History and Restoration
St Pancras International has been voted one of London's favourite landmarks and has a rich and colourful history.
St Pancras train station was designed by William Barlow in 1863, with construction commencing in 1866. The famous Barlow train shed arch spans 240 feet and is over 100 feet high at its apex. On its completion in 1868 it became the largest enclosed space in the world.
One of the most recognisable features of St Pancras International today, the red brick Grade 1 listed Gothic front facade was created as part of a competition in 1865, and became the Midland Grand Hotel - designed by Sir George Gilbert Scott, father of Giles, and built between 1868 to 1876.
In 1935 the Midland Grand Hotel was closed and the building became railway offices, and known as the St Pancras Chambers.
The station performed an important role during both world wars, acting as a meeting place for troops, a departure point for soldiers off to war, and to help transport children out of London to the safety of the countryside.
During WWII the station was hit during the Blitz on London. Despite the devastation, London Midland and Scottish Railway engineers soon had the platforms working again.
The greatest threat to the station came in 1966 with plans to amalgamate King's Cross and St Pancras. However, public opinion had been sharpened by the demolition of Euston in 1962. Sir John Betjeman took up the cause to protect the station and, in 1967, the Government listed the station and hotel as Grade 1.
The St Pancras Chambers were used as BR offices until 1985 before falling vacant in the late eighties. In the early nineties emergency safeguarding works were undertaken to combat roof leakages and general decay.
St Pancras International remains one of the greatest Victorian buildings in London. It has become not just a key destination for Eurostar and high-speed rail in the UK, but a fantastic retail and hospitality destination, a great place for filming and photography and an usual space for hosting events.
The St Pancras Renaissance London Hotel opened in spring 2011. Boasting 244 luxurious bedrooms, a handful of meeting and event rooms with a maximum capacity of up to 550 people, the Gilbert Scott restaurant run by celebrity chef Marcus Wareing, and stunning public spaces including The Booking Office Bar which offers direct St Pancras International platform access, this hotel is a true all-rounder.