A VICTORIAN railway station booking office where people once queued for tickets has been given a new lease of life.
The building on Station Road in Clowne is now home to a photographic studio run by Steve Hayes.
He said the premises were built around 1897 as a as a ticket booking office for the Lancashire, Derbyshire and East Coast Railway Company.
Steve, 41, has been a photographer for about 20 years and has always worked from home before.
But this summer he realised his dream of opening his own studio, in what has proved to be a fascinating building.
He said: “While we were refurbishing it we discovered many interesting facts about the building, including its previous occupants.”
“It has had many uses, including as a branch of the TSB bank.”
“We have found some lovely photos from when the trains used to run through a tunnel underneath the building and members of the local community have talked about how it was before it closed in 1939.”
“I love the fact the building has had so many different uses.”
“It has a lovely feel to it and we are very excited about adding to its history.”
Steve, of Meden Vale, near Mansfield, is running Hayes Photography part-time while still working in training and recruitment for a Nottingham call centre.
But as the business builds up he hopes to become a fulltime photographer.
He said: “We hadn’t been looking to open the business in Clowne but we were driving through one day, saw the sign and decided to take a look.”
“It’s doing really well so far, it’s in a good location and we get a lot of through-traffic.”
Steve is helped in the business by his partner Rebecca Weller, who also works as a psychiatric nurse in Chesterfield.
He said: “She helps me with the logistics of everything and ordering stock and frames. It’s a joint effort.”
Rebecca’s six-year-old daughter Alex is also showing an interest in photography and was taking pictures at Clowne Gala alongside Steve.
He does all kinds of photography, from weddings and special events, to family portraits.
He has even taken pictures of Brad Pitt.
“A customer brought some waxwork dummies into the studio for me to photograph and one of them was of Brad Pitt. So I’ve been telling people he’s been in my studio,” laughed Steve.
He is also keen to pass on his photographic knowledge and has done some work with Heritage High School in Clowne.
Emma Pellow is the school’s gifted and able mentor and achievement co-ordinator. She said: “It was really successful and I can’t recommend it enough, it was a great experience for the students.”
“Steve was very approachable and very enthusiastic, he really enthused them.”
“He has also invited us to his studio to look at the equipment and have a go with the cameras.”
Steve said he would also like to work with disadvantaged adults in the community, teaching the basics of photography.