SCRCA Primary Reference: Review of Hellifield Engine Shed floor plan dated July 1879

Submitted by mark.harvey / Mon, 12/11/2018 - 10:20
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Referencing information

Collection reference:
"Box 67" of the "North Eastern Railway Civil Engineers" collection

Collection location:
National Railway Museum, Leeman Road, York YO26 4XJ.

Document reference:

Document title:
Midland Railway, Hellifield Engine Shed

Document description:
Ground Plan [paper copy of an original from Derby Architects' Office].

Document date:
July 1879

Detailed description

The document is a scaled and fully labelled architectural drawing in the form of a floor plan of the Midland Railway Company's Hellifield Engine Shed.

The document is dated July 1879 and it includes the following titles / key labels:

  • Midland Railway.
    Hellifield Engine Shed.
  • Contract Drawing No. 1.
  • Ground Plan
  • Engineers' Department
    Architect's Office No
    [? text illegible]
    Derby. July 1879.

The original plan does NOT include any means of orientation (i.e. there is no north arrow or similar). However, a hand-drawn arrow has been added at some point and this indicates that the top of the plan is roughly north-northeast.

The following handwritten annotation suggests that the plan was used as part of the tendering process for the construction of the engine shed: "This is one of the Drawings mentioned and referred to in our Tender dated the 14th of July 1879 and signed by us."

This text is followed by two signatures: one reads "Witness: John Cox". The other is not easy to decipher (it could be "William Barrett Son"). The second signature is followed by a date written in the same hand: "26 July 1879".

According to labels on the original plan, the main body of the building is 220' 0" long x 69' 0" wide internally. It spans four through-running railway tracks. A set of outward-opening double doors is provided for each track in each of the two end-walls. Each track includes an inspection pit that runs virtually the full length of the building. There are four catch pits set into the floor of each inspection pit. A line of 7 columns or posts is depicted along the centre-line of the main building (running parallel to the railway tracks). These almost certainly depict structural roof supports.

A distinct set of rooms is depicted along the outside of the north north-eastern wall of the engine shed proper. These are labelled as follows (from left to right):

  • "Timekeepers Office" (21' 0" x 21' 0") with inset room (14' 0" x 9' 0") labelled "Enginemen"
  • "Foremens Office" (14' 0" x 21' 0")
  • "Stores" (30' 0" x 21' 0")
  • "Mess Room" (20' 0" x 21' 0")
  • "Joiners Shop" (15' 0" x 21' 0") – this has been hand annotated "Locker Room"
  • "Smithy" (21' 0" x 21' 0")
  • "Fitting Shop" (30' 0" x 18' 0") – this has been hand annotated "Tank over"

A single room (internal dimensions 28' 0" x 20' 0") is depicted outside the south south-western wall and this incorporates a "furnace" with adjacent (external) chimney. To the right of the furnace room, there is a neat, hand-drawn (and apparently to-scale) addition to the original drawing. This depicts the following as being located outside, but adjacent and parallel to the engine shed wall:

A "KITCHEN CAR (on temporary track)" with "seat removed and Gas radiator provided", a "drain from sink" and four separate sets of access steps - one labelled "Flight of wooden steps with landing & handrail" and a second labelled "door rehung opposite way".

A “BOX VAN” with the following annotations "Door opening made", "Gas lighting provided", "shelving" and "refrigerator provided". The van body is depicted as resting on 3 parallel "9" brick walls" oriented at right angles to the temporary tracks that are depicted as running beneath the former kitchen car.

There appears to be a narrow corridor or walkway connecting the two former rail vehicles.


This review was written by Mark R. Harvey (© Mark R. Harvey, 2018).

The author gratefully acknowledges the information and assistance received from the staff at the National Railway Museum (York).