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King's Cross Station
Euston Road, King's Cross, London, UK
associated engineer
George Turnbull
date  1851 - 14th October 1852, 2008 - September 2013
era  Victorian  |  category  Building  |  reference  TQ301831
ICE reference number  HEW 302
Grade I listed King's Cross Station is built on the site of a smallpox and fever hospital, and it is also said that Queen Boudicca lies beneath Platform 8. It was constructed in 1851-2 as the London terminus of the Great Northern Railway. Redeveloped of the station, including the construction of a new concourse, was completed in 2013.
For the design of the station, and the Great Northern Hotel (opened on 17th May 1854), architect Lewis Cubitt used the plans drawn up by the railway’s engineer George Turnbull. The site was purchased for £65,000 and the eight-platform station cost £123,000 to construct in 1851. A temporary station was built at Maiden Lane as the railway reached London before the completion of the building.
The train shed is 243.8m long with roof arches at 6.1m centres. The original arches were made of laminated timber, 267mm wide and 610mm deep in cross section. The station platforms are spanned by two sets of arches, each 32m wide, supported by a central longitudinal brick wall with arched openings.
After less than 20 years, the east roof, which has no adjacent building to act as a buttress, became distorted. Its timber arches were replaced by wrought iron ones in 1869-87. The west roof was replaced in 1887.
The station's original street facade faces south on Euston Road. Constructed in yellow brick, with two huge arched openings that reflect the train shed arches behind, it is admired for its functional style. The central clock tower houses a timepiece made for the Great Exhibition of 1851 held at Crystal Palace.
In the 20th century, the station forecourt began to be filled up, increasing the covered area. In 1972, a temporary canopy was added, obscuring the Euston Road frontage. A new concourse was added in 1973, and the booking hall was damaged by an IRA bomb.
On the 18th November 1987, a devastating fire broke out on an escalator in the London Underground interchange below the station. The fire killed 31 people and injured many more. Repair and replacement work was completed in 1989, and additional fire regulations introduced.
By 2010, some 40 million people were passing through KIng's Cross Station each year, using the overground train system and the London Underground stations of King's Cross and St Pancras, which are linked. However, the main station and its booking hall and concourses were looking distinctly neglected.
In 2007 a £400m redevelopment plan was approved and construction began in September 2008. The new west concourse was completed in time for the 2012 London Olympic Games, and whole project was completed in 2013. The station remained operational throughout construction.
Works included the removal of the 1972 canopy, the addition of a new platform for the East Coast Main Line and the refurbishment of all the original platforms. The new concourse increases the internal booking hall space by a factor of four. It features a spectacular half-dome diagrid roof engineered by Arup, not unlike the roof of the central courtyard at the British Museum.
The double-curve diagrid shell canopy is made of aluminium, with 30 percent glazing by area. It encloses 8,000 sq m and weighs around 1,200 tonnes. The radial members are rectangular in section and the diagrid members circular. The grid is supported on, and contiguous with, 16 branching columns.
In the train shed, the wrought iron roof has been refurbished and 2,200 sq m of photovoltaic cells installed. These will generate 10 percent of the station's energy requirements.
As the original station has shallow foundations, it was decided to avoid using piles. The new work is founded on 300m long concrete track slab.
For the redevelopment project, Arup acted as lead consultant, working with architect John McAslan & Partners. They also undertook civil and structural engineering, transport planning, lighting design, acoustics and pedestrian modelling.
The project eventually came in at £550m. The new King's Cross Square, out the front of the station facing Euston Road, was opened by the Secretary of State for Transport and the Major of London (Boris Johnson) on 26th September 2013.
Architect: Lewis Cubitt
Architect (2013): John McAslan & Partners
Contractor: John and William Jay
Train shed roof works (2013): Kier / Corus
Research: ECPK
reference sources   CEH London

King's Cross Station