Margaret Cropper talks about Edge Hill and Exchange stations

Resource Type: Audio | Posted on 20th February 2012 by Liam Physick

Margaret Cropper remembers talking to Eric Coffey, the station master of Edge Hill, on the direct line to the station from Lime Street, and also - unusually - meeting him. She also talks about Liverpool Exchange station. Exchange was opened on 13th May 1850 as Tithebarn Street, as the terminus of three different railways: the Liverpool, Crosby and Southport Railway, the Liverpool and Bury Railway, and the Ormskirk and Preston Railway - it was not on the Liverpool Overhead Railway as Jenny asks in the interview. It replaced Great Howard Street, which had been opened just two years before. Between 1886 and 1888, it was rebuilt and enlarged to become the Liverpool terminus of the Lancashire and Yorkshire Railway, and renamed Liverpool Exchange on 1st July 1888. It provided long-distance services to Manchester Victoria, Blackpool North, the Lake District, Whitehaven, Glasgow Central, Bradford Exchange and Leeds Central. The Southport service was earmarked for closure in the Beeching Report, but reprieved. On 3rd August 1968, it saw the termination of the last scheduled train on British Rail to be pulled by a standard-gauge steam locomotive: Stanier Black Five No. 45318, hauling the Preston to Liverpool portion of the night train from Glasgow to Liverpool and Manchester. In 1970, the station’s long-distance services were transferred to Lime Street: it was left only with the local services to Southport and Ormskirk and the medium-distance journeys to Manchester, Wigan and Bolton. When the Merseyrail underground was being built in the 1970s, the Ormskirk and Southport services were to be diverted from Exchange to the new underground Moorfields station before travelling on to Liverpool Central: at both stations it was now possible to change easily onto the previously separate Wirral Line. Exchange closed on 30th April 1977, and Moorfields opened on 2nd May, the following Monday. Most of Exchange was then demolished, but the frontage of the building survives as part of Mercury Court, an office block building

Interviewee: Margaret Cropper

Interviewee Gender: Female

Date of Interview: 24th November 2011

Interview Transcript

Jenny: So, talking a little bit about Edge Hill, did you ever visit Edge Hill or . . . ?

Margaret: I don’t think I actually visited them but I did meet Eric Coffey, because, you know, as I said we had a direct line right through to him, so he would be one of the ones who we would chat to quite a bit, you know, especially if we rang and he didn’t answer, you know, but, yes, we did have, a lot of, you know, good relationships with the other end of the phone, you know, apart from the Enquiry Office, of course, they just, just shouted and we used to shout at them! (she and Jenny laugh)

Jenny: What was Eric Coffey like, was he a nice man or . . . ?

Margaret: Yes, he was a nice man, yeah, very nice man, but . . .

Jenny: And was he in charge of . . . ?

Margaret: He, he was the station master at Edge Hill . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Margaret: . . . at the time . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Margaret: . . . and I don’t know, that Dennis that I spoke to said that they got rid of the station masters and they got other people in to Edge Hill . . .

Jenny: Oh.

Margaret: . . . but that must have been after I left, I’m sure, you know.

Jenny: So what sort of inquiries would you ask of Edge Hill, would it be train times . . . ?

Margaret: Probably to do, oh no, probably to do with parcels or something like that, you know.

Jenny: Oh, yeah, yeah, if parcels had gone missing and things . . . ?

Margaret: Yes, yeah. Cos we used to be, there was three extensions, 14 and 16 used to be the Parcel Office and 22 used to be . . . I don’t know whether they, they used to call that incoming parcels or something, but it was something to do with parcels but it was a different department, you know, so, yes, but, people used to come on such as the bosses would come on and say, “Put me through to Edge Hill”, and you’d put them straight through . . .

Jenny: Yeah.

Margaret: . . . that type of thing, that’s when you would get the calls from Lime Street, and Euston as well, I, I don’t know whether we had a direct line to Euston, I can’t remember, we might have done, but at Exchange station we did have as well, a direct line.

Jenny: Where’s that, Exchange station?

Margaret: Where is it?

Jenny: Yeah.

Margaret: In Liverpool.

Jenny: Oh, right.

Margaret: It probably is not there now, is it?

Jenny: No, no.

Margaret: No.

Jenny: Would it have been part of the Dockers’ Umbrella, or . . . ?

Margaret: As a matter of fact I was looking in an old A-Z that I had yesterday, and I was, I was looking for these, Great Howard Street goods station, Wapping Dock, and they were on my old map, and Exchange station was on as well . . .

Jenny: Oh, yeah.

Margaret: . . . cos it was by Moorfields, I think, somewhere there . . .

Jenny: Right, yeah.

Margaret: . . . and there was quite a lot of goods stations in Liverpool, which now I think are all not there any more, looking on the map.

Tagged under: steam locomotives, edge hill station, tender locomotives, railway workers, british rail, switchboards, beeching axe, liverpool central station, liverpool overhead railway, liverpool exchange station

Categorised under: The Station & Railway Pioneers

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