Our thanks to Waltham Heritage Warden, Richard Snodin, for providing this information on Waltham’s railway station.
(Click here to view more photos of the station, taken around the time it closed in 1964.)
In 1882 the Waltham branch mineral railway was constructed to transport ore from this region to the adjoining railway at Scalford Junction. This branch line was extended to Eaton in 1884. Waltham Station was offically opened in April 1883. There was some passenger traffic; for Waltham Fair in September from 1890 to 1895 and in 1905; for Croxton Park Races and for military specials serving local army camps. Its main purpose was as a weighing/marshalling point for iron ore trains from Eaton.
The Waltham Iron Company and Holwell Iron Co. had short lived mines at Waltham during 1882/3. Because the ore here was not good enough quality, the companies moved north to Eaton. In 1883 the Eaton and Eastwell branch lines were approved by Parliament and the Eaton branch was completed by October 1883.
At some point during this time, the railway cottages were built. They were not on the 1881 census so were not built then but later. In 1891, the cottages were occupied by several families but it is not known which family was in which cottage.
In one cottage were:
- George Whittaker age 32 railway platelayer born in Hose
- Annie, his wife, age 27, born in Stathern
- Mary E., his daughter age 10 born in Stathern,
- Sarah L, another daughter age 8 born in Wycomb,
- Alice M, another daughter age 6 born in Waltham,
- another daughter Gertrude, age 4 born in Waltham
- and John Edward, a son age 1 born in Waltham.
- There was also a lodger, George Mills, age 27, an ironstone labourer who came from Richmond in Surrey.
In 1881 George Whittaker was a servant, a waggoner, age 22 at Codnor Park, Derby. Baptisms at Waltham for the Whittaker family include Horace George christened on 7th August 1892.
In one of the other cottages was:
- George C. Hindson, age 25, a railway platelayer who was born in Foston, Lincs.
- Ada M., his wife age 22 born in Broughton Collingham, Notts.
- Ada, his daughter age 1 born in Waltham.
In 1901 he was still in the cottage with more children, May, age 9, Eva, age 6 and William age 3, all born in Waltham. George gave his job as a GNR platelayer. Baptisms in Waltham, are Ada Rebecca on 3 November 1889 and Eva Mary on 6 August 1893.
In the third cottage in 1891 was Joseph Bridges, age 35 a railway platelayer born in Scalford, his wife Millicent, age 42 born in Wymondham, Adelaide age 9, Sarah A., age 7 and Joseph E, age 5. The two girls were born in Scalford and the boy in Waltham.
In 1901 Joseph is still there. Adelaide is now 19 and a laceworker at home as is Sarah.
In the last cottage in 1891 is James Chester, age 34, railway platelayer born in Waltham, his wife Maria age 30, born in Foxton, Maria age 9 also born in Foxton, Henry age 8 Charlotte age 5 both born in Waltham. There are two lodgers, William Tuckwood, age 30 and Thomas Johnson age 30 both ironstone labourers. In 1901 James and his family are still there but the girls have both left home while Henry is a farrier and a waggoner.
In 1901, on one of the cottages, possibly the one which the Whittakers had lived in in 1891 was the family of John Smith age 37 a GNR platelayer born in Bottesford, his wife Charlotte Ann age 30, Louie Reynolds Smith, age 8, Annie Smith age 6, Lizzie Smith age 4 and Arthur Smith age 2, all except Arthur being born in Bottesford. Arthur was born in Waltham.
Baptisms for this family (?) in Waltham are Cecil 6 October 1912, Fanny 3rd November 1912 and Florry or Harry on 3rd November 1912.
The Station House was occupied in 1901 by Henry Mantell and his family. He was 36 and came from Cirencester. His wife Annie, was 38 and their children were Harry age 13, Kate age 9, Joseph T age 7, George J, age 5 and Arthur H age 2. In 1881 this family were living in Station House in Sibsey, Lincs.
The railway line was used for ore transport until 1964 when it closed in May. It is hard to imagine the noise of the railways and the quarries when it is now so peaceful. At one point there were 6 trips per day, when empty wagons went to the quarries then returned loaded. In 1913, the weighbridge capacity was increased to 25 tons by the GNR. This was necessary so that 15 ton hopper bottom wagons could be weighed. The rail yard was also used from 1931 to 1941 by Barnstone Cement Co. to load limestone.