Contributed by Ron Redgewell
It is 150 years ago that two of the three great visionary engineers died, Isambard Kingdom Brunel and Robert Stephenson, together with the third Joseph Locke who died the following year, they laid the foundations for the UK’s railway network. Joseph Locke was responsible, among much else, for the Grand Junction Railway, which opened in 1837, and was more than 82 miles long from Birmingham to Warrington linking with the Liverpool and Manchester line. Whitmore was the main station for North Staffordshire with equal status to Wolverhampton and Crewe. In 1846 this company merged with others to form the London and North Western Railway, all trains stopped at Whitmore, expresses included. The station received to and fro mail and goods traffic for Shrewsbury, Newcastle, and the Pottery towns, Stoke station did not exist .The nearby water plant provided water for the railway take-up water troughs, enabling later expresses to run non-stop over long distances.
An event of major importance took place on the 29th June 1937 when The Coronation engine, no.6220, set a world record of 115mph through Whitmore creating world-wide publicity. It was followed by an aircraft providing BBC Radio outside broadcast coverage. The event as recorded can be viewed on ‘YouTube-The 1937 Coronation Scot record run’.
Alas, with the development of the railway network, Whitmore became of little importance, all that remains now is the Station Master’s house, listed Grade II, and the boarded up booking office that from old photographs appears to be unchanged since it was first opened. The structure maybe an integral part of the railway bridge, probably helping its survival. The Parish Council in association with the Civic Society are hoping to mount a Blue Plaque on the facade to commemorate its heritage. Our thanks to Parish Councillor Bill Murray and Council Clerk Derek Pitt for additional information.