Last month a new garden was officially opened at Sowerby Bridge railway station. It’s called the Brontë Garden, and is maintained by volunteers from the Friends of Sowerby Bridge Railway Station. It sits on a small parcel of land next to the car park, opposite platform one.
The name comes from the station’s slightly tenuous link with the Brontë family. The Brontës hail from over the hills in Haworth, in the Worth Valley, but one of the Brontë siblings was employed at Sowerby Bridge station at its time of opening in the 1840s. He was Branwell Brontë, brother of the three famous sisters Emily, Anne and Charlotte. He was later appointed at another station further up the line at Luddendenfoot – this station succumbed to the rationalisation of the railways in the 1960s and no longer exists.
The garden isn’t particularly big but does house a bench and small gravelled area, along with some planters built using old railway sleepers. There’s also a restored luggage trolley, with opened suitcases serving as planters.
As well as the garden, the Friends of Sowerby Bridge Railway Station look after various other planters on the platforms, many of which are sponsored by local businesses. It’s a relatively young group, having only been formed in November 2010 (co-incidentally about the same time I moved to Sowerby Bridge). Whilst they are a voluntary group, they’ve done quite a bit to make the station look nicer – a hard ask, thanks to its brutal concrete architectural style.