Tuesday, January 08, 2013

Marshbrook or Onnybrook?

"Get your things together, twins," Peter said as she opened her bag and stuffed her school hat in it. "We're nearly there." 
The train slowed down. High on their left they saw the lighted windows of the signal-box. Over the level crossing and then a flickering oil-lamp showed them - as if they didn't know - that the name was Onnybrook. 
They jumped out into six inches of snow and with their luggage round them and waved to the guard as he swung on to the step of his van and called "Good night." Then Dickie sniffed the cold air and said, "Super! I think this is the must beautiful station in the whole world. 
Malcolm Saville Wings Over Witchend (1956)
There was no snow when I was last at Marshbrook, the model for Saville's Onnybrook. The signal box and station building (on the Shrewsbury to Hereford line) are still there, though passenger services ended only two years after Wings Over Witchend was published.

Goods services lasted a few years longer, and today there is a little industrial estate in what used to the station's surprisingly large yard.

I don't know if Marshbrook was ever the most beautiful station in the world, but I like this photo with the Shropshire hills in the background.

And I can also recommend The Station Inn here too.


Richard T said...

Clearly, Malcolm Saville conflated Marshbrook and Onibury to get Onnybrook but I assumed that Onibury was his model. As I recall, there was a nice tea room at Onibury Station, or at least here was 10 or so years ago.

Jonathan Calder said...

Sadly, the tearoom closed some years ago.

Onnybrook is clearly Marshbrook - Onibury is too far from Witchend and Ingles Farm to fit the geography of the books.

It may have influenced the name,but then Onny is a local river name too.

Martin Phelan said...

Interested to spot this feature. My late mother's family were from Grove Bank, Wistanstow and some years ago we would visit a great uncle and aunt who lived in the crossing keepers cottage at Marshbrook. I suppose they got used to the noise of trains passing almost within reach.

Steve Rooney said...

Hey, that photo was taken from outside our office! Not that we were here at the time but now enjoying the charm of Marshbrook/Onnybrook and currently reading Wings over Witchend.