Full disclosure before I start this blog post – I didn’t actually get on or off a train at Lichfield City station, but I’m still counting it as having been visited. My blog, my rules.
My trip on Monday 12th September began at Burton New Street bus stop number 7, as I caught the 1010 X12 service to Lichfield. It was a double decker bus, so I felt obliged to sit upstairs and at the front of the bus. The journey takes around 40 minutes, with a detour near Lichfield due to the HS2 works being carried out near the A38. On the way to Lichfield, the bus passed through the new housing estate near Lichfield Trent Valley station, which I had a walk around back in February when I went to Shenstone.
After alighting from the bus at Lichfield bus station, I crossed over the road to Lichfield City railway station.
Lichfield City railway station first opened in 1849, but the current station dates from 1884. The first station was demolished in 1882 as it was too small. Up until 1965, trains ran between Lichfield City to Burton on Trent. The line remains in situ, and there are hopes that a regular service between the two stations (and beyond) can recommence one day. Lichfield City station was in the news for a tragic reason in 1990 when a 19 year old soldier, William Robert Davies, was shot and killed inside the station by members of the Provisional IRA. A plaque on the wall at the station commemorates this event.
I left the station, having had a walk up to the platforms to take some photos, and then headed up St John Street to visit the Festival Gardens and see the Friary Clock Tower. Lichfield is steeped in history and has retained many of its centuries-old buildings.
The clock tower was built in 1863 and originally stood somewhere else in the city, but a new road had to be built to alleviate Lichfield’s traffic problems, and so it was dismantled and re-erected in 1928 in its current spot.
Just across the road is the Festival Gardens, a public park with a brook running through it. The gardens were named for the 1951 Festival of Britain, which occurred when the park was opened to the public in July of that year. The park is bisected by the Western Bypass road, and there is a rather claustrophobic tunnel under the road for pedestrian access.
The next point of interest was nearby Beacon Park, the largest public park in the city of Lichfield. The park has several areas; an open field, golf course, children’s play area and the Museum Gardens. I had a walk around the perimeter path of the park.
The Museum Gardens has many statues within it, as well as a working fountain. The statues are of King Edward VII, Captain Edward John Smith and Erasmus Darwin.
King Edward VII was the King from 1901 until his death in 1910 and the great-great grandfather of the current monarch, King Charles III. His statue was presented to the city of Lichfield in 1908 as a gesture of the city’s loyalty to the king. It was re-dedicated in 2013 when the Princess Royal (Anne) visited the city.
Commander Edward John Smith (RD RNR) was the captain of RMS Titanic, which sank on its maiden voyage in 1912 after hitting an iceberg. He was not from Lichfield; he hailed from Hanley in Stoke-on-Trent, but it was felt that Lichfield was an easier place for people to travel to in order to see his statue.
Erasmus Darwin moved to Lichfield in 1757 and was a scientist, physician, philosopher, inventor and poet. His statue was unveiled in 2012. He was the grandfather of Charles Darwin, of Theory of Evolution fame.
Across the road from the Museum Gardens is the Remembrance Garden, laid out as a tribute to local men who died during the First World War. At the moment, it is where the city’s residents can pay tribute to Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II by laying flowers. I took a walk over to look at some of the tributes, then left to walk past the Minster Pool towards Lichfield Cathedral.
Lichfield Cathedral is an Anglican cathedral. Construction began on the present Lichfield Cathedral in 1195 and wasn’t completed until 1340, around 150 years later. It is the only medieval cathedral in England with three spires. When I visited, a book of condolence for Elizabeth II was available for visitors to sign, and more floral tributes were laid outside the cathedral in her memory. There was also a lot of sand outside the cathedral; a ‘beach’ had been installed for children to play in over the summer holidays. It’s also absolutely massive, which makes taking photos of it from close up very difficult.
It had started to rain, and I hadn’t brought a jacket, so I decided to head to the bus station to catch the next bus back to Burton. Lichfield is a great place, and I should come back more often. Thanks very much for reading.
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