Old Photographs: Leicester Demolition 1

A selection of photographs of Great Central Railway buildings and bridges south through Leicester to the Central Station around the time of demolition.

Unfortunately, there are no photographs of the demolition of Leicester Central, though these are available on the Railway Archive site.

Belgrave and Birstall station

Belgrave & Birstall staion, GCR

The original station of Belgrave and Birstall in 1976, looking south, when the track was in the process of being taken up.  Later the much vandalised station buildings were demolished by the new Great Central Railway.
Leicester North was built as a terminus station beyond the end of the platform shown here, and the track was relayed in a new layout.

Derelict Belgrave & Birstall staion, GCR

By 1981 the buildings at Belgrave and Birstall were showing severe effects of vandalism, and later had to be completely demolished for safety reasons.

Derelict Belgrave & Birstall staion, GCR

Another view of the derelict Belgrave and Birstall station in 1981.

Belgrave & Birstall station platform

This was the view of the cleared Belgrave & Birstall station in the late 1980s when the public footpath alongside was being laid.

Belgrave & Birstall Station Master's House

The Belgrave and Birstall station master’s house in a woeful and dangerous state in summer 2001, before demolition.
This is now the site of the Greenacres site with the “Platform” restaurant.

GCR embankment removal, Red Hill Way, Leicester

In the late 1980s the high embankment just to the south of Belgrave & Birstall station was removed to make way for a new section of the ring road.  The work has just started in this view, looking east and standing on what would become Red Hill Way.

GCR embankment removal, Red Hill Way, Leicester

Looking east from the top of the embankment along the line of the new ring road towards Red Hill roundabout where preperations are under way for the flyover which was to be built there.  The embankment here has been replaced by a footbridge over the ring road, Red Hill Way.

GCR embankment removal, Red Hill Way, Leicester

This is the view from the top of the embankment looking south towards Leicester.  This spot is now on the entrance road leading to Leicester North station on the preserved Great Central Railway.

Road bridges south towards Leicester

Great Central road bridge atThurcaston Road being demolished

Thurcaston Road bridge during demolition, looking north, Sept 1979.

Great Central Railway track bed, Millbrook Walk, Leicester

Looking south along the trackbed, just south of Thurcaston Road, showing the small bridge over Millbrook Walk.  This is the site, now very overgrown and bridge long gone, of a rejected planning application made in December 2007 for dwellings and a linear park.

Beaumont Leys Lane bridge, GCR

The west side of the bridge over Beaumont Leys Lane immediately prior to demolition in Sept. 1981.  The embankment has been partially removed on both sides, ready for work to begin.

Beaumont Leys Lane bridge, GCR, under demolition

The east side of the bridge with demolition nearing completion.

Blackbird Road bridge, GCR

The bridge over Blackbird Road in the late 1970s.

Blackbird Road bridge, GCR, under demolition

Blackbird Road bridge with demolition well under way, 1979.

Blackbird Road bridge, GCR, under demolition

Panoramic photograph looking north over the partially demolished Blackbird Road bridge.

Devonshire road bridge, GCR, under demolition

The final girder of the Devonshire Road bridge is here being cut up, looking west.

North Viaduct

River Soar  bridge, GCR, under demolition

The north viaduct and the bridge over the River Soar has one span completely removed, in the snow in 1979.

 bridge, GCR, under demolition

The bridge over the river Soar, looking north, with the demolition crane poised to complete the job.

 bridge, GCR, under demolition

The remains of the southern span lay forlornly in the snow.

 bridge, GCR, under demolition

Shortly afterwards demolition of the remaining span was well under way.

A few weeks later and the all of the girders have been removed, looking north from on top of the viaduct.

River Soar bridge, GCR, after removal of girders

The site of the double span bridge across the River Soar, looking south west from Saint Margaret’s Way, with the centre support still in position in the middle of the river.  The scene looked similar to this for over 20 years.

Demolition of GCR viaduct, next to river Soar, Leicester
Demolition of GCR viaduct, next to river Soar, Leicester

In October 2004 the viaduct on the north part of the river was demolished.  The resulting rubble was used to strengthen the bank of the river and allow a little extension of the caravan sales area.

The photograph above was taken from Saint Margaret’s Way, and the photograph on the left, of the other side of the viaduct, was taken from Abbey Gate.

Demolition of GCR bridge over Slater Street, Leicester

Oxy-acetylene cutting under way on the bridge over Slater Street, in the middle of the north viaduct.  Looking west, 1982.

Northgate Street and ex-Great Central Railway

Panoramic view along Northgate Street shortly before demolition started in 1982.  On the left is the bridge over the canal while on the right is the magnificent skew bridge leading into the Central Station which is out of sight.

Ex-Great Central Railway bridge over Grand Union Canal, Leicester

The bridge over the Grand Union Canal in 1982, looking west. In the background is the brick bridge carrying Northgate Street across the canal.

Grand Union Canal from GCR bridge, Leicester

View from the bridge over the canal looking west, just as a Midland Red “D9” bus is heading along Northgate Street towards the city centre.

Ex-Great Central Railway bridge over Grand Union Canal, Leicester

The bridge over the canal from the west.

Demolition of the ex-Great Central Railway bridge over Grand Union Canal, Leicester

A few weeks later, immediately after the demolition of the length of viaduct shown below, the bridge over the canal was demolished. Looking east, 1982.

Demolition of the ex-Great Central Railway north viaduct, Leicester

The sad sight of demolition of the viaduct between Northgate Street and the canal, in 1982.

Retrieving bricks during the demolition of the ex-Great Central Railway north viaduct, Leicester

During the demolition of the part of the north viaduct between Northgate Street and the canal in 1982 the preserved Great Central Railway was given the opportunity of rescuing anything of use before it was crushed.  Volunteer workers are selecting some of the special bricks which would be especially useful in repairing bridges.

Great Central Railway track bed, Leicester

Looking south through Northgate Street bridge and over the cleared site of Leicester Central station using a telephoto lens, 1980.  The lens has made the Pex building, alongside the Braunstone Gate viaduct, look much closer.

Northgate Street bridge, GCR, Leicester

Some buildings were very close to the bridge and must have been very noisy when a train went over.

Northgate Street bridge, GCR, Leicester

Northgate Street bridge, looking south towards Leicester Central Station,1980.

Northgate Street bridge under demolition, GCR, Leicester

Northgate Street bridge after demolition has started, 1981

Northgate Street bridge under demolition, GCR, Leicester

The sad sight of Northgate Street bridge with demolition nearly complete, 1981

Van Damme Bar with Northgate Street bridge under demolition, GCR, Leicester

The view looking along Northgate Street would never be the same without the railway bridge.  Soon to follow would be the viaduct on the left and later the Van Damme Bar, which was originally the Great Central Hotel.

Around Leicester Central Station

Soar Lane bridge, GCR

The start of demolition of the bridge over Soar Lane, at the north end of Leicester Central Station, looking west, 1983.  The Great Central Hotel, on the right, had become the Van Damme Bar, but was now closed and boarded up and was later demolished too.

Demolition of the bridge over Soar Lane is well advanced, looking west.

Soar Lane bridge, GCR, under demolition

The final girder of the bridge across Soar Lane is brought down, looking east, 1983.

See the page Old Photographs: Leicester Demolition 2 for photographs of demolition south through Leicester from the Central station.

Unfortunately, there are no photographs here of the demolition of Leicester Central station, though these are available on the Railway Archive site.

Old Photographs Section

© 2001-2017   Text and photographs copyright Nigel Tout, unless otherwise indicated.