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By Ellen Tait on

A new look for King’s Cross Station

Ellen Tait traces the renovation of a Victorian railway icon.

Last May we talked on the blog about the King’s Cross redevelopment project, though it hadn’t yet reached the final stage it had won an EU Prize for Cultural Heritage in the area of conservation.

King's Cross, National Railway Museum
The spectacular western concourse
© Network Rail

Following the renovation of the original station building and the construction of a new western concourse, the final stage of the £550m redevelopment project was the opening of the 75,000 sq ft King’s Cross Square. This took place back in 2013, marked by the pulling of a Victorian railway signal lever and explosion of streamer canons.

Boris Johnson at King's Cross, National Railway Museum
< Boris Johnson at the opening of the square
© Phil Adams/Network Rail

The redevelopment project has helped attract £2.2bn of private investment into a previously largely derelict and disused 67 acre site, including 2,000 new homes.

King's Cross, National Railway Museum
Aerial view of King’s Cross (October 2010)
© Network Rail

With the opening of the new square, for the first time in 150 years the Grade 1 listed station’s full historic façade can be seen in all its glory. This timelapse video, from Network Rail, shows the façade emerging as the ‘space deck’ roof is removed.

King's Cross, National Railway Museum
The historic façade starts to be revealed.
© Network Rail

The new space is big enough to accommodate Big Ben clock tower laid down length-ways.

King's Cross, National Railway Museum
The removal of the old fronting created potential for a new public space
© Network Rail

The new square offers a brand new space as well as improved entrances to the London Underground, an area dedicated to public art and a stunning lighting scheme.

King's Cross, National Railway Museum
The 75,000 sq ft public space

Transport Secretary Patrick McLoughlin said of the project “The official opening of King’s Cross Square marks the completion of one of the largest station modernisation projects across our national rail network and one of the government’s top infrastructure projects. With more platforms, a redesigned concourse and improved facilities, work at this iconic station has transformed the experience of thousands of rail passengers travelling into London for the better”

Watercolour, Arrival of Queen Victoria at King's Cross Station, by an unknown artist, possibly Lewis Cubitt, the station's architect, about 1852.
Watercolour, Arrival of Queen Victoria at King’s Cross Station, by an unknown artist, possibly Lewis Cubitt, the station’s architect, about 1852.

The station is now returned to it’s former 1850s glory.

The new look King's Cross Station. © Network Rail/ Hufton & Crow
The new look King’s Cross Station.
© Network Rail/ Hufton & Crow

Has anyone seen the redeveloped station? If anyone has their own images or experiences to share we’d love to hear from you. Post your thoughts in the comments or on our Facebook page.

You can read our original post about the modernisation project here.

4 comments on “A new look for King’s Cross Station

  1. There’s much to enjoy and admire here, and in functional terms the redevelopment is a great achievement. But what a pity that the square in front is so over-designed: rather than a calm setting to the architecture, it seems to want to be a co-star too, with its busy striped granite paving. A deeper understanding of King’s Cross station would have given us York stone slabs here – striped granite (Chinese?) is completely the wrong material for London, harsh and hard and unforgiving.

  2. I last visited Kings Cross a long time ago but once past the horror of the ‘booking hall’ the actual station itself was a grand space. I am horrified that what appears to be a curved lattice is shouting look at me rather than the subtle appreciation of architectural grandeur of this (previously)much abused building
    Hopefully I am wrong and have nothing to fear

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