Kirby Cross Railway Station's Cross
Since Kirby Cross Railway Station was not specifically built for Christian worship, why does 'Cross' feature in the name? Can a cross be found there?
Kirby Cross Station
Kirby Cross village is 77 miles east of London, just outside the town of Frinton-on-Sea in the lovely English county of Essex. Apart from the North Sea, there is nothing much beyond Kirby Cross. The area is mainly farmland and there is a strict policy against erecting non-agricultural buildings, which makes it an ideal place for some peace and quiet.
There were five working manor houses at one time, meaning it has been a thriving area for hundreds of years. So there might well have been a monument or 'cross' significant enough to name one of the villages 'Kirby Cross' but such a cross no longer exists. The local Residents Association tells us that the village is probably so named because roads once crossed in the middle of the village. (Now the road layout has changed, with a 60-metre section of Frinton Road between two roundabouts, so that particular 'Kirby Cross' no longer exists.)
At Kirby Cross Station, to get from the 'up' platform (to London) from the 'down' platform (from London) you must walk across the track, which is a relatively safe manoeuvre since trains only approach Kirby Cross once or twice an hour. The station is close to the point where Kirby Road (from Great Holland to Kirby-le-Soken) crosses the railway line.
When the line was electrified with hideous overhead power lines, engineers could see the potential danger from crossing farm vehicles. To overcome this, a cutting was made in the road to allow vehicles to pass under the line. So there is not actually a railway/road junction here and consequently, we cannot say that is the 'Kirby Cross'.
To see the real Kirby Cross you need to be in the right place at the right time. Not much happens in the village. The old red-brick station house is disused, boarded up, and offers plenty of scope for bored local youths to enjoy a bit of mischief. But there is not much there to vandalise and the mobile police station visits the village just twice a month - for 30 minutes on the first and third Wednesday.
However, the area is certainly not lifeless. The photo on the right shows the Soken Molly Gang performing 'Double Change Sides'. (We are assured that is NOT how they usually cross the railway line!) Their dance repertoire also includes 'Smash the Windows' (reference to riots in the area in the early 19th century), 'The Little Snoring Dance' (reference to ...errr... something less lively than riots in the area in the early 19th century), and of course a dance called the 'Kirby Cross'.
And that is the only time you can see the Kirby Cross.
See the Soken Molly Gang website for an interesting read about the Kirby Riots of 1830