Midland Railway. Construction of the railway line to St Pancras Station.
The text below was published as a blog for Reach plc’s ‘In Your Area.’
On this day March 23rd. in 1867 ‘The Illustrated London News’ published this wood-block engraving, above the legend “Works of the Midland Railway near King’s Cross”.The railway line was constructed by the Midland Railway Company (which had an extensive network across the Midlands and the North of England) but no dedicated line or terminus in London.
This story from the ILN gives an insight into the scale of their operation:
“The whole of this neighbourhood, from Euston Road and Somers Town, at the one extremity, to Camden Square and the North London Railway, at the other, extending about one mile, and bound eastward by the vast goods depot of the Great Northern Railway and by the Regent’s Canal, is now a scene of great bustle and activity, hundreds of labourers being constantly occupied in excavating foundations and building massive piles of brickwork for the lengthy viaducts of the Midland Railway Extension, with its several diverging lines from King’s Cross.*
In the rear of Old St. Pancras’ Church and churchyard, or a little further on, beside St. Pancras’ Workhouse, where the road leads into Agar Town runs beside one of these new railway lines for several hundred yards, an immense space of ground that has been taken by the Midland Company.*
We present an illustration of the aspect of the works at this time. *
The well-known gasometer is a feature of the view, which will at once be recognised by those acquainted with that part of London”.
Out of this scene was created the line to one of London’s most iconic stations, William Henry Barlow’s St. Pancras Station, and the majestic Midland Grand Hotel.