Sherborne and The Railway

Last week, The Sherborne and District Society CPRE and The Blackmore Vale Community Rail Partnership were delighted to unveil a new history information poster for Sherborne Station.

The poster, written and designed by Giles Harvey, explores the impact on the commercial growth of Sherborne following the railway’s opening from 1860. 

Although busy with passengers today, these numbers are insignificant compared to the 30,000 visitors who came, by specially organised trains, for the 1905 Sherborne Pageant which was held over 10 days, putting Sherborne firmly on the tourist map. 

Sherborne schools were early adopters of the railway with one 19th century headmaster, Mr Harper, personally investing in the railway to enable boys to travel in from a wider area. Special trains continued to be provided until relatively recently to bring school traffic from Waterloo to Sherborne. 

In its heyday the station also accommodated many goods trains carrying cattle, coal and fertilisers for onward distribution to local villages. Remnants of the goods yard are still visible to the west of the station. Returning on the trains to the London market were the high quality silk goods made at the many mills in the town. The glove making industry also prospered as the railway provided access to London shops meeting the demand for luxury gloves. The last glove factory closed in 1989. 

Today the station buildings could do with some refurbishment but Sherborne, which owes much of its prosperity to the railway, continues to thrive. 

The history poster is located on the Up (Waterloo) platform.

Huge thanks to station friends Julia Findlater, Peter Neal and Giles Harvey for providing a great addition to the station.

Caroline Rowland