Tempsford Station around 1880 [Z527/20]
Tempsford Station lay on the Great Northern railway line from London to Peterborough and, eventually, on to York. The line’s engineer, responsible for planning it, was William Cubitt and the contractor responsible for building it was Thomas Brassey who later worked on the Midland Railway line. The act allowing the building of the railway was passed in 1846 and it opened on 7th August 1850. To begin with the service operated from Maiden Lane in London, before the King’s Cross terminus opened in 1852. In Bedfordshire the line included stations in the following places: Arlesey, Langford, Biggleswade, Sandy, Everton, Tempsford and Little Barford.
In 1923 the Great Northern Railway Company amalgamated with six other companies: Great Eastern Railway; Great Central Railway; Great North of Scotland Railway; Hull and Barnsley Railway; North British Railway and North Eastern Railway. The new company was called the London and North Eastern Railway (LNER). The railway carriages were painted a bright apple green. The Flying Scotsman was an LNER engine, built in the year the company was formed and would have passed through Tempsford on its way to and from London.
The Rating and Valuation Act 1925 specified that every building and piece of land in the country was to be assessed to determine its rateable value. The valuer visiting the station [DV1/C157/62-68] noted the stationmaster’s house and a row of six railway workers’ cottages.
The stationmaster at the time was A W Bellamy and his accommodation consisted of a parlour, a living room, a scullery and three bedrooms with a boxroom. Outside stood a barn and earth closet and there was a garden. The valuer noted: “water laid on” and “right on Line”. The workers’ cottages each consisted of a parlour, living room, scullery and three bedrooms. Outside were barn and earth closet (“good”). The valuer considered the houses “well built” though they were only twenty yards from the line. The tenants each paid 4/7 per month in rent deducted from their wages - they were (north to south): G Hartland; A. Braybrooks; A. Barley; A. Whorton; A. J. Halsey and G. R. Slingsby.
On 1st January 1948 the railway companies were nationalised as British Railways. Tempsford station had not much longer to exist, being closed on 5th November 1956.