A previous Blog told the story of a large horse hospital in the centre of town at Lady’s Bridge but a little-known smaller site sits less than a mile away. You probably drive past it everyone day at the bottom of the Parkway and barely even give it a second glance, but its history is quite fascinating.

In late Victorian times Britain’s burgeoning railway network sprouted everywhere and in 1895 the London and North Western Railway open its City Goods Station on Bernard Road near to the Nunnery Colliery which had been operating since the 1860s. However goods movement expanded at a pace and a new and larger goods station was needed nearer to the Midland Station and this then became City Goods Station. The smaller original one became Nunnery Goods Station and served the colliery until coal production ceased in the late 1950s.

The attractive little station house actually survived until it was demolished in 2011. The other two Grade II listed surviving buildings are the stable block and the sick-bay, and the latter was rescued from near dereliction recently, given an excellent makeover, and is now an office block. There were no takers to do a similar scheme on the stable block so it is proposed to turn it into residential use, but probably on an aparthotel or Airbnb basis.

The building was latterly used for car repairs and there are only two internal walls dividing it into three units. The new scheme will alter this drastically as seven units will be created and in six of them a first floor deck with staircase to the bedroom will be created.

The internal roof design is of a very interesting king post design but when this sub-division takes place most of the roof trusses will be lost to the eye. The new internal walls will be placed to minimise this effect, but nevertheless the feel of the use of the original building will be lost.

Most of the original stone floor and timber stalls have gone but what remains of the floor will be retained but covered by new suspended timber floors which will be demountable if so required in the future. The cart doors, which aren’t original anyway, are to be replaced with timber curtain walling which will incorporate entrance doors. More entrance doors will be created by converting 3 of the original windows.

If you drive down Bernard Road and look at the other elevation you will notice that the existing windows are set at a very high level which means no privacy problems, but the views could be better unless you like looking at the Mega Centre! However this is more than compensated for by the generous floor spaces inside.

When the scheme came before the Conservation Advisory Group there were concerns that 30 new roof lights were proposed which were more of a domestic nature than industrial look. Hopefully this has now been resolved as the numbers have been halved and the end result will be more in keeping.

Still on the subject of the roofline, some of the cowls need replacing and these are to be replicated in the original design. All the new leadwork will be treated with Smartwater – so thieves beware! This is an excellent idea which should be rolled out as the norm. The recent news that 10 tons of lead has gone missing from listed buildings on Brighton sea-front just shows what a problem this is becoming.

Stable block Bernard Road
Stable block Bernard Road

Car parking for the development is to be nearby in a well-lit area which is unfortunately not overlooked by the inhabitants, although there will be a barrier in place. The temptation will be to park on the stone cobbled setts which are in front of the stables and which are to be restored and renewed where necessary. So set conditions will be set to not park on the setts to set an example. Comprendez ?

All in all this is not a bad scheme which will bring a listed building into use and save it from future dereliction. Permission had already been granted for a nightclub but this scheme turned out to be not viable.

Just think, had this other scheme gone through, the sound of clip-clop would have been replaced by the sound of hip-hop!


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