Site Records

Site Name: Goldsborough Cold Store

A59 east of Knaresborough
North Yorkshire

RSG site visit 10th October 2002

[Source: Nick Catford]

Photo: Goldsborough cold store
Photo: Goldsborough cold store in October 2002. The rail connection has been severed although the track is still in situ alongside the loading dock.
Photo by Nick Catford

WW2 saw the first dramatic change in refrigerated warehousing. The use of the pallet was developed for moving ammunition and other supplies and proved to be a very valuable tool for all types of product movement and storage. Lift trucks were also developed for the movement of heavy loads and subsequently to achieve better utilisation of storage space.

In 1941 forty three identical brick refrigerated cold stores constructed of low-cost Fletton-type bricks, around insulated steel frames were built by William Douglas and Sons for the Ministry of Food to house emergency meat and fish supplies. They were scattered around the country as part of an integrated system of food control, distribution, and handling. They were all located adjacent to main railway routes for ease of movement in and out of the stores. The sites selected were away from primary target areas with the exception of Wolverhampton and Aintree. Forty grain silos were built at the same time.

1965 1:2,500 OS map shows the layout of Goldsborough station and cold store. The passenger platforms at Goldsborough were staggered, the up platform being on the west side of the level crossing and the down platform on the east side. The station building is seen at the east end of the up platform with the ARP signal box in front of it. The cold store, shown here as 'depot' is seen behind the up platform served by a trailing siding from the up line. During the cold war, the naming of industrial buildings was generally vague on Ordnance Survey maps. The depot on the south side of the line is the station goods yard with two sidings passing either side of a cattle dock. WB indicates weigh bridge. The map confusingly identifies 'White Rail Bridge' but also identifies it as LC (level crossing).

A cold store was built alongside the Harrogate - York railway line at Flaxby and was located to the rear of the Goldsborough passenger station. It was provided with a rail connection with two private sidings running either side of the 209ft X 141 ft brick monolith, and two reception loop sidings. An ARP signal box to control access to the cold store and goods yard was built at the rear of the eastbound passenger platform close to the station building. ARP signal boxes were built at strategic locations from the late 1930s in an attempt to ensure vital railway buildings remained operational during an air attack. They were designed to prevent blast damage rather than survive a direct hit and were built to a variety of different designs but many, like that at Goldsborough, had 14" thick brick walls, a reinforced concrete roof and thick concrete floors.

Looking west from York Road (A59) circa mid-1970s, after the line was singled from 16 December 1973. The level crossing, seen in the centre, was closed when the A59 was realigned in the early 1970s. Goldsborough station closed to passengers on 15 September 1958. The up platform is clearly seen, now devoid of track; the down platform was on the other side of the crossing and would have been demolished when the new A59 bridge was built. The cold store is seen to the rear of the platform. The station goods yard, which closed in 1965, is seen opposite the platform. The small building in the yard is the weigh office.
Photo by John L Smith

The cold stores continued to perform the same function during the early years of the cold war. The storage of food in the UK peaked in 1956 with some 750,000 tons held in various depots including the 43 massive government owned cold stores. That year however, their role was downgraded and their operation was handed over to contractors to operate, in the same way as buffer food depots. Although now commercial operations, the Ministry of Food rented space in some of the stores. 

By 1961 there was seen to be no need to have emergency meat stocks and the sites were rented out as commercial cold stores with no strategic value.

The ARP signal box in has now been incorporated into and extension to the station house and the lower floor converted into a garage.
Photo by Tim Denton from Pillbox Study Group web site

In 1985 some of tthe cold stores were considered for use as Regional Government Control Centres although the Hexham area being designated as a Region 1 Sub Regional Control since 1964. Hexham was modified with the addition of a mezzanine floor becoming RGHQ 2.2 and Loughborough became RGHQ 3.2; both have now been demolished. The cold store at Llandudno Junction was considered for the RGHQ for North Wales but never used. Most however, including Goldsborough, continued in use as a commercial cold store. It was last occupied by Manton Transport Ltd. In 2009 a 'to let' was seen on the building. The cold store was demolished sometime after 2012 and the site is now appears to be occupied by an extension to the Flaxby distribution depot of William Morrison Produce Ltd, the Bradford based supermarket chain.

Photo: Goldsborough cold store in October 2002.
Photo by Nick Catford

For more information about ARP signal boxes see Pillbox Study Group web site


[Source: Nick Catford]

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