IT WAS a railway station used by Queen Victoria to get to her seaside retreat.
But now Gosport’s once-derelict train terminal has been officially reopened as a block of affordable houses and flats.
Developers have kept the original entrance in Spring Garden Lane along with the platforms and iconic archway.
The station was used by Queen Victoria on journeys to and from Osborne House on the Isle of Wight, until her death in 1901.
People who have moved into the transformed station yesterday celebrated the official opening of the development.
Madeleine Clarke, 62, and her 68-year-old husband Bill moved in earlier this year.
Mrs Clarke said: ‘It’s absolutely fantastic.
‘It’s nice that they have been able to keep the old building as it was.
‘Round the back of our house are the old platforms which they have kept as a garden.
‘It’s also really nice because everyone who lives here is a mix of ages, so there’s older people and couples and children.
‘It’s keeping an old part of Gosport alive.’
Between the platforms, a communal garden has been built where the tracks once ran.
Developers Guinness Hermitage also included a waiting garden which was part of the station’s original plans but never built.
Gosport’s railway station opened in 1842 and closed in 1969.
It cost the architect, Sir William Tite, just under £11,000 to build.
Jim Dickson, chairman of the Guinness Hermitage board, said: ‘Keeping the original building has been a real success.
‘We have really kept the character of the building.
‘If Sir William Tite was alive today he would probably be impressed with what we have done.
‘It is a tad more expensive than the £11,000 that he spent but in my mind it’s well worth it.’
It took construction workers 18 months to transform the Grade II listed railway building into dozens of flats and houses at a cost of £5.5m.
Lady Antonia Douro, president of the Guinness Partnership, yesterday unveiled a plaque to mark a restoration award given by the Gosport Society.
Lady Douro said: ‘This site is steeped in Gosport’s history.
‘It is going to house Gosport people and has a very important historical connection with the rest of the nation.
‘We decided to take an expensive option and provide good quality buildings. We set ourselves an objective a long time ago that we wanted all of our buildings to be aesthetically pleasing.
‘I congratulate everybody who has been a part of that.’