The Granary was originally part of a goods interchange at Kings Cross at the centre of an enormous railway yard which covered the much of the Kings Cross area. The Granary was built in 1852 by Lewis Cubitt, architect of Kings Cross Station and stored up to 60,000 sacks of grain, accessed by 2 arms of the Regents Canal running under the ground floor, and by rail from 3 lines running east-west to the transit sheds.
In 2012 the Granary was restored and adapted for reuse by Central St Martins College, University of the Arts, and a new public square was created in front of it.
The Water Point once supported an enormous tank of water to supply the Midland Railway’s steam engines. Located at the end of the St Pancras train shed its Gothic appearance of red brick and limestone belied its function and created and design and visual connection to George Gilbert Scotts architectural detailing of the hotel and station buildings. It is believed to be England’s only example of an original train locomotive watering point designed as a whole building rather than a tank on columns.
Image: Robert Weatherburn, Superintendent of the Kentish Town Waterpoint, taken sometime in the 19th century © National Railway Museum/Science & Society Picture Library
To make room for the extended platforms of the modern day St Pancras International the Waterpoint was relocated 700m up the road to a site overlooking the St Pancras Yacht Basin on the Regents Canal. Rather than dismantle the structure brick by brick and lose its historic integrity it was sliced into three sections and moved.
Image: The Waterpoint viewed from the Regents Canal © HS1 Ltd
The gas holder was the most obvious manifestation of the gas works and became an enduring symbol of urban industrialisation which are sadly being lost from the urban landscape. Its familiarity disguises a combination of conceptual elegance and exceptional heavy engineering achievement. This was never more so than at the Imperial Gas Light & Coke Company works at St Pancras. Formed as a statutory company in 1821 it supplied London north of the Thames. During the first few years it built three gasworks, one of which was the St Pancras works, built in 1822 at Battlebridge Road. As demand for heat and light increased throughout the 19th century so gas works expanded and evolved to make better use of the available space and achieve economy of construction.
In 1850 the Company constructed a 25m high, 35m diameter gas holder (Gas Holder No. 8) on this site. It was listed Grade II and was dismantled by Kings Cross Central as part of an agreement entered into with English Heritage. It has been restored and re-erected north of the Regents Canal, overlooking the St Pancras Yacht Basin and the Waterpoint where it will be used as a park and event space.
Of particular note at these gas works was the Grade II listed linked triplet gasholder, known as the Siamese triplet, located next to the Midland Railway viaduct. Originally it had been intended to construct a substantial single holder on this site. Failure to secure permission to close off a right of way interfered with the proposal and thus the plans were reworked to maximise space and three small tanks were built between 1861 and 1867.
Image: Gasholder Triplets © HS1 Ltd
In 1880 the three tanks were telescoped, i.e. three lifts were introduced to increase storage capacity, resulting in three structurally interdependent holders. The cast and wrought iron holders consist of rings of three superimposed columns joined by narrow lattice girders. A subtlety of the design is that each of the three gasholders is of a different size and they have 13, 15 and 17 columns respectively. The triplet was dismantled in order to construct the extension to St Pancras and placed in storage as part of an agreement with English Heritage. They are now being reassembled at a new position north of the Regents Canal and will form an enclosure to a series of apartment buildings.
The German Gymnasium was constructed in 1864-5 for the German Gymnastics Society, a sports association formed in 1861 by what was at the time one of the largest single groups of immigrants in London. Gymnastics was very popular in Victorian Britain; the Society had 900 members in its first year. One of its founders, Ernest Ravenstein, organised the first Olympic Games in 1866, using the Gymnasium for the indoor events. It continued to be used for annual events until the first modern Olympic Games were held at White City in West London in 1908.
Image: Interior view of the German Gymnasium, published in The Builder, Vol. 24 May 1866. © Reproduced by permission of English Heritage
It was the first purpose-built Gymnasium in Britain and was designed by Edward Gruning. It is a two storey multi-coloured stock brick building with a roof constructed on laminated wood arches with cast iron spandrels. The interior exercise space was both grand and elegant with a floor to ceiling height of 57ft and a gallery at first floor level. The roof is an important early example of the use of laminated timber to give broad spans. This form of roof truss was first used at Kings Cross Station but later replaced.
Part of the western end of the building including the entrance hall was demolished to make way for the extension of St Pancras International. A new end wall has been created in keeping with the rest of the structure, and The Gymnasium is now used as a restaurant.
The Stanley Buildings were built in 1864-65 by the Improved Industrial Dwellings Company to provide a higher standard of accommodation for King’s Cross workers. There were originally four flats per floor, later converted to two. Flat roofs were provided for clothes drying and children’s play areas. The flats were unusual in that they provided completely self-contained accommodation.
There were originally 5 blocks housing 104 families, two were demolished during the Second World War and two were demolished to make way for the extension to St Pancras International. Today only one remains. The building is an early example of the use of concrete in construction – used because it was cheaper and reduced the risk of fire.
St Pancras Old Church is a former parish church after which the Station and its environs take their name. St Pancras was a Roman boy who converted to Christianity and was beheaded at 14 years old for his beliefs, by Diocletian in 304AD. The St Pancras Old Church seen today was largely reconstructed in 1847, but an inscribed altar stone, dated to around AD625 and found during the 1847 rebuilding, suggests early 7th century origins. During the Medieval period the Parish covered a large area of rural north London, however the huge urban expansion and industrialisation of London during the 18th and 19th centuries engulfed the church. This, unsurprisingly led to a great deal of pressure on burial grounds in and around London. In 1792 the burial ground was extended and its opening a year later coincided with the start of a dramatic increase in the number of burials following major cholera epidemics, peaking in the 1830s. The cemetery closed in 1854. Construction of the Midland Railway resulted in extensive disruption to the burial grounds resulting in Government intervention to ensure appropriate and respectful treatment of the remains. In 1877 the northern half of the church yard was formalised as a public park - the first of its kind.
The Great Northern Hotel opened in 1854. It was one of the earliest purpose-built railway hotels in the country. The hotel was designed by Lewis Cubitt and was for the patrons of the Great Northern Railway Company. At the time it was a glamorous and stylish destination. Its fire-resistant construction was pioneering, with thick walls dividing every room and corridors constructed of brick arches. The curved south west front reflects the original alignment of Old St Pancras Road. The hotel had some 100 bedrooms and a hydraulic lift, added in the 1880s.
Originally the hotel looked across a large expanse of garden to the station. Over the years the garden was annexed by station buildings and became "Station Place”.
Leslie Tomory. Progressive Enlightenment: The Origins of the Gaslight Industry, 1780–1820. Cambridge, MA: MIT Press, 2012.