Friday, April 27, 2007

Yet more Eurostar....

Following my last posting I went in hot pursuit of photos to show some of the building works at St Pancras station. Sadly as there is so much building work going on and closed roads it's hard to get too close so sadly these are just passing photographs.

This is part of what will be the platforms. It is a huge affair and mostly made of glass. After spending a fair amount of very hot and sweaty times inside Lille station waiting for Eurostar to come home on I can only take a guess as to how hot this place will be in summer.....pretty hot I'd say! There is a big "train shed" that was designed by William Barlow (who had worked with Joseph Paxton on the design of the building for the Great Exhibition of 1851). The shed had become very dirty and in need of repair and has now been returned to it's original condition.

Here is a photo of the inside of the shed. It is gigantic! The shed was buit in 1868. It is a single span of just over 243ft and is 689 foot long and is 100ft above ground level.

This photo is taken standing by that lampost in the above photograph. It is the oposite side of the road and you can see the wonderful colour of the bricks used in St Pancras station. This building used to be one of the coal bunkers that were across the road from the station. As far as I know there were 2 of these. One bunker was demolished to make way for the new British Library and the other (above) now is home for some shops. I wonder if they will be knocked down to make way for a new office block or whatever. I hope not!!

Sunday, April 08, 2007

St Pancras OLD church

St Pancras OLD church is just behind both St Pancras and Kings Cross stations in London. St Pancras is the most wonderful church and my family considered it to be "our" family church where many christenings, marriages and funerals within our family have been conducted over the years. The stairs of the church in the above photo are in most of the wedding photographs of so many family members. As I child I used to play in the gardens of the church as right at the back of the gardens there was a wonderful swing park. The swing park, now sadly no longer there, was just infront of the back wall over which were the tracks of the Midland railway tracks into St Pancras station. Now days there is a great amount of building work going on as St Pancras is going to be the London terminal for Eurostar. Back in the mid 1800's many of the graves in the gardens were taken up to make room for the new railway and sadly again now more graves have been removed to make way for Eurostar.

St Pancras OLD church is probably the oldest Christian church in England. There has been a place of worship here since around 315 AD. A few years back Camden Council renovated the gardens as they had become a complete mess. There are many famous people buried here too. Joseph Grimaldi the famous clown wass buried here in 1801. The poet Percy Shelly told Mary Wollstonecraft (the author of Frankenstien) that he loved her as they sat at the side of her mothers grave. Sir John Soane, the architect who designed the Bank of England, and his family are buried here in a big mausoleum that was erected in 1816. The design of this mausoleum was thought to have influenced the design of the K2 telephone box. This mausoleum and that of Karl Marx in Highgate cemetary are the only Grade 1 listed monuments in London. The Beatles even had photos taken in the grounds of this church to promote Hey Jude from The White Album. How's that for fame!!

To the left of the church and gardens is now St Pancras hospital. It was once the hospital for Tropical diseases. This has now been incorporated into the nearby University College Hospital that has a wonderful new hospital on Euston road. Just behind this hospital at the turn of the century there was a work house. After the workshouse was shut this building was turned into accomodation for the nurses who worked in the hospital. To the rear of the gardens is the Coroners office still in use today. When we were children we were terrified of going near that building for fear of seeing a dead body..... I dread to think what we must have heard to think it was such an awful place!

If you are ever in this part of London you really must make time to visit. There is so much to see and all within 20 mintues walk of each other: St Pancras station, the British library, the British museum, Regents Park. There are far too many attractions to mention but all equally worth a visit!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

The Mayflower in Rotherhithe

I thought that as we were discussing pubs in London I would carry on the theme with the Mayflower in Rotherhithe. Now this is a lovely little pub tucked out of the way in south east London. It is on the banks of the Thames and nestled in between wharfs that were at one time the life blood of London town. Oddly enough, the Mayflower is probably the only pub in the UK that is licensed to sell postage stamps!

The Pilgrim fathers set sail on the Mayflower, captained by Captain Christopher Jones from here in 1620 and ended up in America 2 months later.