During the 1920’s and 30’s, many retired railway carriages made their final stop along the British coastline. Local areas including Pagham, Felpham and Selsey saw carriages of varying designs arriving to be used as holiday accommodation.
These carriages are still in use today as holiday/residential accommodation, with most having been enveloped by modern additions and some even restored to their former splendour.
Over the years, our Selsey office has been lucky enough to market several such properties from fully restored Pullman Carriages, which were the epitome of luxury rail travel in their heyday, to somewhat more mysterious rail cars whose origins remain unknown. The majority of these homes have been located to the east of the village in an area that was once referred to as ‘The Parks’. This too is the location of the most recent carriage to join our register: ‘Tulip’, 5 Park Copse.
‘Tulip’ was built in 1897 by Jackson and Sharp, founded in Delaware. From humble beginnings, with the capacity to store just six railroad cars initially, the company thrived and by the late 1800’s it was thought to be the largest rolling stock plant in the USA with the capacity for 75 cars to be stored. Major production of rail cars ended in the 1930’s and the production facility, which was by then owned by American Car and Foundry focused instead on shipbuilding.
Designed in a Pullman-esque style, ‘Tulip’ is one of only three carriages of this type to be built, and is the only one that was imported to England, commissioned by the Folkestone Railway, on whose lines she ran until 1914. She was put into storage during World War l and in 1918 was used sporadically for special occasions. Throughout her service as a luxury rail car it is believed that she carried notable figures of the time, including members of the royal family. In the 1930’s she was moved to Selsey to be used as a holiday home and, following years of neglect, sadly became a shadow of her former self. The current owner has worked tirelessly to restore the original features of the carriage which, thankfully, had not been lost over time.
Resplendent with the original brass luggage racks that adorn the walls and the original door furniture still in-situ, ‘Tulip’ is a testament to days gone by. The use of mahogany, satinwood and oak in separate carriages gives each part its own identity.
The property occupies a mature plot with rural views to the rear and uninterrupted, panoramic sea views. An additional benefit is ownership of the foreshore, up to the mean high water mark.
Since her restoration, ‘Tulip’ has been enjoyed by many people holidaying in Selsey, even making it into a list of Britain’s best rail carriage hotels compiled for The Telegraph in 2010.
It is always a privilege to market properties of this nature and an absolute joy to learn about their history and connect them with their future custodians. ‘Tulip’ represents a unique opportunity to purchase not only a slice of history but also a substantial property with the potential to be a charming and characterful home, or a lucrative business venture.
The history of railway carriages here in Selsey will be explored as part of the Selsey Walking and Outdoor Festival that runs from May 25th – June 2nd. Visit https://selseywalkingfestival.wordpress.com/ for a list of all the events that are taking place.