We love METAL’s galleries at Edge Hill. If only all railway stations offered you something so substantial to chew on while you waited for the 8:20 to Runcorn. Their year-round series of exhibitions, events and awards make that Simply Food and WH Smith combo at Lime Street look as insipid as a Virgin trains butty.
But, cultural aesthetes that we are, we do occasionally need reminding that the galleries are actually housed in the oldest passenger railway station still in use in the world.
That’s quite something, isn’t it? Imagine the stories these buildings could tell…
Actually, you don’t have to. Because this week sees the launch of a fascinating new exhibition at METAL: the launch of the Edge Hill Archive. To rail enthusiasts this place is always worth a pilgrimage – but, for the next couple of months, we reckon this station should be a destination for anyone interested in this city’s unrivalled industrial heritage.
“After re-opening the station buildings in 2009, and following on from discussions we had with members of our Future Station group, we decided that there needed to be some way of telling the amazing story of the history of Edge Hill and this famous station to a wider audience, in a unique and innovative way,” says METAL’s Jenny Porter.
“It’s not just a story for railway enthusiasts but something that has had a massive impact on the way we live our lives, similar to the way the internet has changed how we experience the world today.
“So creating an archive that was housed online and told through interviews with former railway workers, Edge Hill residents, train-spotters and historians, seemed like the perfect way to gather such a diverse and rich history.”
This Saturday sees the launch of the new website, www.edgehillstation.co.uk complete with amazing oral histories, rare photographs and pioneer stories but, within the station itself there’s an exhibition of new work by painter in residence James Quin, a display of some of the objects and photographs that have been donated to us and a new booklet celebrating the history of station and location, which you can keep.
On 17 November, local troubadour Alun Parry will host an evening of songs inspired by railways (how many can you think of, off the top of your head?) and culture champs Culturepool will be hosting their last-ever event on Saturday 19th November. Join them for a cake, a cuppa and chat. And, who knows, a brief encounter that signals the start of another chapter in our city’s history.
The Edge Hill Archive
12 November – 16 December
METAL, Edge Hill