A station fit for the 21st century is due to open in Hassocks in mid June but a fascinating relic from the village’s railway past has just been unearthed.
Margaret Ford, who chairs the Hassocks Amenity Association said: “I had a phone call from the National Rail Museum at York to say they had some stained glass labelled ‘Hassocks’.
“After some digging around, I found that the original Victorian station had a refreshment room with stained glass in but I have not found anyone who can remember it.”
Margaret is as certain as she can be that the glass came from the refreshment room and she would like a pane incorporated into the new station.
A spokesman for Southern said: “We will certainly be looking at ways in which we could possibly display the glass at the station, should the museum confirm it is prepared to release it and ownership is established.If it does become available, we will work with Network Rail, the Amenity Association and local station management to explore the options.”
The striking Victorian station was opened in 1881 and replaced an earlier building constructed when the Brighton Line opened in 1841.
The 1881 station was constructed by James Longley & Co of Crawley and built in the same style as stations on the Bluebell line that were modelled on a Victorian country cottage, with gabled porches, decorateive brick eves, flower outlines on the woodwork and tile-hung Wealden red tiling.
Margaret said: “It was all part of the Victorian nostalgia for the rural idyll.”
Sadly, the Victorian station was demolished by British Rail in 1973 and replaced with a single-storey structure which became an eyesore.
The new station is scheduled to open on June 13, with an official opening in July. Work will then begin on installing lifts and refurbishing the damp, brick-lined subway.
The campaign for a new station was started twelve years ago by the late Gina Field from Hurstpierpoint, a regular commuter who felt the 1973 building was no longer fit for purpose.
Members of the rail group attached to the Amenity Association kept up the pressure and their campaign became a shining example of what could be achieved by a small pressure group.
If you remember the Victorian station and especially the refreshments room please contact dianne jones on 01444 419577 or email: firstname.lastname@example.org. We will pass your comments on to Margaret Ford.