Wednesday, 10 May 2017

The Railway at Little Kimble

The following article was written by Roger Howgate and appears in the Great and Little Kimble & Marsh Newsletter for May 2017. Roger has written a book "Kimble's Journey" - in some 272 pages and 400 illustrations the book tells the history of England from the viewpoint of Kimble. 
The book is available to order through http://www.kimblesjourney.uk/.

The railway between Risborough and Aylesbury was a branch of the Wycombe Railway to Oxford via Risborough and was originally built on broad gauge, which is why the trackbed is so wide. It was completed in 1863, and Little Kimble was the only station on the line. In 1867 the Great Western Railway took over the line and it became the first complete line to be entirely converted from broad gauge to standard gauge in 1868 as a test for the conversion of the whole GWR network.

The station had three claims to fame. It had its own well and the ladies waiting room had the first flush toilets in the village. One of the station "boy's" duties was to pump up water into the cistern every morning.

Secondly, it was the site of the notorious double murder which led to the first reprieve from a death sentence ordered by the English Court of Appeal.

Thirdly it was the scene of a conversation between the Prime Minister [Stanley Baldwin] and the station master on the subject of the abdication crisis of 1936. A number of M.P.s put pressure on Baldwin to allow the King to marry Mrs Simpson, so Baldwin asked them to go back to their constituencies and think about it. The station master was a strong Baptist and when asked about the issue he encouraged Baldwin to stand firm.

In more recent times the Royal Train delivered the President of the USA to Chequers via Little Kimble Station.

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