Impact of Railways on Towns

Main Themes and Motifs

  • Demolition of buildings to make way for railways
  • Building of railway stations.


1830-39   054; 141
1840-49   240; 503; 327
1850-59   645
1860-69   008
1870-79   136

Historical Background

Terminus stations were most often built on the edge of towns but where they did go into to a city, they went where the poor people lived - usually on the east side so that the prevailing wind blew smoke away from the rich folk dwelling in the west.

Railway companies who demanded the demolition of whole neighbourhoods - like those swept away to make space for New Street Station in Birmingham -sometimes thought it better to make payments to tenants rather than run the risk of the social disorder likely to result from mass eviction of thousands of people with nowhere to go. In contrast to their tenants, land owners could make large amounts of money.

Park Village [Camden town] , 26th August 1836. By John Cooke Bourne