Back then the line ran between Skegness on the East Coast and Crewe. It would pass through Boston, Sleaford and the village of Heckington where you can see the eight sailed windmill from the train and the pea room craft centre and tea room was in the station yard. I don't know if that is still there but certainly the windmill is still quite a tourist attraction. The train then ran its course to Nottingham, Beeston, Attenborough through to Derby, Tutbury, Blythe Bridge and thence to Stoke-on-Trent, our little station being the first it called at on its way through the city towards Kidsgrove and Crewe. A few years later the train stopped running between Cheshire and Lincolnshire and would terminate at Nottingham. Now in the last year or so it only goes as far as Derby. I wonder how much longer it will last?
It does seem to be quite well used and I've travelled to both Derby and Crewe a few times in recent years to get to other places like Nottingham, Chesterfield and quite strangely Shrewsbury. I always think it is odd to go north to Crewe to then travel south again to Shrewsbury, but so be it. The train company that runs trains on this line is Central trains but the train which came into the station was from south-west trains.
In the photo above you can see evidence of industry past in the tops of the old bottle ovens or pot banks; all that remains of one of the pottery factories which proliferated across the city in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. On the other side of the station is evidence of the 'new' industry of today - otherwise known as Tesco.
Again, when we first came here the land now occupied by Tesco was where a swimming pool and council refuse site used to stand. Presumably when the Council sold the land to Tesco they negotiated a deal and Tesco provided a new bus station - which was needed because the old one was horrible. This is situated just opposite the station and the two together are known as the Longton Interchange.
Below is Longton Town Hall another relic of the 'glory days' of the potteries and a fine one too. A number of years ago now various townspeople and traders formed a group to save the town hall and succeeded; its future is always in the balance but for now it seems to be safe.
The town hall was one of the first buildings I could see from the train when I travelled through from Boston one cold Friday evening not far from Christmas on my way to spend the weekend in Stoke. Paul was working over here then but we hadn't sold our house in Spalding and I was still working there. I just remember seeing it all lit up with Christmas lights as we passed by - it was such a cheerful site after a long, tiring journey.