scotland (4K)
The Friends of the Far North Line
Cairdean Na Loine Tuath
the campaign group for rail north of Inverness - lobbying for improved services for the local user, tourist and freight operator

Jubilee Refreshment Rooms, Sowerby Bridge Station

Chris Wright and his brother Andrew, members of FoFNL, have given a new lease of life to the old Victorian ticket office, long disused, on Sowerby Bridge station.

It has taken many years of negotiation with the British Rail Board, the property arm of BR, then Railtrack plc, followed by Network Rail. In the meantime, the train operators also had to be consulted.

But at last the brothers have got what they were after, a 20-year lease on the large stone property built in 1876 and last used as a ticket office in 1983. They opened in July 2008.

They have given the refreshment room the Jubilee name after the last class of steam locomotive to operate in Calderdale. The brothers have transformed the previously disused office with many original features including sliding sash windows and the clay pipes used by its builders in 1876. They have made the assumption that the last ticket clerk to work here was a man of fixed habits. Underneath where he sat was a crack in the floor and beneath that in the cellar Chris found a pile of pipe ash almost as tall as he is.

In the foundations were bits of old clay pipes with harps embossed on them, left behind by the Irish navvies. The iconic clock belonging to John Tempest Jewellers, which was based on Commercial Street, Halifax, is also now hanging in the building.

Compiled from articles in the Yorkshire Post and "The Evening Courier", Halifax