New lease of life given to iconic Brackley building

Today marked the beginning of a new chapter for Brackley's former railway station and, by coincidence, coincided with the 50th anniversary of a landmark occasion.

By Stuart Prestidge
Thursday, 13th June 2019, 4:51 pm
Brackely Central now buzzing with life 50 years after it closed as a train station
Brackely Central now buzzing with life 50 years after it closed as a train station

The whistling of trains have not been heard at Brackley central station for decades but the whistling of kettles will now fill the refurbished Victorian building on Burwell Hill as it opened today as Brackley Central Cafe.

By sheer happenstance, following three months of renovation works, today's soft opening also coincided with the day, June 13, 1963, when signalman Mr L Wills pulled the last signal marking the end of an era that began in 1899.

The coincidences did not stop there as Brackley Central owner, Martyn Edwards explains: "This morning a gentleman came in and he said 'I see you have the last signalman's lament on the wall. My surname is Wills.

Brackley Central: Martyn Edwards (centre) with some of the ten plus staff at the newly opened cafe

"I didn't realise the significance and he tells me 'I'm his son'. So we had the son of the signalman who closed the station as a customer."

The interior of the cafe has been carefully designed to pay homage to its roots rather than become a living monument of it and in addition to the signalman's lament has striking black and white imagery of the buildings life as a station.

Even the choice of paint has significance.

Martyn said: "We wanted to make it still feel like an old train station, even down to the colouring that we used. The grey coloured paint is actually called 'railings' so we went to that length to bring it back to a a colour scheme that was used."

The cafe's branding has been inspired by a train ticket

There had been rumours that the building was going to be demolished and the land use for residential homes but Martyn says that was never in the plans, rather he wants the cafe to become an important focal point of the town.

"We want to make to into a local community hub for Brackley to use, we'll be doing events here. We're pleased with the opening."

For more in formation on Brackley Central visit the cafe's Facebook page.