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Historic railway cottage gets new home

PUBLISHED: 18:30 10 June 2010 | UPDATED: 11:24 01 July 2010

A Reepham railway carriage has found a new home at Holt railway station.

A Reepham railway carriage has found a new home at Holt railway station.

Tracey Gray

The phrase moving house never seemed more appropriate - as a railway carriage which for many years was used as a cottage made its way to a new home in Norfolk.

The phrase moving house never seemed more appropriate - as a railway carriage which for many years was used as a cottage made its way to a new home in Norfolk.

The carriage was put in place yesterday on Holt's railway station, ready to be refurbished and polished up to its former glory as a 1930s cottage.

Railway cottages were first created after the First World War, for soldiers and their families returning from the war, with Victorian railway carriages then sold cheaply, some for as little as £5, to be converted into homes.

The railway carriage delivered to Holt yesterday was built in 1899 and used as a carriage with Great Western Railway, before being converted into a cottage and moved to Kerdiston near Reepham in Norfolk in the 1930s.

It has now been donated to the North Norfolk Railway, which plans to convert it back to the way it would have looked in 1935, complete with period furnishings, tin bath, outside 'privy' and cottage garden.

The six tonne carriage made its way on the journey from Reepham to Holt on the back of a haulage lorry, and after a slow start, getting stuck in mud while being loaded up, it arrived safe and sound and was anchored into place.

George Carrick, chair of the Poppy Line Education Group which has organised the carriage restoration project, helped with a £47,000 heritage lottery grant, said: “The railway cottages are one of the bits of social history which seems to have been ignored, yet thousands of people had them in the 1930s.

“I never thought I would get excited about a railway carriage, I thought that was for anoraks, but seeing it being put in place today is just superb.”

It is hoped the refurbishment of the carriage will be completed around September time.

Theo Fanthorpe, vice-chair of the group, said: “It will be used for education purposes and as a reminiscence resource. We are also looking for any donations of 1930s domestic objects to help furnish out the interior of the cottage.”

It is not the first time the railway station at Holt has welcomed a new addition from afar.

In 2002 Stalham's Victorian station building was switched to Holt and rebuilt, brick by brick on the station, and in 1999 an Edwardian signal box from the Midlands was put in place at the station.

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