RESTORATION OF THE ORIGINAL GWR CHELTENHAM RACECOURSE STATION TICKET OFFICE
This building was completed around 1908 and was built to a modular design at one time common on the GWR network. The building is one of very few structures from that era that survives in the UK and it is believed that its unique galvanised steel sheet roofing system (patented by Messrs Taylors of Birmingham) is the only surviving example left of this technology in the UK. In the later years of BR ownership, maintenance of the building was neglected and following its transfer to the Gloucestershire Warwickshire Railway it suffered very significant vandalism due to its isolated location and disuse. In the period 1993/94 the building was set on fire 3 times and was very severely damaged. The GWSR Board were so concerned that the building could not be adequately secure and structural damage was so severe that demolition was considered. In 1994 Bob Stark gained support from Westbury Homes to stabilise the building and provide materials for volunteers to begin the long task of restoration.
Initially the building was boarded up with construction plywood and reinforced with second hand scrap “defence” materials obtained from a MOD source known to Bob. With the building better secured, sponsorship for a free electricity installation(from MEB) and the supply of water from the outside fire hydrant supply(Severn Trent) was gained. Tea could now be made on site! The Cheltenham Area Group’s 5 year plan pledged to restore the building to a state fit for passenger use without cost to the Railway. It was ready for the Royal Opening in 2003 and contributed to the Railway getting the Heritage Railway Award in 2003. During the early years of restoration vandals twice broke into the building and stole tools and equipment. As restoration proceeded walls were reinforced with steel, attacks diminished and today the building is protected by various remote security systems. Its restoration is testament to thee work of our volunteers and to the very generous support of local businesses.