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Lynton & Barnstaple Stations


Three of the Lynton and Barnstaple Railway stations are built in the 'Nürnberg' or 'Swiss' chalet style. These are Blackmore Gate, Woody Bay and Lynton.

There is a distinct similarity with stations found in Bavaria (e.g. Oberammergau), and the Austrian Tyrol (e.g. Scharnitz on the Garmisch-Partenkirken - Innsbruck line); and also some stations on the Belgian coastal section of the SNCV tramway system (e.g. De Haan).

  
DeHaan (Belgium) - now the Tourist office

However, two of the L & BR stations, Blackmore Gate & Woody Bay have a feature not found in exactly the same form on these buildings, which I shall return to later.

      
Details of Lutyen's 'Daneshill' (1902) and 'Crooksbury' (1890)

It has been suggested that the buildings might be associated with Edwin Lutyens, whose buildings from around the turn of the century are similar in some details. The nearest to Exmoor that Lutyens worked was Hestercombe House near Taunton (Somerset): this was the design of the gardens withGertrude Jekyll. Certainly, the L & BR stations are not listed as being one of the works undertaken by Lutyens.
His buildings were featured in contemporary issues of 'Country Life' and published as a book in 1912 (but this was after the stations had been built). His designs were probably copied by other architects and speculative builders, e.g. examples in Taunton (Somerset); Worthing (West Sussex), the 'Peacehaven Hotel', and 'Larkin' houses in Bexhill (both in East Sussex).


'Fake' Louvres at Woody Bay

On Blackmore Gate and Woody Bay there is a small 'gable' section on the roof, often found on older tiled roofs. This makes the join easier on a 'hipped' roof - with sloping sides and end ('Buildings & Cottages of Britain': R.W. Brunskill). But, on these two stations, instead of being tile-hung, there are 'fake' louvres. I went up close to them when Woody Bay station building was being re-roofed, and there are definitely no openings.
These are not found on English cottages or on German, Austrian or Swiss buildings.

Where they are found is on African and Indian buildings built by the colonial powers, i.e Britain, France and Germany. The illustrations are on the Mittelandbahn of  German East Africa (Tanganika). This was a metre gauge line built around 1900, and later taken over by the British,when it became part of the East African Railways and Harbours Board.


The Dodoma Hotel on the Mittelandbahn

I suspect that the louvres on these buildings provided a form of 'air-conditioning' by drawing air in through the doors and out through these louvres. This would be especially useful, given that many of these buildings have corrugated iron roofs. This feature would be unnecessary in Bavaria, and the last thing needed in L & BR stations!

So, the unanswered question - why the fake colonial louvres?

   
Two views of  Morogoro on the Mittelandbahn

The wagons in the B & W picture are very similar to Indian wagons, other parts of Africa and the Leek and Manifold Railway.

Illustrations from '100 years of the Belgian Vicinal' : W.J.K. Davies; 'The Houses and Buildings of Edwin Lutyens' (Country Life, 1912);'Permanent Way' (history of EARly), and East African Railways & Harbours Magazine Dec. 1960, both loaned by J. Broughton-Thompson (formerly of EAR).