07/05/2024 - Permalink

People invited to share memories of Oswestry’s Cambrian Railway building

Related topics: Assets and estates / Partner organisations

People are being invited to share their memories of the Cambrian Railway building in Oswestry, as part of work to help decide a viable future use for this historically significant building.

An engagement exercise – led by heritage specialists Donald Insall Associates on behalf of Shropshire Council – begins today (Tuesday 7 May 2024).

Memories and stories can be submitted via the Shropshire Council website, or by completing a paper form that can be collected from Oswestry Library and returned to the Cambrian Railway building,

Photos or longer stories can be sent via email: consultancy@insall-architects.co.uk

Memories and stories submitted will be shared at a public event in the summer.

Dean Carroll, Shropshire Council’s Cabinet member for housing and assets, said:

 “Shropshire Council took possession of this historic building last year, to help secure a viable long term use for it, and I’m delighted that work to repair and bring it back into use is progressing. Now we want people to tell us their memories of what has been a really important building for Oswestry for a very long time.”

Kate Martyn from Donald Insall Associates said:

“We’re asking people, has your family worked at the station or for the railway line, or travelled from there? Have you, or a family member, worked in the goods and loco sheds, or in the quarries that were served by the line?

“Do you have any recollection of the building’s uses since the railway was closed in 1966? Perhaps you remember its days as an auction house, DIY store, restaurant, tourist information centre or pharmacy, or perhaps you lived in the upstairs flats or worked in the offices.

“What makes the building important, and why? Is it because of the importance that the railways played in Oswestry’s history? Its architecture? The stories of the people who have lived and worked there over the year? Please let us know.”

 The Grade II-listed building, originally opened in 1866, is understood to have had multiple uses since it ceased operating as a railway station in 1966. Following many years of neglect Shropshire Council took possession of the building in early 2023, after it had suffered storm damage the previous year. The ground floor is currently let to Cambrian Heritage Railways, a local railway charity, and the first floor is vacant and unlet.

Due to deterioration, the building requires repair and a plan for sustainable future use.

Urgent exterior work, funded by the UK Shared Prosperity Fund and with match funding from Shropshire Council, is currently underway to make the exterior of the building safe and waterproof. Once that this is completed the council will lead internal work that is required to bring the building back into a suitable end use.

Funding has been secured to undertake more detailed building surveys and to commission a Conservation Management Plan (CMP). These surveys and the CMP are being undertaken in parallel to the essential external works before a recommended end-use(s) and business case is brought back to Shropshire Council’s Cabinet in the second half of 2024.