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Beach Station now only a memory

PUBLISHED: 20:05 12 April 2004 | UPDATED: 04:46 02 March 2010

FELIXSTOWE Beach Station is today nothing more than a memory, after bulldozers took less than an hour to demolish the 127-year-old building.

Crowds gathered at the site in Beach Station Road early yesterday morning to witness the historic occasion.

FELIXSTOWE Beach Station is today nothing more than a memory, after bulldozers took less than an hour to demolish the 127-year-old building.

Crowds gathered at the site in Beach Station Road early yesterday morning to witness the historic occasion.

Machines took their first swing at the Victorian building at around 9am - and by 10am all that was left of the treasured piece of Felixstowe's history was a pile of rubble.

The demolition happened during the quiet morning of Easter Sunday with little notice for neighbours, and despite a campaign by supporters and the Evening Star to save the town's first railway station.

John Griffiths, 63, lives next door to the station. He said: "It's absolutely heartbreaking. I got a letter just shoved through my door on Saturday night saying that it was coming down.

"I've got so many memories attached to it. I've been used to seeing it there every day for 63 years, it's devastating.

"You think how long it must have taken to build it and now look at how quickly they've pulled it down – it's awful. There must have been some way to preserve it."

Avril and John Roper made the journey from Stowmarket to witness the occasion.

Mrs Roper, 66, said: "We heard about it on the radio and rushed over here. I remember using the station when I was younger. I have a lot of happy memories of days spent at the beach here.

"It's such a shame that it can't be preserved, or even moved to a museum, because it's got so much historic value."

Campaigners had been fighting to save the Beach Station since an attempt was made to start demolition on March 21.

Built in 1877, it was Felixstowe's first railway station.

Councillors, residents and historians banded together to try to get it spot-listed but to no avail. The Evening Star also launched its own campaign to save the building.

But its owners, the Strategic Rail Authority, were adamant it was in a dangerous condition and would cost more than £100,000 to restore. They met with Felixstowe town councillors for last minute talks on April 2 but no other solution could be found.

Felixstowe town councillor and Suffolk coastal district councillor Mike Ninnmey helped coordinate the campaign. He said: "It's the loss of a golden opportunity to help regenerate the town. We know there are at least four people who were prepared to lease this building and take on the redevelopment.

"But for some reason the district council did not see the town's first railway station, a beautiful and historic building, as worthy of protecting."

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Did you witness this occasion? Should Beach Station have been saved?

Write to Your Letters, The Evening Star, 30 Lower Brook Street, Ipswich, IP4 1AN or email eveningstarletters@eveningstar.co.uk.


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