Saturday, 27 October 2012

London's finest station?

I'm not convinced that question mark should be there actually - I would say - and I happen to known that my Dad would agree with me, that St Pancras IS London's finest station. I've blogged about it before - and that can't be said about any of the other stations in the capital I don't think?  There are few buildings in London more impressive than that fantastic 1868 Victorian facade...


And the vaulted roof was, for a good while, the largest of its kind anywhere in the world. The work that was done refurbishing it for the arrival of the Eurostar service could have been an absolute disaster but is, instead, a complete triumph with the metalwork picked out in duck-egg blue contrasting beautifully with the red brickwork.


It's hard not to get excited about any station with trains going to such exotic locations - vaguely reminiscent of the old "Boat-Trains" or more recently the MotoRail & sleeper services - such long distances to travel on trains - a form of transport which we usually think of as being for shorter journeys...


A quick nose around the station's upstairs concourse turns up a number of interesting sculptures - first off our old friend John Betjeman of course -


- there he stands, coat tails flapping, shopping bag in hand, surveying that wonderful roof with an expression of wonderment. Around his feet, and on plaques set into the ground nearby, lines from his poems...


At the very end of the upstairs concourse, fittingly positioned under the clock, can be found Paul Day's "The Meeting Place" featuring a couple embracing. This has an almost timeless quality - the clothes clearly carefully chosen to ensure that it doesn't date -

  Around the base scenes familiar to anyone - all connected to stations and rail travel in some way - here servicemen returning to war being waved off by their families....


and a scene from St Pancras itself - a busy, bustling scene - I love the modern twist with the young lady on the right clutching her mobile phone!


The detail in these sculptures are incredible - if you think they look familiar then you would be right - the sculptor is the same person to have created the Battle of Britain memorial on the Victoria Embankment. Originally the frieze around the bottom of The Meeting Place was intended to contain a section depicting a commuter falling into the path of a tube train driven by the Grim Reaper, however after complaints this panel was replaced with another.

Robyn

3 comments:

wendz said...

I haven't been to St Pancras for a while - but agree it's lovely. The Meeting Place is fabulous.

By the way - do you know that there's a few lines of what looks like BLogger advertising in the middle of your 2nd last paragraph?

Laura said...

I travel from Leicester and St Pancras is my arrival point..I always take a moment to look around as it's lovely....the exotic destination board makes it even better :)

Robyn said...

Wendz, thanks so much for pointing that out - I shall be complaining to Blogger is anything like THAT happens again! Now edited out.
Laura, the destination board always makes me giggle! All these serious - if unusual - destinations, then "Disneyland"! :-)