I fell in love with St. Pancras Station in London back in 2013 when I visited it for the first time. I had read about its rebirth as the home to Eurostar, the international railway that connects England with the European continent via the Channel Tunnel. It's hard to believe that back in 1960 it was scheduled for demolition. That would have been an unimaginable travesty.
(Previous posts here and here.)
I'll start the artistic tour with this wonderful statue of the Poet Laureate John Betjeman. It's fitting that he should be honored with this bronze statue because it was through his successful campaign that the station was saved from the wrecking ball in the late 1960's.
Sir Betjeman appears to be frozen in wonder at how his beautiful station has not only been saved but is now a magnificent destination as well as a functioning train terminal. The statue sculpted by Martin Jennings truly conveys his awe at how well his efforts have been executed.
There is another bronze statue in the station and this one is impossible to miss. It's called "The Meeting Place" and it stands 30 foot tall near the main entrance. It was designed by British artist Paul Day and was intended to evoke the romance of travel through the depiction of a couple locked in an embrace.
The plinth on which the statue stands is encircled with several bronze reliefs telling stories related to rail travel in the United Kingdom through history. The one above shows workers building the rail system.
This one shows a lone traveler waiting for the train to arrive.
Here is a peek inside a train at rush hour. I've been on an underground train when it was this crowded.
Here's a scene that brings us right up to date. It shows a couple greeting each other at the station but, not without a quick check of the cell phone.
The clock that hangs high above the station area known as the Barlow Train Shed, has been reconstructed by the original clock makers, Dent. It has an elegant appeal befitting its Victorian surroundings.
Also located in the Barlow Train Shed is a new art project called "The Terrace Wires". It's a place where a new, large-scale art piece will be suspended above the station for a period of about six months every year. While I was there in 2016, the work was called "Thought of Train of Thought". Isn't that a clever name? This piece was created by celebrated sculptor Ron Arad. It is a twisted blade made of aluminum and it rotates slowly to create optical illusions.
There is no illusion about this beautiful old station. It is a Victorian masterpiece that has been lovingly restored to it's original glory. They simply don't build anything like this today.