During the early 1900’s redundant carriages were purchased from the London Brighton and South Coast Railway Company for £10 each and carted across the Adur to Shoreham Beach.
Two were usually placed alongside each other with a space in between for a central room, sometimes with a third carriage at right angles across the end of the two. The bungalows were then built above and around the carriages but with the sides facing outwards being left visible.
The use of carriages on economic grounds is questionable as wooden bungalows could be built for less than the cost of purchasing and conveying three carriages to the site then building around them. It was just as likely that the novelty of living in railway carriages – but comfortably – was more appealing. Many bungalows on the Beach were in any case built without carriages.
Theatrical and music hall people were also attracted to the Beach including comedian Will Evans and he built ten bungalows alongside each other on the north side of Old Fort Road between Ferry Road and Shingle Road. These were named after characters he had played or shows he had been in and came to be known as ‘Pantomime Row’,
The WW2 anti-invasion clearances destroyed most of Bungalow Town and of the surviving bungalows the wooden walls of many were replaced by brick and the old railway carriages were removed. Some survived though including Pantomime Row but by the 1970’s only two in the Row still had their carriages – ‘Baroness’ and ‘Cinderella’.
The carriages in Baroness were still exposed but the extent and completeness of the ones in Cinderella was only discovered in 1971 by the then owner Eric Page who broke through one of the stud walls to discover the carriage still to be intact. These transpired to be Stroudley designed stock that were built in 1881.
Sadly the Baroness bungalow has since been replaced by a modern building and the considerable heat loss through the old carriage doors in Cinderella has necessitated the sides being covered once again. Nevertheless, on the inside there remains a distinct flavor of the days of the old LBSC railway and Bungalow Town.
Not all the carriages were destroyed when bungalows were demolished or rebuilt. One was rescued by the Bluebell Railway as recently as 2000 when 54 The Meadway was demolished. This was an 1890 ex. London Brighton & South Coast Railway fourUwheeled, five compartment, third class carriage designed by William Stroudley that was brought to Bungalow Town in May of 1918 to form part of the bungalow being built there.
The property was originally named ‘The Stoneways’ and the earliest known resident was George Herbert Brindley who is recorded there during the 1930’s and 40’s. Bluebell Railway inspected the carriage in situ shortly before the bungalow was demolished with a view to using parts of it as spares. However, on discovering that it was a late Stroudley carriage differing in design to earlier models and that it was relatively complete it was decided to save it for restoration.
In October of 2000 the bungalow was carefully demolished and the carriage transported to the Bluebell’s carriage works at Horsted Keynes where work to restore it is ongoing. It is hoped this will eventually be part of a complete Stroudley designed LBSCR train (engine and carriages).
There are at least two other properties on the Beach with carriages still in them. If and when the owners are happy to allow them to be recorded here they will be added.
Photos author’s collection except The Meadway bungalow demolition and carriage retrieval photos which were kindly donated by Sheina Foulkes, Carriage & Wagon Supervisor, Bluebell Railway carriage restorations. The Stroudley carriages are owned by the Bluebell Railway Trust and their restoration is supported by the Bluebell Stroudley Coach Fund,
The current owners of Cinderella have kindly provided the following newspaper clips of past articles on the bungalow:-
2 Replies to “Last of the Bungalow Town Railway Carriages”
Hi, just been reading up on your article, as I have today 1st May2021 just been inside a double train carage house, still very much looking like two trains! I’m not able to disclose the address as I don’t have permission to do so! Just thought you would be interested to know! I don’t know if they are ones previous documented or knot!
Thank you Ben. We are fairly sure we know all the surviving carriages but without knowing which one you have seen we’ll never know for sure!