In Pictures: Kings Cross In The Fifties


Work is now nearing completion on Network Rail’s project to rebuild Kings Cross, revealing the station’s impressive frontage for the first time in many, many years. We’ll be taking another look at the station next month, but in the meantime this seems like a good opportunity to take a brief trip back into the past – in this case to the forties and fifties – and look at what the surrounding area looked like then. Below you will find a selection of photos that do just that. For these we are indebted to Shamus, both for the photos and descriptions.


A view of Kings Cross in the late forties. The scene would remain much the same throughtout the subsequent decade. Photographer unknown.


A pre-war RT on route 30 approaching St Pancras town hall, on the left is an old Austin low-loader taxi – complete with external luggage rack. Photo by John Fozard.


A positively immaculate RT on York Way. Photographer unknown.


Two RTLs pass each other on the same road. Photographer unknown


Two RTs (and their crews) standing at Euston. In the background is an old London Transport RFW sightseeing bus. The busy road in the background is Euston Road itself. Photographer unknown.


Euston Road in the summertime. Photographer unknown.


The distinctive look of a Birch Bros express – which ran to from Rushden to Kings Cross via Bedford, Hitchin, Welwyn, Barnet and North Finchley. This one is parked up on Pancras Road. Photo by Peter Green.


A Birch Bros bus pulls out of the coach station that could, at that time, be found on Judd Street. Below is the same view today. Photographer unknown.


A trolleybus passing in front of Kings Cross. Photo by Geoff Bannister


Trolleybuses passing under the bridges on Pancras Road. The buses would need to travel quite slowly to get through this junction, but invariably caused of a shower of sparks from the wires as they did so. Photographer unknown.


A trolleybus pulls out on Pancras Road. Photographer unknown.


Trolleybuses on Caledonian Road. Houseman’s radical book shop is just visible and still exists today. Photographer unknown.


A trolleybus waits its turn on Kings Cross bridge, as a policeman directs traffic. Photographer unknown.


Black and white photos often serve to disguise the fact that the fifties were a grubby time for transport. Here a sleek – but dirty – trolley bus stands near Kings Cross. the bottom half of the image shows the same scene today. Photo by David Stevens.

Many thanks again to Shamus. You can find more photos of the area in his photoset on Flickr which is well worth a look.

Written by John Bull
John Bull is the Editor of London Reconnections. A transport journalist and historian, his writing often focuses on the political or strategic challenges facing London's transport network and beyond.