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Sometimes, whilst researching a topic, unexpected opportunities arise. This proved to be the case recently at Kings Cross where, during a site visit related to a future piece on the station’s sub-surface logistics, it became clear that our Network Rail guide might just be amenable to a slightly loftier piece of photography as well.

And so, with thanks to Network Rail, and without further comment, we present a brief look at the state of affairs within the Clock Tower at Kings Cross and some views from the top of the station.

Update: We’ve now added some pictures taken during the restoration of the clock in November 2011. These pictures are all courtesy of Simon Hickman / English Heritage, to whom we give thanks for letting us reproduce them here. – JB

The Clock at Kings Cross

The Clock at Kings Cross

The clock access, looking suitably non-descript

The clock access, looking suitably non-descript

The stairs to the tower

The stairs to the tower

Behind the clock face

Behind the clock face

A look at the mechanism

A look at the mechanism

Another view of the mechanism

Another view of the mechanism

The pendulum chamber

The pendulum chamber

Looking out over the temporary frontage, due to be demolished next year

Looking out over the temporary frontage, due to be demolished next year

Looking across to St Pancras

Looking across to St Pancras

Looking down the shed roof

Looking down the shed roof

Construction is still underway on the wider Kings Cross site

Construction is still underway on the wider Kings Cross site

Looking out over the canal

Looking out over the canal

Restoring the Tower

The wooden frame of the tower roof, exposed during restoration

The wooden frame of the tower roof, exposed during restoration

The weathervane, awaiting regilding

The weathervane, dismantled and awaiting regilding

The surround, from the scaffolding

The surround, from the scaffolding

A close up showing the state of the surround to the clock face prior to restoration

A close up showing the state of the surround to the clock face prior to restoration

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There are 16 comments on this article
  1. Roger B says:

    Such a pity that the original clock mechanism appears to have been stripped of all the brass gears.
    I believe it used to strike the hours, any sign of the bell? Could the Olympic bell find a new home here?

  2. Gsutav Svärd says:

    Interesting pictures. Sure looks warmer than up here in Stockholm with all that greenery still around.

    Every time I’ve been in London I’ve been by Kings Cross several times (usually stayed at hotels in that area). That green shed in front was always an eye-sore, even before I got as deep into urban planning and rail issues as I am today. Does anyone know how long it’ll take to knock it down?

  3. Marc says:

    Brilliant. That is certainly not a view that most would have had a chance to see before, up close. With the new square, the revamped great northern hotel and the restored lighthouse building still to come this area of Euston road is going to be much, much improved. Although I wish Camden council would do something about that awful row of shops which is opposite the new square with the dodgy amesument arcade and grotty kebab shop – it seems tro me to be a remanant of Kings cross past rather than its future

  4. John Bull says:

    Just to note, I’ve added some pictures of the restoration to the post as well.

  5. Stationless says:

    I can’t remember where I saw it, but I think I read somewhere that the demolition of the green shed has started?

  6. Greg Tingey says:

    Yes
    The green shed is on the way out.
    The clock was always supposed to keep better time than the St Pancras one, because it was an ex-Great Exhibition display piece, made by Dent’s.
    [ Source: London's Termini by Jackson ]

  7. RayL says:

    This thread seems a suitable place to insert a marker that the rooms, corridors and stairwells of the Eastern Range at Kings Cross (the two floors of Victorian offices above what was the cab road and which is now Platform 0) were recorded on High Definition video in the early months of 2007.

    I was given the commission to record these areas following removal of asbestos and 20th century clutter, and prior to their refurbishment. In other word, to record as far as possible the areas with their original Victorian fitments and features.

    Of particular relevence to this thread was an exploration of the South Tower (accessed from an unnumbered door in a ground floor store room). Although not as spectacular as the clock tower it provides views of the surroundings (including the clock tower) through the west–facing openings. These were covered with netting to prevent pigeons from getting in but the tower was otherwise open to the elements and I was probably its first visitor in many years.

  8. Pedantic of Purley says:

    @Stationless. Probably here on the Network Rail website.

    @Greg. The story I heard was that tradition required that King’s Cross and St Pancras clocks should never tell the same time. And, as someone once commented, what is the point of two clocks if they both tell the same time ?

  9. Ian Sergeant says:

    @Pedantic, don’t know whether this is still true, but a few months ago the two clocks on the Southbound Northern Line at KXSP always showed slightly different digital times. Now that IS disconcerting.

  10. Graham says:

    The major demolition of the Southern Concourse is underway as I speak with hydraulic shears starting to merrily munch away at the South Eastern corner.

    It will take several days to take down the first stage of the structure, most of the work though is about preparing and levelling the surface of what will be the new Square, removing various old services etc. The whole job is due to be complete by Summer 2013

  11. Lemmo says:

    Thanks Graham, and we’ll be covering these works in an upcoming post. As Network Rail puts it:

    For the final phase we’re removing the front canopy and creating a new 7,000m2 square, bringing something of the grandness and old-world charm of Europe’s city-centre railway stations to the heart of the capital. The square will open to the public in August 2013.

    The size can be appreciated from the photo above looking down from the roof. It will be a huge improvement, and indeed the whole redevelopment has transformed the area.

    @ RayL, we’d appreciate it if you could share some stills from the video. In a redevelopment of this nature there are many untold stories, and the Eastern Range has memories aplenty! It was redeveloped first so that staff from the rest of the complex could be relocated here, which then allowed the buildings around the new Western Concourse to be redeveloped. Largely forgotten and left to the local wildlife, the outer reaches of the Eastern Range were frequented by the occasional maintenance crew or as a rite of passage.

    The view of the new train shed roofs show how big a job this was. On each roof, work proceeded from one end using a huge scaffolded platform, working from below and above. When each section was completed the platform shifted on rails to the next. Stripping back the ironwork and reglazing was no small undertaking, and the redesign included solar panels along the apex of the roof, covering 2,500m² and generating 10% of the station’s energy requirements. You can best see these by looking up at the roof on the inside of the train shed. A rainwater recycling scheme also provides up to a third of the water used by the Eastern Range.

    The final pictures give an idea of the scale of the redevelopment of the Kings Cross lands as a whole, stretching all the way up to the North London Line. Along with the growing demand and intensification of the Overground service, is there an improved case to reopen Maiden Lane station (even more so if the ELL was extended from Highbury & Islington), and perhaps also York Road on the Piccadilly?

    We’ll return soon to the KX redevelopment at the north end of the station by the tunnel mouths in the picture above, where we’ll be heading underground, following the route of your average East Coast sandwich!

  12. Arkady says:

    There were workmen with a digger next to the tunnel mouths yesterday, next to the Thameslink diveunder entrance. Only got a glimpse, but they seemed to be clearing foliage. Is this the start of works on completing the diveunder link? When is it due to be finished? I heard 2015 somewhere.

  13. Arkady says:

    I had a close look at the diveunder entrance yesterday. The area nearby (the Islington ‘triangle site’ on York Road behind the Construction Skills Centre) has been tarmaced, and is now occupied by new portacabins and various diggers and other materiél. The ram down from there to the trackside and entrance to the diveunder has been cleared of vegetation, and various excavaters have been parked inthe diveunder itself. I assume that work is imminent? Does anyone have details or a timetable? The opening of the diveunder to traffic (if only to stock movements up to the new Hornsey Thameslink depot) seem to be a persistent mystery.

    http://www.flickr.com/photos/67014684@N05/8330152700/

  14. Arkady says:

    Also, as it does not appear in the ‘recent comments’ section, here is an update on Finsbury Park (esp. for Lemmo):

    http://www.londonreconnections.com/2012/in-pictures-work-at-finsbury-park/#comment-70129

  15. Anonymous says:

    Arkady, 2015 is a good guess – I don’t know the exact timetable but concrete starts flowing within a fortnight. The East Coast connection works take place from March onwards. The St Pancras end has been done but temporarily removed – there’s method in the madness – it had to be done before December 2011 as that’s when the regular weekend closures of the low level station ended, but if it was left in situ until 2015 it would have had 20% of its life used up without seeing a train on the route to/from the tunnels. It’s a weekend’s work to put the bits back in. If you look off the end of the platforms you can see the extra rails heading off towards the tunnels.

  16. Arkady says:

    Thanks Anon, that’s very interesting. Can anyone explain why they won’t open the link to passengers until 2018?

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