King’s Cross: A Sense of Place celebrates the survival and rebirth of a small corner of historic London, thanks to the vision and tireless campaigning of people who have lived, worked and believed in the area. The book is a collaborative history told through narrative and photographs, with contributions from many of the key campaigners.
In the first part of the book, three fiercely fought campaigns are told by some of the people who led them. The largest, in the 1980s and 90s, tells how a neighbourhood was threatened with demolition by a plan to site an international railway terminal at Kings Cross Station, and how a local campaign helped to defeat that proposal, resulting in the international terminal now at St Pancras. Campaigners also fought for the survival of Balfe Street in the 1970s and 80s, and more recently for what is now the Regent Quarter, to the east of York Way. Without their efforts, the character of these areas would have been destroyed, along with many of the buildings.
In Part Two, Malcolm Tucker, engineering historian and industrial archaeologist, looks at the sites of past industry in what was once called Battle Bridge; he also presents the story of Battlebridge Basin on the Regent’s Canal. The book concludes with a description of Kings Place just to the north of the Regent Quarter. Completed in October 2008 it has established itself as a thriving centre for music, the arts and business.
Angela Inglis is a photographer and writer who has lived near King’s Cross for many years. Her first book, Railway Lands, is a photographic record of the changing landscape around St Pancras before and during the building of the international station there. She is indebted to Nigel Buckner for his design expertise, and to all who have contributed stories, photographs, maps and drawings to this book.
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I really enjoyed reading this book. i loved the story of Norma Steele and the other indomitable characters connected to the locality. It has made me want to explore the area, the photographs too are excellent. I want to check out the whole place!
by jane shelton
Robert Thorne writes in The Victorian ‘Local historians will be delighted to see ‘King’s Cross: A Sense of Place’, and not just because it sits neatly on the bookshelf beside ‘Twentieth Century Buildings of Islington”. It is the story of a series of local campaigns that saved King’s Cross from the fate that befell the Docklands and there area west of Euston, both of which are unrecognisable from 50 years ago.’
by Robert Thorne
‘What makes the book so prescient is its timing, because what links the three sagas is how much can be achieved when enlightened planners are enlisted by a local community, and how the support of politicians can be so valuable when allied to both.’
by Islington News, Andrew Bosi
Buy the book! It is a very good read.
by Jeannie Burnett, Highbury Fields Association Newsletter