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The Return of the Coal Office

coal-office

Many of you will recognise this venerable building, it's the original coal office for Chelford Station. It's in its final stage of restoration by David Wilson Homes, as part of their scheme on the site of the old market.

The building is one of our most important old structures and was first built shortly after the railway came to Chelford in 1842 when the Manchester (London Road) to Crewe line was opened as part of the Manchester and Birmingham Railway. In around 1846, the line became part of the London North Western Railway.

From the earliest days of the railway, Chelford had a thriving coal business based in the sidings behind the station building (the present site on which David Wilson Homes have been building).

A substantial coal wharf was built by Lord Vernon, the owner of Poynton Collieries, mirroring a similar one at WIlmslow. From the coming of the railways to Chelford until the 1880s, several special coal trains ran from Poynton Collieries to Chelford (sole destination) each week.

Chelford became an important coal distribution point for the surrounding area and the business was one of the major factors in the village beginning to develop from a purely agricultural hamlet into a village with a mixed economy.

All the evidence points to the existing coal office being the original building of the 1842/43 period; the structure is of the same local stone and is dressed in the same way as the bridge abutments of the M&BR c.1842.

As far as is known, the coal office remained in operation at least into the 1970s, and the weighbridge was situated immediately in front of the building on station road.

The coal office is listed as a County Heritage structure. As it holds true historical significance for the village, and it is wonderful that it has been restored and that it is to be re-used as a cycle and bin store.

Chelford has few buildings of such significance and indeed, there are few railway buildings of this period any where along the Manchester – Crewe route.

Thanks to all at David Wilson Homes for doing such wonderful job on our historic 'monument'.

Photograph by D Stannard.

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