VIDEO: Midhurst Museum celebrates 150th anniversary of the town’s first train

FOR anyone who doesn’t own a car, the only way in, out, and through Midhurst is by bus.

But 150 years ago, it was a different story, and this month marks 150 years since the first train arrived in Midhurst.

Former sation mistress, Joan Gibbs with her flag.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140852-1 SUS-140109-165739001

Former sation mistress, Joan Gibbs with her flag.Picture by Kate Shemilt.C140852-1 SUS-140109-165739001

On September 1, 1864, the first train arrived from Petersfield via Rogate and Elsted, on the London and South Western Railway (LSWR).

The last train was in 1955, but until then, you could travel as far afield as Weymouth or Bournemouth from the town.

So the Midhurst Museum is devoting all its space in September to the railway.

Peter Nightingale, from the Midhurst Museum, said: “We are staging a celebration of the 150 
years since the arrival of the first train to Midhurst, including memorabilia, artefacts and photographs of the local railway stations and lines from Petersfield, Pulborough and Chichester.

“We had a commemorative opening of the new display by Rogate’s first station mistress, who came along to wave the green flag.

“The exhibition, which is being supported by the Middleton Press, which published the first book on the line back in 1980, will include many artefacts, documents and pictures of the line, a scale model of the first station in Midhurst and memories of the two other lines which later ran trains to Midhurst.”

The Petersfield to Midhurst railway line was the first of three branch railway lines to connect Midhurst with mainline railways.

The Petersfield line had two stations on its route, Elsted and Rogate, and also had its own separate station at Midhurst. Two years later the London Brighton and South Coast (LBSCR) opened its line from Pulborough via Fittleworth, Petworth and Selham, then a line from Chichester which had stations at Lavant, Singleton and Cocking.

The London and South Western Railway opened its line and a station just off the Bepton Road.

Peter added: “In addition we shall display a scale model of the first (LSWR) railway station which has been kindly lent to us by Vic Mitchell of Middleton Press who has published three books on the history of the railways to Midhurst.

“Other artefacts on show will include a LSWR boundary marker, a section of the original wooden fascia of the goods shed at Midhurst railway station, luggage labels, a luggage trolley and cases, some London and South Western Railway company stamps, local tickets and many photos and pictures of the railways to Midhurst.”

For the full feature, see this week’s Observer (September 4).