Totem returns to Handforth Station after 30 years

Screenshot 2024-02-12 at 12.35.33

A British Railways totem has been discovered after 30 years and returned to Handforth Station.

Before 1994, the station name totems on the platforms at Handforth Station were made of steel. The front face of the totems comprised a background of maroon enamel with superimposed white lining and lettering.

In 1994 the ownership of Handforth Station changed from British Railways (London Midland Region) to Railtrack and the old British Railways platform name totems changed to the more modern Railtrack versions.

Local Handforth resident Jean Smith was passing the station whilst this work was being carried out, and spotted a damaged British Railways totem that was about to be scrapped. She was given permission to take it home where it was kept, unrestored, in her attic for the next 30 years.

The totem was rediscovered in Jean's attic after, sadly, she passed away in November 2023. Jean's family generously offered to donate the totem to the Friends of Handforth Station (FoHS).

At a ceremony on the station concourse held on 10th February, Scott Dempster (Jean's son-in law) presented the totem to Mike Bishop, President of the FoHS. Scott said: "It is the family's wish that the totem be displayed at Handforth Station to keep the memory of Jean alive."

Mike Bishop said "The FoHS are honoured and very grateful to receive the totem, and hope fully to comply with the family's wishes for its display. One of our objectives as the Friends of Handforth Station is to retain and maintain historical artefacts like this.

:Before displaying it, we will seek expert opinion about the advisability of attempting to restore the left hand wing of the totem to its former glory".