Monday, April 7, 2008

Temple Meads Station, Bristol

Before leaving Bristol for the moment, it seemed a good idea to have a look at Temple Meads Station. This of course is an old station, originally opened in 1840 and forming the terminus of Brunel’s Great Western line from London Paddington. Much of the Brunel structure is still standing, but last time I was there, I was struck by the way the sunlight caught a slightly more recent bit of the station, the part added in the 1860s and 1870s, when the three railways who shared the site (the Bristol and Exeter and the Midland were the other two) modified and extended the layout and the buildings.

The new front was designed by Sir Matthew Digby Wyatt. The style is a rather flashy French Gothic, as if the architect had picked up the late-Gothic style of the Houses of Parliament, with its turrets and mullioned windows, and run all the way across the Channel with it. The variegated stone stands out at the best of times, but looks remarkable when stormy evening sunlight catches the masonry. It’s an appropriately cosmopolitan touch in this city that has so long been the starting point for great journeys.


Peter Ashley said...

Coo what good lighting Phil. How long did you have to wait? If it was me I'd have been looking out of a pub window for two hours, but I expect you just casually strolled up and went 'click'.

Philip Wilkinson said...

I was rounding the corner at speed, thinking I might just make it for my train when this shaft of sunlight hit the station front full-on. It lasted about half a minute. The train was late.