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Kings Cross, London

Kings Cross, London

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{{infobox UK place| |official_name= King's Cross |country = England |map_type = Greater London |region= London |population= |london_borough= Camden |london_borough2= Islington |constituency_westminster= Holborn and St. Pancras (UK Parliament constituency) Islington South and Finsbury (UK Parliament constituency) |post_town= LONDON |postcode_area= WC |postcode_district= WC1 |postcode_area1= N |postcode_district1= N1 |dial_code= 020 |os_grid_reference= TQ315835 |latitude= 51.5303 |longitude= -0.1236

History

Battle Bridge
The area was previously a village known as '''Battle Bridge''' or '''Battlebridge''' which was an ancient crossing of the River Fleet. The original name of the bridge was Broad Ford Bridge.

The name "Battle Bridge" led to a tradition that this was the site of a major battle in AD 60 or 61 between the Roman Empire and the Iceni tribe led by Boudica (also known as Boudicea). The tradition claims support from the writing of Tacitus, an ancient Roman historian, who described the place of action between the Romans and Boadicea (''Annals'' 14.31), but without specifying where it was; Thornbury addresses the pros and cons of the identification. Lewis Spence's 1937 book ''Boadicea – warrior queen of the Britons'' includes a map showing the supposed positions of the opposing armies. The suggestion that Boudica is buried beneath platform 9 or 10 at Kings Cross Station seems to have arisen as urban folklore since the end of World War II .[http://web.archive.org/web/20090301192533/http://www.museumoflondon.org.uk/English/Learning/Learningonline/features/roman/roman_london_7.htm Boudica and King's Cross Station]. museumoflondon.org.uk

The area had been settled in Roman times, and a camp here, known as The Brill was erroneously attributed to Julius Caesar, who never visited Londinium.[http://www.bl.uk/onlinegallery/onlineex/crace/c/007000000000014u00048000.html Caesar's Camp at Pancras called the Brill (British Library)]. Bl.uk (2003-11-30). Retrieved on 2013-07-30. The name is commemorated in two streets lying behind King's Cross and St Pancras stations. St Pancras Old Church, also set behind the stations, is said to be one of the oldest Christian sites in Britain.

Monument to George IV
Around 1835 a monument to George IV of the United Kingdom was built at the junction of Gray's Inn Road, Pentonville Road and New Road, which later became Euston Road. The monument was sixty feet high and topped by an eleven-foot-high statue of the king, and was described by George Walter Thornbury as "a ridiculous octagonal structure crowned by an absurd statue". The statue itself, which cost no more than £25, was constructed of bricks and mortar, and finished in a manner that gave it the appearance of stone "at least to the eyes of common spectators". quoting ''The Architectural Magazine'' The architect was Stephen Geary, who exhibited a model of "the Kings Cross" at the Royal Academy in 1830. The upper storey was used as a camera obscura while the base in turn housed a police station and a public house. The unpopular building was demolished in 1845, though the area has kept the name of Kings Cross.

A structure in the form of a lighthouse was built on top of a building almost on the site about 30 years later. Known locally as the "Lighthouse Building", the structure was popularly thought to be an advertisement for Netten's Oyster Bar on the ground floor, but this seems not to be true.[http://www.glias.org.uk/news/186news.html#L Greater London Industrial Archaeology Society newsletter, February 2000]. Glias.org.uk (1999-12-27). Retrieved on 2013-07-30. It is a grade II listed building.[http://mycamden.camden.gov.uk/gdw/T/ListedBuildingDetail?LbNo=655&xsl=ListedBuildingDetail.xsl ''Listed building details'', Camden Council]. Mycamden.camden.gov.uk. Retrieved on 2013-07-30.

Railway stations
King's Cross railway station now stands by the junction where the cross stood. The station, designed by architect Lewis Cubitt and opened in 1852, succeeded a short-lived earlier station, erected north of the canal in time for the Great Exhibition.

St Pancras railway station station, built by the Midland Railway, lies immediately to the west. They both had extensive land ("the railway lands") to house their associated facilities for handling general goods and specialist commodities such as fish, coal, potatoes and grain. The passenger stations on Euston Road far outweighed in public attention the economically more important goods traffic to the north. King's Cross and St Pancras stations, and indeed all London railway stations, made an important contribution to the capital's economy.

Decline and regeneration
terminal behind the barrel vaulted St Pancras station on the left.]]

After World War II the area declined from being a poor but busy industrial and distribution services district to a partially abandoned post-industrial district. By the 1980s it was notorious for prostitution and drug abuse. This reputation impeded attempts to revive the area, utilising the large amount of land available following the decline of the railway goods yard to the north of the station and the many other vacant premises in the area.

Relatively cheap rents and a central London location made the area attractive to artists and designers and both Antony Gormley and Thomas Heatherwick established studios in the area. In the 1990s the government established the King's Cross Partnership[http://web.archive.org/web/20090605013936/http://www.lda.gov.uk/server/show/ConWebDoc.901 King's Cross Partnership]. lda.gov.uk to fund regeneration projects, and the commencement of work on High Speed 1 in 2000 provided a major impetus for other projects. Within a few years much of the "socially undesirable" behaviour had moved on, and new projects such as offices and hotels had begun to open. The area has also been for many years home to a number of trades union head offices (including the NUJ, RMT, UNISON, NUT, Community and UCU).

The area has increasingly become home to cultural establishments. The London Canal Museum opened in 1992, and in 1997 a new home for the British Library opened next to St Pancras Station. There was a small theatre, the Courtyard. However this had to close in late 2006 as a result of the gentrification of the area caused by a number of regeneration projects here, in this case, Regent's Quarter, across the boundary in Islington. The Gagosian Gallery moved their main London premises to the area in 2004. The London Sinfonietta and the Orchestra of the Age of Enlightenment are based in King's Place, on Battlebridge Basin next to the Regent's Canal. King's Place is also the home of ''The Guardian'' and ''The Observer'' newspapers, and of the UK Drug Policy Commission.

The area is expected to remain a major focus of redevelopment through the first two decades of the 21st century. The London terminus of the Eurostar international rail service moved to St Pancras station in November 2007. The station's redevelopment led to the demolition of several buildings, including the Gasworks.Built in the 1860s and rebuilt in the 1880s, the gasholders (of unique linked triplet design) were still in use until 1999. Several gasholders (the site was originally a gasworks) that had dominated the area behind station for over a century have been taken down during the building works and placed in storage, and it is intended that they should be re-erected, but converted,possibly for housing. Following the opening of the High Speed 1 to the station, redevelopment of the land between the two major stations and the old Kings Cross railwaylands to the rear has commenced, with outline planning permission granted for the whole site. Detailed planning applications[http://kxdf.wordpress.com/ King's Cross Development Forum]. Kxdf.wordpress.com. Retrieved on 2013-07-30. for each part of the site are being made on a rolling programme basis. The site is now called King's Cross Central and is one of the largest construction projects in Greater London in the first quarter of the 21st century. {{infobox UK place| |official_name= King's Cross |country = England |map_type = Greater London |region= London |population= |london_borough= Camden |london_borough2= Islington |constituency_westminster= Holborn and St. Pancras (UK Parliament constituency) Islington South and Finsbury (UK Parliament constituency) |post_town= LONDON |postcode_area= WC |postcode_district= WC1 |postcode_area1= N |postcode_district1= N1 |dial_code= 020 |os_grid_reference= TQ315835 |latitude= 51.5303 |longitude= -0.1236

In popular culture

[[Image:KingsCrossStation-934Platform.jpg|thumb|right|The Platform at King's Cross Railway Station]]
For readers of Harry Potter, King's Cross is where the schoolboy hero boards the train for Hogwarts. The railway station has capitalised on tourist interest by putting up a sign for the fictional "Platform " described in the books, and burying a luggage trolley, apparently, half into the wall.

King's Cross and its surrounding streets were also the setting for the 1955 Ealing comedy, ''The Ladykillers'' and Mike Leigh's ''High Hopes (1988 film)'' 1988. Anthony Minghella's 2006 film ''Breaking and Entering (film)'' is also set in King's Cross.

The Irish rock group The Pogues were founded in King's Cross.

The British Popular music duo Pet Shop Boys recorded a song featured on their 1987 album ''Actually (album)'' named "King's Cross": the melancholy track discusses the hopelessness of the AIDS epidemic during that time and uses the Kings Cross area as the "backdrop" of the story, trading on the area's associations with drug use and prostitution. Tracey Thorn cover version the song in 2007. Songwriter David Gedge also wrote a song called King's Cross while recording under the name Cinerama (band).

King's Cross is the setting for the Christopher Fowler mystery, Bryant & May on the Loose (November 2009)

Comedian Ricky Gervais lived there for a while and mentions it in his HBO special. {{infobox UK place| |official_name= King's Cross |country = England |map_type = Greater London |region= London |population= |london_borough= Camden |london_borough2= Islington |constituency_westminster= Holborn and St. Pancras (UK Parliament constituency) Islington South and Finsbury (UK Parliament constituency) |post_town= LONDON |postcode_area= WC |postcode_district= WC1 |postcode_area1= N |postcode_district1= N1 |dial_code= 020 |os_grid_reference= TQ315835 |latitude= 51.5303 |longitude= -0.1236

Transport

London King's Cross railway station and London St Pancras are the principal National Rail services in the district. St Pancras is also the Eurostar terminus for International services to Paris and Brussels. Euston railway station is a half-mile to the west.

In the beginning of 2010 Chinese authorities announced [http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/asia/china/7397846/Kings-Cross-to-Beijing-in-two-days-on-new-high-speed-rail-network.html a bold plan] to link Chinese high speed national railway directly to London King's Cross international railway station. This would allow passengers to reach London from Beijing in just two days.

The nearest List of London Underground stations is King's Cross St. Pancras tube station. {{infobox UK place| |official_name= King's Cross |country = England |map_type = Greater London |region= London |population= |london_borough= Camden |london_borough2= Islington |constituency_westminster= Holborn and St. Pancras (UK Parliament constituency) Islington South and Finsbury (UK Parliament constituency) |post_town= LONDON |postcode_area= WC |postcode_district= WC1 |postcode_area1= N |postcode_district1= N1 |dial_code= 020 |os_grid_reference= TQ315835 |latitude= 51.5303 |longitude= -0.1236

Nearby attractions

* Camden Town Hall
* The British Library
* Camley Street Natural Park
* London Canal Museum
* St Pancras Old Church {{infobox UK place| |official_name= King's Cross |country = England |map_type = Greater London |region= London |population= |london_borough= Camden |london_borough2= Islington |constituency_westminster= Holborn and St. Pancras (UK Parliament constituency) Islington South and Finsbury (UK Parliament constituency) |post_town= LONDON |postcode_area= WC |postcode_district= WC1 |postcode_area1= N |postcode_district1= N1 |dial_code= 020 |os_grid_reference= TQ315835 |latitude= 51.5303 |longitude= -0.1236

References

{{infobox UK place| |official_name= King's Cross |country = England |map_type = Greater London |region= London |population= |london_borough= Camden |london_borough2= Islington |constituency_westminster= Holborn and St. Pancras (UK Parliament constituency) Islington South and Finsbury (UK Parliament constituency) |post_town= LONDON |postcode_area= WC |postcode_district= WC1 |postcode_area1= N |postcode_district1= N1 |dial_code= 020 |os_grid_reference= TQ315835 |latitude= 51.5303 |longitude= -0.1236

External links

* [http://www.kingsx.co.uk/ Local directory]
* [http://www.visitkingscross.com/ Local tourist attractions summary]
* [http://www.victorianlondon.org/buildings/thekingscross.htm The original King's Cross monument (Victorian London)]
* [http://www.bartlett.ucl.ac.uk/research/planning/kx/draft_planning_brief.pdf King's Cross Development Brief]
* [http://www.kingscross.co.uk/ Kings Cross Central Limited Partnership. Developers for King's Cross]
* [http://kxdf.wordpress.com/ King's Cross Development Forum,a group providing the community response to developments]
* [http://www.kingscrossenvironment.com/ Local newsletter]
* [http://onefoot.info/ Experimental documentary centred around King's Cross]



Category:Districts of Islington
Category:Districts of Camden
Category:Areas of London
Category:Red-light districts in the United Kingdom