Looking across the platforms and trackbeds

The old railway station at Christ’s Hospital, known as ‘West Horsham Christ’s Hospital’, was opened at the start of the 20th Century, at the time the Christ’s Hospital school relocated from London because they wanted more rural surroundings. The school contributed to the cost of constructing the station, which consisted of seven platforms when it originally opened.

The size of the station in such a rural area owes itself to planned development of a large town for which it could serve, however Christ’s Hospital had already bought much of the surrounding land, probably to prevent too much building around them…precisely why they wanted to move out of London. As such, the town never materialised, and although the extra lines, heading directly to Guildford, were well used, the ticket sales at the station remained low (due also in part to the school pupils boarding, thus not needing to travel every day) and the Horsham to Guildford line was closed in 1965.

Trackbed with platforms either side
Trackbed with platforms

The station was subsequently reduced, and the grand station building was demolished in 1972, at the same time the number of platforms was reduced to two. Some of the railway beds remain in place and form part of the Downs Link and other public footpaths, the buildings have long since been demolished, and all that remains beyond the two existing Christ’s Hospital platforms are a number of overgrown platforms and track beds. A bricked up arch at the end of the subway is the only trace visible in the current station.

You can’t get to the disused platforms via the station, though there is a footpath just before you enter the car park, and they are easily accessible this way.

When I went it was early dusk, I had quite a trek back home but it was still light when I got back. That’s not to say it wasn’t slightly eerie being there on my own. It was incredibly quiet. The photos are deceiving…every picture included here was taken with a 5-25 second exposure on a tripod so it looks like daylight. I did take videos but they’re even poorer quality than the Blair Witch Project (although probably more atmospheric), so I’m not going to include them here. Also nearby are a pair of derelict cottages which were inhabited by dairy workers whose job it was to load milk from the dairy onto the trains. Exploration of these, though, is for another day.

Yesterday I took a second visit to the Second World War pillbox, just on the outside of Horsham. There are a number of pillboxes in and around Horsham itself, but they form part of a greater line of defences called the Arun-Ouse Stop Line, the first major line of defences inland from the coast, in case of a land attack from the Germans crossing from France.

I’ll spare you the history lesson, my original post is here. This time, I had a remote control unit for the flashgun so I could remotely trigger it, so here are some of my highlights from the results in a gallery, you can use left or right keyboard arrows to scroll:

I’ve already posted about a couple of trips that I made this week, now I’m getting round to my third trip; to a derelict nuclear bunker.

The Royal Observer Corps (ROC) was actually founded in 1925, but in the 1950s with the threat of nuclear war from Russia, they were tasked with monitoring the fallout from any nuclear attack. A network of bunkers were built across the country, in groups of three or four that could communicate with each other, and a master post that had radio communication. Each bunker was 7-8 miles apart, with more than 1,500 across the country. By 1991, all of the posts had been shut down. Around the country, some still exist, a few are accessible, and even fewer are in good condition. I’m no historian, but plenty of information is available on the history of the group.

I was lucky enough to visit one such post that is still in good condition, with several items from the original inventory still present inside. This post was opened in 1961, and closed in 1991, so it was among the last to remain active after many were closed in the late 1960s. Some photos are below.

entrance to monitoring post
Heavily overgrown entrance to the post
Inside you can see the lower half of the bunk bed and part of the original cupboard. Above the dartboard is one of the ventilation shafts which also the route to some of the measuring equipment on the surface
Inside you can see the lower half of the bunk bed and part of the original cupboard. Above the dartboard is one of the ventilation shafts which also the route to some of the measuring equipment on the surface
Cupboard contents
Cupboard contents including the original toilet paper. Some items are more recent (eg tinned potatoes, best before December 2013)
doorway
Doorway to the ladder access and chemical toilet
Ventilation system
I understand that this is part of an experimental ventilation system that was being tested

It didn’t rain, so I went out with my camera today. I actually went out exploring twice; I’ll do a separate post for the other trip which was just a few iPhone snaps.

This Second World War bunker formed part of the Arun-Ouse Stop Line,  as the area was thought to be one of the major routes towards London. This particular pillbox is anti-infantry, based on the small holes overlooking the bridge. Nothing much bigger than a light machine gun would fit through these, and there are pairs of blocks on the floor for the guns’ supports. I think this is a Type 24 pillbox, more information here at the Pillbox Study Group. Despite my research it was quite difficult to find, but once you know it is fairly easy to get to.

Outside Outside
Entrance to PillboxOutside Gun opening Graffiti Graffiti Bottle

We moved house at the beginning of March this year, and most of our things are still packed away in boxes. I kept my digital camera equipment out so I could use it, and obviously, I haven’t. In fact excepting a few iPhone imports to be done, my most recent folder in my Lightroom catalogue is from way back in January.

So, it’s about time this changed…I’m preparing to go on a trip to scout out some abandoned buildings around Horsham. I’ve taken a strong interest in graveyards, churches and derelict buildings recently, partly as a result of a lovely book; Beauty in Decay (see my Goodreads profile, right), and partly because I’ve been reviewing a number of my images with HDR, and my favourite ones have been the old buildings and churchyards. Perhaps I’ll get to publishing my own book one day….

In the mean time, there are a number of World War II pillboxes around Horsham, forming part of the Arun Line, the first inland line of defences against the Germans after the coastal defences. I hope today to be able to find and photograph at least one of them

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