St Pancras heads for 150th anniversary

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January 2018 marks the start of the station’s 150th year culminating with full celebrations in October 2018. The famous station had already begun celebrations in a small way with the establishment of a souvenir stall in the Lower Arcade which sells goods and mementos related to the anniversary.
This month the international station began showing displays sited in both the Lower Arcade and the Grand Terrace that detail the history of the station from 1868 to the present day. As the tweets below show, it also staged an event using the Young & Co horse cart to celebrate the fact the station was ‘built on beer.’


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The station began its 150th anniversary celebrations in November 2017 when this stall selling wares related to the anniversary was set up in the Lower Arcade.


In regards to that appeal I have published some scans of the booklet in my archives which commemorates 125 years of the station. There’s nothing on the Internet in regards to that. The anniversary in 1993 was more of a Thameslink celebration as 1868 was also the year the line from Bedford to St Pancras opened, but the station wasn’t forgotten and it has a considerable presence in the booklet.
Thameslink were proud to commemorate the opening of the Midland Railway from Bedford to London St Pancras. It too means 2018 is the 150th anniversary of the line from Bedford!
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Cover of the commemorative brochure for the Midland Railway’s 125th Anniversary
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The booklet introduces the Midland Railway before explaining how the Midland reached Bedford in 1858 and thence ran on the Great Northern’s metals to King’s Cross. An annual fee of £20,000 was paid to the Great Northern to allow Midland trains into King’s Cross. When the International Exhibition took place in London during 1862, the Great Northern tried to disbar the Midland from using its tracks in order to accommodate more Great Northern trains specially for the exhibition.
In a nutshell, the Midland Railway deemed it had no choice but build its own railway line from Bedford to London. What better than to arrive in style in London underneath a huge train roof and grandiose station clearly intended to completely overshadow the competitors’ station next door!
Its how London acquired two major railway terminals right next to each other.
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St Pancras c1867 picture in the Thameslink 125th anniversary booklet
The 125th Anniversary booklet also features line diagrams from the LMS Route Book No. 5 of 1947.


Viewing the hotel – whether its 1917 or 2018 – is a most fantastic experience. The architecture is stupendous.


The following picture is fascinating as it shows the cellars beneath the main line platforms where beer and other wares were stored!


St Pancras is an impressive structure and it was so even in 1884 when John O’ Connor painted this now iconic image of the station looking from Pentonville Road. I dont think there is a comparable view today as O’Connor did his scene from a balcony that no longer exists. This was on a house just east of the junction with Rodney Street and the site is now occupied by the new King’s Cross Quarter development.


The houses along here were demolished I think due to bomb damage and this ugly structure built here. In recent years it was the National Car garage.
nationalcar - St Pancras heads for 150th anniversaryThe old National Car garage, this building had been here for many years.
Gilbert Scott was of course the architect responsible for the imposing station facade and its grand hotel. Its interiors are fascinating and I was fortunate to see it all before it was finally restored. The rest of the station musn’t be forgotten and it is to William Barlow whom we must be indebted for the fantastic train shed.
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The huge Barlow train shed was once the largest of its kind in the world – and indeed its still one of the largest wrought iron spans in the world.


Huge roofs were not just an aesthetic desire, there was great practicality too. They helped to disperse the steam and smoke from the engines more quickly.
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The statue of John Betjeman with the train shed. Eurostar 373224 on the International platforms.
The other most important recent anniversary was of course that where the Queen opened the new Eurostar International station on 6 November 2007. The station did a celebration too for the anniversary of that opening on 14 November 2017 – here are some tweets…


Just after the station’s 2017 Xmas decorations had been removed, these new information boards and banners were sited about the station and these marke the all important anniversary year of 2018. Here are some pictures…
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150th anniversary banners near the station’s iconic clock
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150th anniversary board in the ticket hall
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The 150th anniversary information boards on the Grand Terrace
2018 will be a successful year for St Pancras International Station!

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