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The Railway Goods Shed and Warehouse in England

Front cover for The Railway Goods Shed and Warehouse in England

Paperback by John Minnis, Simon Hickman


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Although goods traffic accounted in many cases for a higher proportion of railway companies' revenue than passengers, the buildings associated with it have received very little attention in comparison to their passenger counterparts. They once played as important a role in distribution as the 'big sheds' near motorway junctions do today.

The book shows how the basic design of goods sheds evolved early in the history of railways, and how the form of goods sheds reflected the function they performed. Although goods sheds largely functioned in the same way, there was considerable scope for variety of architectural expression in their external design. The book brings out how they varied considerably in size from small timber huts to the massive warehouses seen in major cities. It also looks at how many railway companies developed standard designs for these buildings towards the end of the 19th century and at how traditional materials such as timber, brick and stone gave way to steel and concrete in the 20th century.

This building type is subject to a high level of threat with development pressure in urban and suburban areas for both car parking and housing having already accounted for the demise of many of these buildings. Despite this, some 600 have been identified as still extant and the book will, for the first time, provide a comprehensive gazetteer of the surviving examples.


  1. How a goods shed functioned
  2. The origins and evolution of the goods shed
  3. Plan forms
  4. Company designs
  5. Large goods sheds and warehouses
  6. The 20th-century goods shed and warehouse
  7. Conservation - by Simon Hickman

Additional Information

  • Printed Price: £14.99
  • Series: Informed Conservation
  • Publication Status: Completed
  • Format: Paperback
  • Physical Size: 210 x 210 mm
  • Pages: 140
  • Illustration: 85, colour and black & white
  • ISBN: 9781848023284


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Railway Goods Shed and Warehouse in England image gallery

Please click on the gallery images to enlarge.

  • A country goods yard belonging to the East & West Junction Railway at Byfield, photographed in 1904.
  • The 1830 Liverpool & Manchester Railway warehouse as it stands today
  • A characteristic type of goods shed now being used as offices.
  • A goods shed, integrated with a passenger station, Pulborough, dating from 1859 featuring and awning on the platform side and lunettes.
  • Isfield, one of the smallest types of goods shed, called a 'lock-up goods, built in 1898. The ramp and canopy were added after the site became a heritage railway.
  • Yate (1844), the only survivor of Brunel's small Gothic goods sheds put up a wayward stations.
  • Photographed in the 1960s, Axbridge (1869) displays the enthusiasm for decorative bargeboards.
  • The Cheshire Lines Committee warehouse at Warrington (1897), made full use of the advertising possibilities offer on its façade to promote the three companies.
  • The Huddersfield warehouse (1885) with its external, hydraulically powered wagon hoist for taking wagons to the second floor of the building.

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