Nottingham Victoria railway station was a Great Central Railway and Great Northern Railway railway station in Nottingham, England. It was designed by the architect Albert Edward Lambert, who also designed the rebuild of the Nottingham Midland station (now known more simply as Nottingham Station).
It was opened by the Nottingham Joint Station Committee on 24 May 1900 and closed on 4 September 1967 by the London Midland Region of British Railways. The station building was entirely demolished (except for the clock tower) and the Victoria Centre shopping centre was built on the site, incorporating the old station clock tower into the main entrance on Milton Street (continuation of Mansfield Road).
In 1893 the Manchester, Sheffield and Lincolnshire Railway obtained authorisation to extend its North Midlands railway network into London. This new line was opened on 15 March 1899 and became known as the “London Extension”, stretching from Annesley to a new station at Marylebone in London. The line passed through Nottingham where a new station was to be built.
Nottingham Victoria Station in the early 1900s. On the right of the picture is the Victoria Hotel, now a Hilton hotel.
The main station building was in true Victorian splendour. It was constructed in a Renaissance style using the best quality red faced bricks and Darley Dale stone with space at the front for Hackney carriages which was covered by a canopy. It faced on to the confluence of Mansfield Road and Milton Street for some 250 feet (76 m).
The three-storey building was dominated by a large 100-foot (30 m) clock tower topped with a cupola and weather vane. At the north end of the building, access could be gained to the parcels office via two large metal gates. Once inside the building on the ground floor level, one reached the large and lofty booking hall. It was over 100 feet (30 m) long and 66 feet (20 m) wide, and contained the best quality pine and a hard wearing oak floor along with a gallery on each side to gain access to spacious offices on the first floor. The booking hall contained seven ticket-issuing windows, three each for the Great Central and Great Northern, and one for excursion traffic; a clock-type train indicator served all platforms. An iron overbridge led from the booking hall and spanned the platforms, to which it was connected by four broad staircases. A small footbridge at the end provided access to the island platforms at the south end, themselves connected to a side exit leading on to Parliament Street.
The station itself comprised two large island platforms, each between 1,250 feet (380 m) and 1,270 feet (390 m) long, with two bays at each end for local traffic giving a total of 12 platform faces. Upon each island platform were dining and tea rooms together with kitchens, sleeping facilities for staff, waiting rooms and lavatories; all these buildings were, like the rest of the station, lined with glazed tiles which were generally buff in colour and embellished with a chocolate dado. Large 42 feet 6 inches (12.95 m) steel pillars held up an enormous 3-part glazed canopy measuring 450 feet (140 m) in length, with a centre span of 83 feet 3 inches (25.37 m) and a pair of flanking spans each of 63 feet 9 inches (19.43 m). There were additional glass roofs over the double-bay platforms, each carried on central pillars. An electrically-lit subway system, below track level and covering the breadth of the station, could be used for transporting luggage, thereby avoiding the need to carry it over the footbridges. The subway was linked to the main station by four lifts serving respectively the booking hall, cloakroom and two island platforms. The refreshment rooms had their own underground subway and lifts.
The station had passing loops round all platforms (for freight), two signal boxes and two turntables. The two signal boxes were positioned at the north and south ends of the station and controlled entry and exit to the tunnels that allowed entry to the complex. The traffic that passed through was very varied. It included London–Manchester expresses, local services, cross-country services (e.g. from York to Bristol via Oxford) as well as freight workings. As the station was shared with The Great Northern Railway (already well established when Victoria opened), a superb network of lines going to many destinations was available from the one station.
During the 1960s the whole Great Central route was being run down by diverting services away from it, cutting others and slowing down expresses to very slack timetables. Locomotives and rolling stock were unreliable and old; the line did not benefit from British Rail’s new diesel locomotives. As passenger numbers fell, either going by car or other lines, closure seemed inevitable. The last through service from Nottingham to London ran on 3 September 1966. All that was left was a DMU service between Nottingham and Rugby. Victoria station was finally closed on 4 September 1967 and demolished (amidst much opposition) leaving only the clocktower to survive amongst the Victoria Shopping Centre and flats. Goods trains continued to pass through the site of Victoria until May 1968, with two running lines left in place amidst the demolition of the main station.
The site is now occupied by the Victoria Shopping Centre and housing in the form of Victoria Flats – Nottingham’s tallest building (256 feet / 72m tall). The new structure incorporates the original station’s clock tower. From the bottom level of the shopping centre’s car park, in the former station’s deep cutting, the site of the entrance of Mansfield Road railway tunnel remains visible.
Upon the closure of the Great Central railway and the Great Northern/London and North Western Joint line to Melton Mowbray (via Barnstone), Nottingham also lost smaller stations: Nottingham London Road High Level and Nottingham London Road Low Level.
Nottingham’s other mainline station, Nottingham Midland, remains in service.
Current redevelopment plans for the Victoria Shopping Centre will see an extension built northwards filling in the last section of the former stations deep cutting and concealing the entrance to the Mansfield Road Tunnel.