King's Cross, one of the most
famous stations in London, was built for the Great Northern
Railway to serve Yorkshire, the north-east of England and
Scotland. The engineer was Joseph Cubitt and the station
was designed by his older brother, Lewis Cubitt.
The station was built in 1851
- 52 on the site of the London Smallpox Hospital. When
it opened it was the largest station in England and included
coal stores, a six-storey granary and stabling for 300 horses.
King's Cross has always been
noted more for its trains than its buildings - the 'Flying
Scotsman', Britain's most famous train, made her last journey
Compared to the elaborate St
Pancras Station next door, the design of King's Cross is functional.
The facade, behind a forecourt building, is built of London
brick and makes a features of the two train-sheds arches beneath
an 120 ft Italianate clock tower. The 70 ft high train-sheds,
one for arrivals and one for departures, extend for 800 ft
to the rear of the station.
Soon after the station was built,
two new platforms had to be created down the middle of the
station between the two train-sheds, which proved to be narrow
and inconvenient. In 1875 a small suburban station was
built alongside to serve north London as far as Finchley and
Barnet. The Metropolitan Line, which connects King's
Cross with the City and Paddington, was the first Underground
in the world, and was opened in 1863.
Beside King's Cross is the Great
Northern Hotel, built three years after the station and designed
by Lewis Cubitt. In the same style as King's Cross, this impressive
building is currently scheduled for demolition.