Architect to The Railway King


1979 Original water colour painting by G T Andrews. York 1841 station


George Townsend Andrews trained as an architect in London and came to York in 1826 to supervise a significant development of the York County Gaol at York Castle. He stayed on, and in 1836 was commissioned to design a headquarters building for the York Union Bank which was chaired by George Hudson. Andrew and Hudson were still in their early 30s and became friends and confidants. So much so that Andrew was a member of Hudson’s committee which eventually raised the finance and secured the Act of Parliament to become the York & North Midland Railway Company.

Hudson’s vision and flair for mergers led to the incredible network of new railways which were developed and built between 1839 and 1849.

The G T Andrews practice flourished and led the way in the north of England in the development of innovative designs in this brand new architectural field associated with railways.

Starting in 1839 with the original York Station, within the city walls, over the next nine years Andrew was architect for the York & North Midland, Great North Eastern, Newcastle & Darlington and Newcastle & Berwick Railway Companies. Stations, depots, workshops, warehouses and associated buildings at over sixty locations in the north east of England were designed and built during that period. Many still perform their original functions proving that the belief and confidence the early Victorian pioneers had in the future of the industry was well founded. They built to last!

Andrews' architectural contributions were not confined to railways and his design skills are still evident in buildings in York - the original diocesan buildings -now the core of St Johns University, the De Grey Rooms in St Leonards and the original York Station - now the sensitively restored offices of York City Council.

In 1979, the Friends of the NRM contributed to the purchase for the NRM of an original water colour painting by G T Andrews of the 1841 York Station.


©Philip Benham


"Filey is an example of Andrews' surviving original train shed.

Pickering station was a G T Andrew's building, as was Whitby – both built in 1845 after Hudson had bought the impecunious Whitby & Pickering Railway, absorbing it into his York & North Midland Railway. The roof at Pickering was removed by British Railways in 1952, but re-created by NYMR in 2011. The attached shows the first train to enter the station under the new roof on 1 April 2011.

Andrews fell out with Hudson in the late 1840s when the latter, with his finance empire collapsing, asked for a reduction in fees".


Philip Benham Chairman, Friends of the National Railway Museum.


©Philip Benham


By Frank Paterson

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