Derek Medhurst

The renovation of Bat & Ball Station, Sevenoaks

Sevenoaks Camera Club was invited to record, for Sevenoaks Town Council, the renovation of Bat & Ball Station in Sevenoaks. This was the original terminus for the town built in 1862. In 1992 it was closed to the public and boarded up, although train services continuted to use the station. It deteriorated with time and the Town Council got a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund to renovate it and create a community asset of meeting rooms and café.

The work took place over eight to nine months of 2018 and 2019. I did the vast majority of the photography with Roger Lee, a friend from the Club, largely as we lived nearest and had better availability than the other volunteers. In the end I took photos on 54 occasions, and Roger almost as many.

What started with the simple aim of recording the building work for the Council soon expanded into looking for unusual shots on the site, record shots of small finds, and portraits of the craftsmen - as well as the "process" shots.

The pictures below are a very small selection of my own photos from a fascinating and rewarding medium-term photographic project. It was well worth the effort, both personally and because we were giving something to the community: our pictures illustrated the renovation's progress on the station's website and we were able to put on an exhibition of our work and give a talk to the public about our part in the project.

  • The roof space at the start of work
  • Early work in the old luggage room
  • The old ticket office was to become the café
  • The spirit of old Bat & Ball?
  • One of many old hinges from the site
  • Memorabilia
  • A good working relationship built up
  • Paul
  • Alan
  • Does it have to be sharp?
  • Midnight working
  • Blue spots
  • Duct pipe
  • Blue and yellow
  • Sun sand and sea
  • Mirror map
  • Pull
  • Through to the new café

As well as the exhibition and talk, Roger and I produced a photobook of just a small selection of the 1500 or more photos we took during the project. "What a wonderful record of renovation and all those who made it possible. I can imagine the community was grateful for your efforts to document the work. Of course you have gone beyond just documenting. You have captured the people and the small moments of beauty. Well done!"

It's being sold in the Bat & Ball station café, Sevenoaks Bookshop, Bluebell Railway bookshop at Sheffield Park. or direct from Blurb online publishers.

Bat & Ball Station website.