An historic building which is believed to be the oldest to house a working railway ticket office has opened in Wirksworth.
Part of the Old Tannery, adjacent to Wirksworth Station, has been transformed into a new booking office for the Ecclesbourne Valley Railway.
Secretary of State for Transport, Derbyshire Dales MP Patrick McLoughlin, officially opened the new office on Friday.
Built around 1750, the tannery pre-dated the railway by 117 years and formed part of the complex, still present today, called Newbridge Works, named after a bridge built over the River Ecclesbourne which was subsequently absorbed by the station and yard.
Neil Ferguson-Lee, vice chairman of the heritage railway group which operates the line between Wirksworth and Duffield, said: “Used originally by an animal skin company to store the raw hides before being sent away for processing, around the turn of the 1900s, the building became more closely associated with the railway through a company called Fletcher Brothers who dealt in animal feeds.
“Feed was brought to Wirksworth Station by rail and loaded into the building via the doorway which we have recently opened-up as our main public entrance.”
The new booking office is situated at mezzanine level. Volunteers have renovated the mezzanine floor, installed internal partition walls, heating, lighting and a welcoming counter area to greet customers, who enter through an upgraded accessible entrance.
The old temporary booking office will now be removed, creating an open area for events and entertainment.