The New Kings Cross

I found myself in Kings Cross on Friday and finally made a video documenting some of the new development around the back of the station that has been emerging for a couple of years now. It’s a peculiar new zone of the city that many people seem unaware of, hidden away around the back of St. Pancras International and Kings Cross Stations and off the side of York Way.

Pancras Square Kings Cross

Pancras Square

To remind myself of what it used to look like I skimmed through the Mike Leigh film High Hopes where the main protagonists live in a council flat between the stations in the redevelopment area – their handsome block of flats and the Victorian terraces demolished. Checking an out-of-date A-Z shows that the location used in the film, Stanley Passage is perhaps somewhere beneath the new Google HQ and YouTube Space. Other streets that have disappeared under Pancras Square and Battle Bridge Place include Wellers Court, Clarence Passage, Battle Bridge Road, and Cheney Road.

Stanley Building Kings Cross

fragment of the old Kings Cross

It was hard to look at the tower blocks rising from those fields between Islington and Marylebone and not to think of the lines from Blake’s Jerusalem,

THE FIELDS from Islington to Marybone,

To Primrose Hill and Saint John’s Wood,

Were builded over with pillars of gold;

And there Jerusalem’s pillars stood.


  1. Clive Power   •  

    Interesting article. That area was a lot more aesthetically pleasing before redevelopment (as is well recorded in Leigh’s film, as I recall). Battle Bridge Road, in particular, was intriguing – it still had that austerity, post-war feeling as can be seen by the area’s appearance in many scenes in the Ladykillers (1955). The area had been squatted in the late 70s / early 80s and you could still just about imagine a barrowboy wandering thereabouts (as Frankie Howard portrays in the film) into the 80s and 90s.

    I think development is good. The North desperately needs it. But when it’s done, mass-production style (as per Westfield Wasteland) with nothing unique, it’s a blot and I feel Kings Cross is (mostly) such. I recently had a letter published saying the new Ilford station could incorporate a moving and still camera design (from local work by Logie Baird & Ilford film) in its build but, of course, it will be another, mass-production steel box with lots of glass.

  2. Markie Mark   •  

    I lived on Battlebridge Road in the 90’s and remember them filming outside my flat for the movie Chaplin. A great article and film – l was wondering what it was like around there now after seeing a BBC documentary about Kings Cross station. I don’t recognise the place at all, and although everything now looks shiny and new, it looks line the soul of the place has gone. People thought the area was a dump but l loved it there and would much prefer then to now. But times move on. I can’t believe the whole street has disappeared as I thought they were listed buildings.

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