Concept and aims
When the Friends of Goostrey Station (FOGS) formed in 2012, the Victorian wooden station building lay dilapidated and disused. The group gradually improved the overall station environment but retained a determination to renovate the building and bring it back into community use.
Working with Network Rail, the Rail Heritage Trust, and other partners, the roof and floors were repaired, electrics replaced, cladding and canopies recast, and the building repainted in traditional colours. Having altered the interior to create two large rooms, FOGS needed to find a suitable tenant for the building to help realise its potential.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, artist Debbie Goldsmith stopped working at the Tate Liverpool and set out to find somewhere as a base for creative workshops. The station building proved a perfect fit, and she agreed a contract with Northern, taking the keys in July 2021.
Since then, the station has turned into a real creative hub, with Debbie using the building as a studio to paint, create wool rugs, and prepare workshop materials. The workshops are designed to promote community cohesion, and have been well-received by the local community, including schools and youth groups.
Events have included the hosting of a Visual Arts Open Studio as part of Goosfest, the annual village arts festival, Holmes Chapel Rainbows learning how to make bird prints, and Goostrey Beavers making leaf prints, complementing other activities they enjoy with FOGS such as planting and building bug hotels.
In 2022, Debbie received a grant from the Let’s Create Jubilee Fund to support the Platinum Plaque Project, the first major community project at the studio. Older people shared their memories of Queen Elizabeth’s Coronation and her jubilees with local school children, inspiring them to design ceramic plaques and write Haiku poems. There will be a celebration event for families of all who have contributed and a permanent display at the station, ensuring a legacy of this historic event.
Goostrey Art Studio has revitalised the station building and created an environment that brings people of all ages and life experiences together. Participants relish opportunities to be creative and to work with a professional artist. Visitors are also encouraged to access the studio by rail or walking/cycling, promoting sustainable travel in the local area.
A recent successful application to the National Lottery will allow the building’s facilities to be improved, with the installation of a kitchen and toilets, ensuring more ambitious projects can be undertaken and the studio can be a community hub for years to come.