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Wednesday, 23 November 2011

London Monopoly (3): King's Cross Station

King's Cross Station 1893 by George Earl
Copyright: National Railway Museum
King's Cross Station is the London terminus of the East Coast Main Line, a major link between Southern England and the North and Scotland. When this picture was painted in 1893 it took seven-and-a-half hours to get to Edinburgh. Now the station is ultra-modern and super-efficient. However the age of steam was very romantic and many people are nostalgic for those times.
Where new meets old. The new concourse.
Inverness in Scotland is where the East Coast line terminates, over 500 miles from London by rail.
The area around King's Cross had a sleazy reputation for prostitution and drugs and the crime associated with those things. Thankfully that image has been eradicated and things have changed for the better but it's still at the poorer end of the Monopoly board!


Anonymous said...

The sensational Sir Tom Eagerly says:
Yes Bazza, Kings Cross used to be a den of iniquity old boy. Pity really; I miss those good old days more than the age of steam. Ah well, things move on don't they?
Bottoms up! Whoops!

Rob said...

My girlfriend used to work in the area....not as a prostitute however! She worked at the Camley Street nature reserve just behind the station.

My uncle also worked in the area...but not as a pimp. He told me he had seen some really nasty fights in the pubs in Kings Cross.

I was in the area on the night of the terrible Kings Cross Fire in 1987. I was attending a London University music class in Tavistock Square. We had no idea what was unfolding not far away and I remember the music students chuckling when the sirens of the fire engines repeatedly interrupted the Monteverdi pieces that we were studying at the time.

klahanie said...

Greetings bazza,
Fascinating article, old chap. And the 'King's Cross'. I wonder what made him so angry....

David said...

Dear bazza,
An interesting and informative addition to your "monopoly" series. Particularly liked the painting of the old King's Cross during the age of steam. Do we know who painted it, bazza?
Yours with Very Best Wishes,

David said...

Sorry, bazza, it was George Earl, as you say. Obviously not reading closely enough! Doh!

bazza said...

Sir Tom: I would have thought Mayfair was more your place on the Monopoly board. On second thoughts sleaze does seem more you.....

Sir Rob: Again you have a connection with the area. This would have been a good series for you to write! I was surprised to learn that there is a nature reserve in King's Cross. I just checked it out on the Web; it's a 'natural park', all wild and beautiful.

Sir Gary: Hello old chap! I think his Queen made the King cross when he found her street-walking in King's Cross.

Sir David: See your own comment below!

John said...

Hi bazza,
Fascinating post my dear chap! You live and learn, King`s Cross used to be filled with prostitutes and pickpockets, they have gone, but the city holds a different type of criminal now!

bazza said...

Hi John: Who's to say which criminals are worse? Kings Cross is certainly a much more pleasant area these days but not quite 'trendy'.

joanne fox said...

I wonder if all 17 of those dogs were catching the same train. And why.

bazza said...

Hello Joanne. I think that's a sign of your writer's imagination. Maybe there's a story in it?
I think photos and paintings are often the starting point for a story idea.

Kelly said...

Hey bazza, it's kezza. I'm here to astonish you with my bountiful wisdom and stuff.

That first painting of the King's Cross Station certainly shows a lot of attention to detail to how people appeared in that era and what their actions were like at that station. I admired the shadows and colors infused in the painting, too.

The Inverness in Scotland has a few mind-bending geometric designs to it, doesn't it? Now if I go there, look up at that and I'm drunk or something- and I get all dazed and confused- and start to fall backward, I'll expect you to be there to throw a sex doll beneath me to break my fall. I already have a name picked out for my plastic lady friend, too.

bazza said...

Hi Kezza! The lower picture is a part of how King's Cross looks now. Sorry if I confused you.
One can feel a bit giddy walking through these massive concourses but, sadly, sex dolls are not generally provided to break the fall. Shame, really.