Thursday, 19 August 2010

St Pancras International

I needed to catch a train from here this morning and had time to take a few pictures of this stunning old/new station.

St Pancras train station was designed by William Barlow in 1863 with construction commencing in 1866. When the station first opened in 1868 William Barlow's train shed was a spectacular feat of Victorian engineering and held the world record for the largest enclosed space for many years. The roof is 689 ft long by 100 ft high and with a 243 ft span. Restoration work has seen the Barlow Shed completely reglazed and the paint work taken back to its intended pale sky blue. The ridge and furrow glazing of the Barlow shed contains 14,080 glass panels, giving a total glassed area of nearly 10,000m2... Almost 2 football pitches - or 38 tennis courts. The bottom third of the roof is finished with 300,000 slates hand crafted and supplied from Wales.

The famous St Pancras clock has been reconstructed by the original makers Dent, and now can be seen at the apex of the Barlow arch once more.

Sir John Betjeman was responsible for saving both the St Pancras chambers and the station from demolition in the 1960s. In tribute to the famous poet and railway lover a sculpture by Martin Jennings stands at platform level to celebrate the man and his poetry. The sculpture features the poet looking up in awe at the splendour of the Barlow shed whilst catching hold of his hat.

The 8 1/2ft high statue stands on a flat disc of Cumbrian slate inscribed with lines from Betjeman's poem Cornish Cliffs:

“ And in the shadowless unclouded glare / Deep blue above us fades to whiteness where / A misty sea-line meets the wash of air. ”

It was was unveiled on 12 November 2007 by Betjeman's daughter, the author Candida Lycett Green

The Meeting Place is a 9m high, 20-tonne bronze of a couple by British sculptor Paul Day. It is intended to evoke the romance of travel through the depiction of a couple locked in an amorous embrace. The couple stand underneath the famous St Pancras clock.

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