Wingfield Station is an early railway station, built in 1839-40 as one of a series of picturesque stations along the new North Midland Railway line. It is no longer in operation as a station, having been closed in 1967, but sits alongside the fully operational Midland Main Line between Derby and Leeds.
The building fell into substantial disrepair under its private owner. In 2012, the Victorian Society declared the station as a 'maimed beauty deserving better' and one of the ten most important 'buildings at risk' in the country. Local groups, in particular the South Wingfield Local History Group, campaigned for the building to be upgraded to Grade II*. This was achieved in 2015.
A viability study was undertaken in 2017 on behalf of Amber Valley Borough Council (AVBC), funded by the Architectural Heritage Fund, to support the Council in their efforts to secure the long term future of the station. It identified commercial office space as the preferred long-term use for the building, and this is the approach currently being taken by the DHBT.
In 2019, AVBC obtained the building through compulsory purchase with DHBT as the back-to-back partner and with support from Historic England.
The North Midland Railway line was constructed between 1836 and 1840, forming part of the first boom in railway investment. It was envisaged and surveyed by George Stephenson, working with assistant engineer Frederick Swanwick, later bringing on board his son Robert Stephenson, who became joint and eventually sole chief engineer on the project.
Robert Stephenson commissioned Francis Thompson to design a sequence of picturesque station buildings, including Wingfield Station. He was a British born architect who had worked in Canada where he had won the commission for the alterations and improvements to Government House in 1832. Thompson also worked on engine sheds, goods sheds and other buildings along the line and so 'set his stamp on the character of the Note Midland Railway as much as the Stephenson and Swanwick'.
Whilst Wingfield Station is not the earliest pioneer railway station to survive, it is one of the least altered surviving examples worldwide.
The DHBT have identified five key phases in the station's history:
Phase 1: The pioneer phase (1835-1841) - putting the construction of the line and station in context
Phase 2: The post-pioneer phase (1841-1856)
Phase 3: The industrial phase (1856-1900)
Phase 4: The 20th century station (1900-1967)
Phase 5: Post closure (1967 onwards).