Here's a treat for railway buffs. Aynho is in Northants, its station in Oxfordshire, built in 1850 for the Oxford & Rugby Railway. It left Oxford, made it to Aynho but then veered off westwards towards Warwick and Birmingham. Rugby never saw it, but considering its importance as a railway town probably didn't notice. The building is a classic, very likely designed by Brunel, certainly drawn-up by an assistant under the master's supervision. It has the trademark canopy extending around all elevations, although at some time this was severely cut back from its original extensive overhang. Just one storey, the station is built in local stone and, like other stations on this route, has a waiting room bay window on the Oxford side. Imagine sitting here with morning sunlight streaming in, folding up your Times when you hear the shrill whistle of the Birmingham train approaching, white billows of steam drifting out over the Oxford Canal that runs at its side. The station was closed in 1964, but continued as the local Charringtons coal office until let as a private dwelling. There is still a working line at its side, the atmosphere of a coalyard intact. The big house on the hill, Aynho Park, had a platform of its own on the Bicester branch. Now I really fancy that, my own platform. Trouble is, no train would ever stop.
I am a designer, writer and photographer who spends all his time looking at England, particularly buildings and the countryside. But I have a leaning towards the slightly odd and neglected, the unsung elements that make England such an interesting place to live in. I am the author and photographer of over 25 books, in particular Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2006), More from Unmitigated England (Adelphi 2007), Cross Country (Wiley 2011), The Cigarette Papers (Frances Lincoln 2012), Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012) and English Allsorts (Adelphi 2015)