Shock city railway station: Liverpool Road in the 1840s
Between 1838 and 1844 Manchester and Salford were encircled by a ‘spider’s web’ of new railroads and stations owned by various railway companies vying for trade in passengers and goods in and out of the Cottonopolis. New railway stations were perceived as superseding the ‘shock’ railway station, Liverpool Road, notorious as the terminus of the world’s first inter-urban railway which opened in 1830. From its inception, warehouses and sheds at Liverpool Road Station provided space for cotton, grain and bonded goods, rivalling canals for haulage. The closure of the passenger service at Liverpool Road and transfer of this and other services to the magnificent Victoria Station in 1844 marked a change in status for the site, to solely a goods station. Due to their relative invisibility in the city compared with passenger stations, goods termini have attracted little commentary and historians have focussed heavily on the passenger experience. This paper will compare the perceptions of the station in local and national press, and the position the station held logistically and economically in the operations of the Liverpool and Manchester Railway Company (and subsequent owners) demonstrating the significant role of Liverpool Road in continuing to feed and supply the burgeoning city beyond 1844.