Memories of the Meldreth Station Goods Yard

Keith Jacklin remembers the village blacksmith. Click on the audio link at the top of the page to hear Keith's memories.
photo by Tim Gane

Click the ‘play’ button on the adjacent sound bar to hear Keith talk about his memories of the goods yard.

In the 1920’s the Railway Station was a very busy place.  In addition to passengers travelling to London, quite a few of the important people in the village travelled to London every day as there were hardly any cars about then. 

It also included the coal yard which was very busy.  The coal merchant was a Mr Ralph Webb who had a series of flat bottomed, four wheeled trucks which used to go round villages delivering sacks of coal.  They were all prepared in the coal yard.  As regards the railway, in addition to the passenger trains we had two goods trains a day, one in the morning and one in the afternoon.  They stopped at Meldreth and shunted off all the full trucks and collected all the empty trucks and in those days there was a raised ramp (where the car park is now), raised alongside the rail siding so that any vehicles bringing fruit or veg. or anything to be loaded could pull up onto the ramp and put it straight into the trucks.  Mostly box trucks they were; it was quite a performance with the goods train coming in and having to pull up and shunt the train stock into the sidings.  Once they were in the sidings they were then moved by two horses.  There were stables there just inside the station gate where the two horses were kept – I can’t tell you the names of the horses now.  The latter part of the time it was a Mr Mead who was the horse keeper and he used to pull all the trucks about after the goods train had gone and if they wanted them moved somewhere else he did it with his two horses.  There was also, which is still there, a big goods shed (now a factory).  They had a weighbridge outside and everything that came in was weighed and everything that went out was weighed and all goods, large parcels or anything like that, they were all despatched from this goods shed.  Also, there was an extension line from the station up to the Whaddon Road cement works to enable the coke to go to the cement works for burning the chalk and also to bring the cement back as there were no lorries about then as such. 

There were some very interesting people who used to use the line, one was Mr Hubert Ellis, he was something quite high up in law in London and if anyone upset him in any way his one stock phrase was “I’ll have the law on you.”  Especially us boys whenever he caught us on any of his properties!

Perhaps you have some memories of the Meldreth Station Goods Yard?  Is so we’d love to hear them.  Please add a comment below.

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