Listed Signal Boxes


English Heritage has announced the listing of a number of historic railway signal boxes across the country. That’s great.

You can read about the story, here

and there is a slideshow, here


This is all good news.

It’s important to save these relatively modest industrial structures. They’re exactly the kind of building that disappears without anyone noticing. Typically, they are timber framed and clap-boarded on a brick base. The interesting thing is that the upper part of the box has a large amount of glazing – so that the main part of the box is a kind of proto-modernist observation platform!

I love the fact that, because of where these boxes were put up, they are often the most modern thing around.



After writing this, I remembered that there is a lovely small signal box at Folkestone Harbour.



There are several details to notice about this box…

The roof has a shallow slope and deep eaves, that are supported by brackets. The main windows (now with horrid upvc frames) have small lights above them. These details are similar to many on the listed boxes, mentioned above.

Isfield box, in Sussex, is the one most like the box in Folkestone.

Isfield signal box (real)

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