In September, Stephen Salter drew our attention to an ornate terracotta head at the northern end of Platform 4, repeated in several places below the canopy line at the railway station. He had asked Greater Anglia about what or who this represents, but they did not know. Later, railway history enthusiast, Mervyn Russen, saw the enquiry and happened to be at the station.
‘I had some trouble locating the heads but eventually found some – sixteen in all. They are located on the waiting room building on the island platform between Platform areas 3A and 4B at the tunnel end of the island. There are eight on each side of the building… What is more, there appears to be more than one cast used because the beard designs are different on the examples shown here and they are staring at the world at different angles. All of them seem to be enjoying the company of snails.
‘The heads must have been installed at around the same time as the island platform was built in 1883 – almost forty years after the main station was constructed. When I saw Stephen’s example, I wondered if it was Mercury (Roman mythology) or Hermes (Greek mythology), the messenger god. This might fit with it being placed on a railway station. One employee at the station said that he had been told that they were Greek gods.’
[Our thanks to Mervyn and Stephen for the photographs and we hope that Society members might be able to come up with further information. -Ed.]