St. Pancras and King’s Cross stations are a stone’s throw apart. It’s puzzling why two large stations should have been built so close together, and yet they were.
St Pancras looks the older, with its ornate Victorian brickwork and railings. Just look at that name sign, in wrought iron. Atop these magnificent gates with spikes and curls aplenty. No feature is considered beyond the scope of decorative detail.
Compare these excesses to the comparative simplicity of King’s Cross. Clean lines and arches, a nod to decoration on the arches and that little clock tower which divides the main frontage. The arches glazed with an expanse of clear panes in a square grid pattern. The painting suggests a green, glass hue but otherwise the effect is simple.
Yes, these two stations are opposites in many ways, but their proximity is a curious matter. These are both major stations and both deserving of the mainline station status. I wondered why they are so close together? After a little research, I discovered that King’s Cross is actually older, opening in 1852 and owned by The Great Northern Railway Company. St Pancras opened in 1868 and was built by the Midland Railway Company on land that was available next door to the older station.
In the midground, London life presses on with its usual level of busyness. Taxis line up at the traffic lights, no doubt with new fares just collected from either of the stations. After they delivered their previous fares to the same. A suggestion of people can be out although these are funny looking people and could easily be sculptures. Some are no longer recognisable as people as they merge into the background.
A bank of cycles fills the pavement, untidily abandoned, propped and dropped. A figure appears to be untangling his ride from the knots of metal and wheels. Colour is focused in the building of King’s Cross and a little yellow ambulance. The bright sky is constrained by the brickwork of the gateposts and black lace work of the sign. And now we’ve come full circle.
A familiar sight to the daily commuter, the railway station takes on an exotic feel when it is the beginning of a journey abroad. Stations have always fascinated me because they are so often the beginning of an adventure and adventures can take us anywhere.
A limited edition A4 Digital print of an original painting by Cathy Read. The print is signed and numbered, with a white mount and include a certificate of authenticity. Edition size 150