Company have been posted during the past few days, and it is the almost universal wish of the inhabitants that whether the railway does or does not come, they may have the trams, as it is considered they would be more convenient than the railway.

The Argus, 11th April 1890, transcribed by Kay Collins

Accident to a Porter
John Knight, a porter at Higham Ferrers Station, was admitted to the Northampton Infirmary late on Wednesday night, suffering from a sprained ankle, owing to his falling from a railway carriage when putting the lights on.

Extract from an accident report 31st August 1900:
Fortunately a clerk named F Sugars, employed at the Goods Office...............

The old station - now gone!
May 1959 when the passenger service ceased - taken by Jon Anton
The last passenger train

Rushden Echo, 29th January 1904, transcribed by Kay Collins

Higham Ferrers M.R. Employees’ Supper
The employees of the M. R. Co. at Higham held their annual supper on Saturday evening at the Queen’s Head, and excellent meal being served by Mr A D Horn.

Mr E Jones was in the chair, supported by Messrs F G Sugars (chief clerk), J J Peck (Mr H Nicholls, Raunds), C W Perkins (Mr C Parker, Higham Ferrers), Evans (Mr T Sanders, Higham Ferrers), Hector, Allen, Ambrose Marriott (Higham Ferrers), Anderson (station-master’s clerk), Rowley (assistant goods clerk), Wyman (Newark), Greenhill (Wellingborough), M Keep (foreman), Knight (horse-keeper), G Shortland (Irthlingborough), A Pack (Co-operative Boot Society, Higham), T Beresford (representing Mr T Lilley, Irthlingborough), Cooper and Berrill (Bayes and Son, Irthlingborough) and others, about 40 being present.

The loyal toasts were duly honoured after dinner on the proposition of the Chairman, who referred to the Royal support given to the Railway Servants’ Orphanage.

Mr G Perkins gave a pianoforte overture and Mr F G Sugars sand “Sheeting the moon.”

Mr J J Peck in proposing “Success to the Midland Railway,” said that as a member of the travelling public he could bear testimony to the courtesy shown by railway officials and especially by the officials of the Midland Railway Company. He would specially refer to Mr Jones and the members of his staff. It was 32 years since he (the speaker) attended his first Midland Railway dinner, and great changes had been seen during that time. In those changes and improvements the lead had been taken by the Midland Railway, and the public were greatly indebted to them. He felt, however, that railway companies were very conservative, not in the matter of the fiscal question, but in the matter of rates. He considered it absolutely wrong that it should be possible to send cheese from Chicago to London cheaper than from Cheshire, and produce from 10 miles beyond Paris at 10s. a ton less than from Gravesend. If this question was dealt with by the business men of the country, it would be better than trying to do away with Free Trade and questions of that kind. He coupled with the toast the name of Mr Jones, station-master at the Higham station.

The toast was musically honoured, and hearty cheers were given for Mr Jones.

Mr Jones in reply, said that of course there was an answer that could be given to Mr Peck’s remarks, but he would not enter into that now. It had always been his endeavour to do what he could, not only for his employers, but for the travelling public. He was greatly assisted in this by his staff. He would leave the question of railway rates for another occasion. (Laughter)

Mr F Brazier sang “The Gorgonzola cheese” and Mr W Daniels “The horse the missus dries the clothes on.” Mr Cooper recited “The Dandy Fifth,” and Mr C W Perkins sand “A soldier and a man.” Mr F G Sugars sang “If the missus wants to go” (encore “Something to be thankful for”), and Mr F Brazier sang “That’s what I’m weeping for.”

Mr M Keep proposed in high terms “The Secretary” and said all knew how well he looked after them, and did his best to give them a pleasant evening on those occasions.

The toast was received with musical honours.

Mr Sugars, in reply, expressed gratitude for the generosity of the gentlemen in the town and district which had enabled them to have that evening together, and said he himself was always pleased to do what he could.

Mr W Daniels sang “The volunteer organist,” Mr M Keep “The Rhine wine,” and Mr Geo Knight “Far, far away”; and Mr Cooper recited “The Lifeboat.”

Mr Rowley gave “The visitors,” coupling with it the names of Messrs C W Perkins and George Shortland.

Mr Perkins, responding, said it was always a pleasure to meet the staff of the railway company, and he never wanted to meet a better set than those at Higham.

Mr Shortland also replied.

Mr Sugars sang “A girl wanted there,” and Mr Harlow “The sailor’s farewell.”

Mr Sugars gave “The Press,” which was duly responded to, and “The host and hostess” concluded the toast list.

Other songs followed, and a very enjoyable evening was spent by the company.

Rushden Echo, 7th August, 1914, transcribed by Gill Hollis

Military Depot at Higham

A large number of plate layers have been busily engaged constructing a new siding in the goods yards of the Higham Ferrers Midland Railway Station, in connection with the military operations. The lines have been carried right to the Chelveston-road. Local coal contractors have received orders to move their stores of coal stacked in the yard with the greatest possible speed. In addition to the siding, a covered platform 200 feet long by 15 feet wide is also being erected. A special road from the goods yard to Kimbolton-road has also been cut. The Higham Ferrers and Rushden Water Board have been instructed to at once put down temporary mains from two different points and yesterday work was in progress. The one from the entrance to the station is to supply a water trough of sufficient capacity to water 300 horses at a time if need be. Although the water mains are only temporary, the Board were specially instructed to make the trenches very solid, sufficient to withstand the carriage across them of heavy guns.

Rushden Echo, 10th December 1915, transcribed by Kay Collins

Chelveston - County Court Case—yesterday, before Judge Radcliffe, the Midland Railway Co. sued Geo. Britten, farmer, now of Bozeat, late of Chelveston, for £9 for conveyance of a bull from Higham Ferrers to Newquay, Cornwall. Mr. Turner, Birmingham, appeared for the Company, and when the case came on at the last Court Mr. George (Messrs. Morgan and George) was for the defendant. Certain terms were then agreed to but Mr. Turner now said defendant had failed to comply with those terms, and he now asked for judgment.—Mr. George said he had done his best to get defendant to comply but had failed, and he had accordingly withdrawn from the case.—A clerk from Higham Ferrers M.R. Station said defendant sent a prize bull by passenger train with the exclusive use of the horse box.—His Honour gave judgment for the Company with costs.

Rushden Echo, 29th November 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

Railway Signalman’s DeathMr. W. Lucas, for a long time signalman on the Midland Railway at Higham, died from influenza at his home at Finedon on Monday. He had lodged at Mr. Howard’s, 52 Lancaster-street, Higham. He leaves a widow and four children.

Rushden Echo, 18th May 1917, transcribed by Kay Collins

An Interesting Ceremony took place at the Midland Railway station last Friday evening, when Mr. E. T. Cross, chief goods clerk, who is joining the Colours, was presented with a silver cigarette case, a pipe in case, and a tobacco pouch by the staff of the goods and passenger departments. Mr. J. C. Gregory (stationmaster) in making the presentation, referred to Mr. Cross’s valued length of service to the Company, of which 8½ years had been spent at Higham Ferrers. Mr. Cross had been held in high esteem by his fellow employees, and they regretted that the call of duty had brought about a temporary separation. They wished him the best of luck and a speedy return. Similar good wishes were expressed by other members of the staff, Mr. Cross making suitable response.

Rushden Echo & Argus, 3rd September 1937, transcribed by Kay Collins

Avoiding Damage to Roads

When Higham Ferrers needed a new gas main the Gas Company thought of an alternative to the usual digging up of the roads and general inconvenience.

As the picture shows, the pipe is going forward along by the railway track which connects Higham with Rushden.

laying gas main 1937

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