Saturday 13th April 2019 sees the 200th Anniversary of the Mansfield & Pinxton Railway, which is believed to be England’s oldest continuously running commercial railway and features England’s oldest railway viaduct at the side of the Kings Mill Reservoir. Celebrations are being held in Mansfield Town Centre to mark the occasion.
The Kirkby & District Archaeological Group, in partnership with other local heritage organisations, obtained a Heritage Fund grant to enable this significant milestone in English history to be celebrated. Half of the line is currently incorporated into the “Robin Hood Line”, which enables passengers from Worksop, Mansfield and other locations to access Nottingham many times each day. The rest of the line still runs through Pinxton, carrying freight trains, several times each week.
10.45am: A walk from the Portland viaduct (now known as the Kings Mill Viaduct) next to the Kings Mill Reservoir to Mansfield town centre, loosely following the line of the original track. The walk will include a brief introduction and will be led by the Mansfield District Corps of Drums; this is a repeat of 200 years ago, where a procession was accompanied by a marching band.
11.45am: Congregate at the Mansfield railway station for a photo opportunity, which will include:
11.45am: A peal of bells from the parish church of St Peter & Paul; repeat from 200 years ago
12.15pm: The party will be led by the band into the town centre, passing by a plaque that marks the site of the 1819 warehouse that once acted as the original terminus for the line. A barrow of coal will be taken from the station to the town centre to symbolise the first load of coal that was brought into the town 200 years ago. The original event held a bonfire, using coal from the Pinxton collieries, on the market place.
12.15pm: Music starts on a stage in front of the town hall, being kicked-off with the Huthwaite Prize Band. See below for a full list of entertainment.
12.30pm: A special buffet for invited guests will be held at the Swan Inn, where an anniversary cake will be cut. The same inn was used 200 years earlier for their celebratory dinner.
2.00pm: A short speech will be delivered by the Executive Mayor of Mansfield to inform the public why we are celebrating.
2.10pm: Judging of a Period Dress Competition by invited dignitaries, which will take place in front of the town hall.
2.20pm: Resume the musical entertainment
3.50pm: End of the event
Throughout the event there will be a gazebo near the town hall where an exhibition of the railway’s history will be displayed and special memorabilia available to purchase to celebrate the occasion. Hand-held flags will be given out throughout the day. There is also a competition for the Best Photograph of the event; the closing date being the following Saturday (20th April) with entries being sent via email to firstname.lastname@example.org. Both competitions have adult and junior sections and carry cash prizes for the first three places.
The Music Stage
This is a truly exciting occasion, to celebrate what is also believed to be England’s first full-length double-track rail to link two towns together; and it’s still running! Come along and join our celebrations, either on the walk or in the town centre, as we celebrate with music and enthusiasm.