Apart from the pleasure of the company of the aforementioned trio, my main incentive to visit the city was to behold the magnificence of St Pancras station. The most magnificent of Victorian buildings
In 1865, a competition was held to design the front façade of the station including a new hotel. George Gilbert Scott, the most celebrated gothic architect of his day, won the competition even though his design was larger than the rules allowed. Construction of the hotel started in 1868 however the economic downturn of the late 1860s meant that the hotel, named the Midland Grand, was only completed in 1876. Striking and self confident, the station and hotel completely dominated its Great Northern neighbours.
In 1923 St Pancras was transferred to the management of the London Midland & Scottish Railway; the LMS focused its activities on Euston, and so began the decline of St Pancras over the next 60 years. In 1935 the Midland Grand was closed as a hotel due to falling bookings and profit, blamed on the lack of en suite facilities in the bedrooms. It was used instead as office accommodation for railway staff and renamed St Pancras Chambers.
During WWII, the station played an important role for troops departing for war and children being evacuated from London. Although the station was hit hard during the blitz, there was only superficial damage and the station was quickly up and running.
Throughout the 1950s and 1960s, the decline of St Pancras continued and British Railways tried to close and demolish the station a number of times. John Betjeman spearheaded a campaign to save the station and hotel, and in November 1967 was successful in getting the buildings declared Grade 1 listed just days before demolition was due to begin.
Although the buildings were saved, their decline was allowed to continue; the hotel building was mothballed in 1985 and the train shed roof fell into a state of serious disrepair.....to be continued
|camera||PENTAX K-3 II|
|exposure mode||aperture priority|