150 Years of Highams Park Station

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To commemorate the 150th anniversary of the railway coming to Highams Park on 17th November 1873 the Railway Heritage Trust commissioned a plaque for Highams Park Station. The plaque was installed on Saturday 25th May 2024 and was unveiled by Lord Peter Hendy, Chair of Network Rail accompanied by a stirring performance by the 17th Pals’ Battalion Band.
The unveiling was one of a number of events arranged to celebrate the anniversary of the coming of the railway and we have provided below links to some photos  and videos of the the various events to provide a record of how important the railway was to the creation of the community that is  Highams Park today.

Unveiling of the Commemorative Plaque – 25th May 2024
The plaque was suggested by Lord Hendy when he attended the 150th anniversary celebrations on 17th November November 2023. The suggestion was taken forward by the Highams Park Planning Group with the Railway Heritage Trust who commissioned the plaque, which was kindly paid for and installed by Arriva Rail London, operator of our Overground train service.
To open proceedings Roger Torode gave a brief introduction about Highams Park Station  and we have included an extract from his speech below. You can hear the speeches in full below along with the performance by the 17th Pals’ Battalion Band.

150 years of Highams Park Station – (an extract from Roger Torode’s introductory speech before the unveiling).

“Originally called Hale End, now called Highams Park, and various combinations of those names over the intervening years. When this station was first built there was nothing here but green fields.  It is in effect the foundation stone of Highams Park and where this community has come from.  The station was originally named Hale End after the hamlet  half a mile down the road, but gradually it became known as Highams Park, originally as the name of the park that people were visiting but then as the name that we have all adopted since then.  It has gone through many years of changes from steam trains to the high speed steam trains that they introduced in the 1920s and carried on until around 1960, and then the electric trains that we have had since then.  It has undergone a great improvement since it was taken over by London Overground under Transport for London, with new trains and new signalling systems and so on that have been put in, and so it is now running so much better than it did in the past.  As someone who spent thirty years travelling on it virtually every day, I know the importance of it to the local community and it is amazing the number of faces you know around Highams Park just from seeing everybody on the train every day.”

Pictures of the installation of the plaque and unveiling can be viewed on the link below: (with thanks to John Murray of PNJ Photography)
Installation and Unveiling Photos

Video of the unveiling of the plaque (with thanks to Malcolm Shykles)
Unveiling of Commemorative Plaque 25th May 2024 at HP Station

History Boards/Photos in Highams Park Station waiting room
(pop in and take a look if you are at the station)

Celebratory Events  in November 2023
The Highams Park Planning Group and the Highams Park Society worked together to lay on some exhibitions and events to mark the 150th  anniversary in November 2023:

  • The Signal Box was lit up for two weeks.
  • A permanent exhibition of historic photographs was installed in the waiting room at Highams Park Station.
  • Display boards telling the history of the station and Highams Park and railway arts were exhibited in in Hale End Library for two weeks.
  • A celebratory event attended by Lord Peter Hendy was held on Friday 17th November
  • An afternoon of talks was hosted at Hale End Library on Saturday 18th November.
  • A railway themed community event was held in Highams Park Station car park on Sunday 19th November which included: free bus rides, a mini train ride for children, a street organ and  mini market. Local theatre group ‘Drama Workshop’ came along in Victorian dress to add an historic feel the event.

Videos capturing the essence of these events can be viewed on the links below:

Speech at Hale End library by Lord Hendy, events and exhibitions 17th & 19th November November 2023
150th Anniversary Celebrations and Speech by Lord Peter Hendy at Hale End Library  -17th & 19th November 2023

Talk at Hale End Library – Saturday 18th November 2023
Talk By Roger Torode at Hale End Library  – 18th November 2023
A few more pictures of the events and the station

 

The Signal Box lit up for the 150th Anniversary