Marefield is remote Leicestershire, up on the eastern approaches not far from the borders with Rutland. The Great Northern Railway opened a ten mile line from Leicester's red brick Belgrave Road station in 1882, out through Ingarsby and Lowesby until joining up with the GNR/LNWR joint track from Market Harborough to Melton Mowbray at what became known as Marefield Junction. An unadvertised daily train took workers to the dairy at John O'Gaunt (just north of this red brick viaduct) until 1957, and the last passenger traffic of summer holiday excursions from Leicester to the Lincolnshire coast finished in 1962. I must have gone over this viaduct many times, clutching an enamel bucket and spade and wondering 'are we there yet?'. We weren't. Further south from here a beautiful blue brick viaduct over the Eye Brook was detonated as a cheap source of hardcore, so I marvel even more at the continued existence of this lone survivor, admired now only by walkers and the odd cow ruminating in the field close by. Whose milk I suppose goes by road to some industrial plant far away, when once it ended up in a dairy next door that sent three or four tankers of milk to London every day.
I am a 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) and Preposterous Erections (Frances Lincoln 2012)