St Pancras Station

The Midland Railway needed an independent London terminus:’.. 1863: 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..’.

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The station is essentially a train shed, with 55-ton ribs made by the Butterley Iron Company. (The company was founded in Derbyshire in 1790 and went into administration in 2009.)

The train shed of St Pancras station
The train shed of St Pancras station

In 1865 there was a competition to design the Midland Grand Hotel to be built in front of and encircling the train shed. Sir George Gilbert Scott’s designs for the Houses of Parliament had been rejected and when his was the winning design for the station he was able to say ‘..I was glad to be able to erect one building in that style in London..’. At the time it was a sumptuous hotel of 250 rooms, but the hotel closed in 1935.

In 2003-7 the station was redeveloped to accommodate the Eurostar trains which run through the Channel Tunnel, and the hotel returned to a state of luxury, as before.

Eurostar trains in St Pancras
Eurostar trains in St Pancras
St Pancras Grand Midland Hotel
St Pancras Grand Midland Hotel
The interior of St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
The interior of St Pancras Renaissance Hotel (photograph from Guardian article)
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