Eastbourne Station, Sussex

Eastbourne Station, Terminus Road, Eastbourne, Sussex. Frederick Dale Banister (1823-1897; Chief Engineer to the London Brighton & South Coast Railway). 1886. This particularly appealing late-Victorian station was a replacement for an earlier station of 1849, built when the town, less than twenty miles from Brighton, was beginning to flourish as a South Coast seaside resort. "The large seaside towns on LBSCR all finished up with ample and often impressive stations consonant with their importance as traffic generators," explain David St John Thomas and Patrick Whitehouse: "Eastbourne, rebuilt in the late 1880s, received a spacious building adorned with a corner clock tower and displaying a fine eclectic conceit; one can detect Italianate, gothic and French Renaissance treatment" (88). Notice the light streaming in from the "large pagoda-like lantern," and the "French-style pyramidal roof" of the clock-tower ("Our Transport Heritage").

Banister was a very experienced civil engineer and architect, working at the height of his career. Born in London, he had a long connection with railway engineering, having been responsible, for example, for the South London Extension to London Bridge, on its impressive viaduct. But he had also built waterworks, model dwellings, the Cliftonville Estate in Brighton, and docks. His most important work was perhaps the busy Newhaven Harbour. He had long had a practice in Brighton and was described in his obituary as "of a warm-hearted and generous disposition, and a staunch friend" (361). Perhaps it is not too fanciful to say that his personality can be felt in this cheerful seaside station building.

Left: Close-up of clock-tower. Right: Bright and airy interior. [Click on thumbnails for larger images.] Photographs and text by Jacqueline Banerjee, 2010.

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Obituary of F. D. Banister. Minutes of the Proceedings, Vol. 131 (1898): 359-361. ICE [Institute of Civil Engineers] Virtual Library (always a useful site for civil engineers). Web. 6 November 2010.

"Our Transport Heritage" (Transport Trust: Transport Heritage site). This has a good bibliography. Web. 6 November 2010.

Thomas, David St. John, and Patrick Whitehouse. SR 150: A Century and a Half of the Southern Railway. Newton Abbot: David & Charles, 2002.

Last modified 14 November 2010