I can’t tell you how many times I’ve bashed through St Pancs and never knew there was an amazing statue upstairs. ( I didn’t even realise that there was an upstairs with restaurants and shops! ) I missed my train that day, and had some time to kill, so I climbed the stairs to only to discover this amazing statue of Sir John Betjeman, coat blowing in the wind, gazing up at the amazing roof.
In the 1960’s, old was seen as redundant, and this fabulous train station, and hotel, The St Pancras Chambers, were on the chopping block.
It survived bombing during World War two. Demolition was on the horizon for this Grade 11 listed build. This is a fabulous example of Victorian architecture and was opened in 1868.
The roof that Betjeman is staring at in wonder, when this station was first opened, is the Barlow roof, the largest single span roof in the world! All this, at my train station! The statue was designed by Martin Jennings, and is in honour of Betjeman’s valiant and successful challenge to save this beautiful train station from demolition! The statue is two meter’s high and has lines from Betjeman’s Cornish Cliff’s inscribed. Sometimes it pays to miss a train and have a mooch around. I’m glad I ventured upstairs with my coffee to kill time! And a massive thank you to a wonderful poet for seeing the beauty in the old!
And in the shadowless unclouded glare
Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where
A misty sea-line meets the wash of air.
—John Betjeman, Cornish Cliffs
I saw a documentary on the renovation of St. Pancras and immediately put it on my “must see” list. The place looked utterly gorgeous!
I missed that! When was the docco? When you go to St Pancs, make sure you go upstairs, and from the upper exit it will put you Street level with the great hotel. There is a fun bar in the hotel if you fancy a drink! Not far from St Pancs, ( the opposite end of the station from the hotel) you can walk the Regent Canal.( another post to come) you’ll see close up the old gas holders, and the old buildings that are now a college! Plus there is a Canal Boat Museum to have a mooch around in! Gosh I do love London….maybe a little too much! 🙂
really enjoyed this post – and glad you had your camera when you had time to kill!! Sir John is cool and so is that hotel! London is truly beautiful and rich – oh and thanks for the mini history – I like who you said in the ’60’s “old was viewed as redundant…”