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King’s Cross station is one of Britain’s major railway terminus with high speed inter-city connections to destinations in Yorkshire, the North East and northern and eastern Scotland. King Cross is tied closely to St Pancras sharing the tube station on the London Underground network.
King’s Cross was built in 1851–1852, the main design was by Lewis Cubitt of the well known Cubitt family which was based on two great arched train sheds, with a brick structure at the end. In contrast to the ornate and decorative St Pancras, King’s Cross station was built to be based on efficient functionality.
The heyday of Kings Cross was between the 1930s and 1960s when it was the terminus of the high speed lines from Scotland and the North. Some of the most famous steam trains of the time, the Flying Scotsman, Gresley and the record breaking Mallard steamed into King’s Cross.
In 1972, a new frontage containing a passenger area and ticket office was built to the front of the station, although considered to be temporary, it was still there 40 years later. In 2005, a £500 million restoration was planned that would return the original roof to its former glory and restore the Grade I-listed façade of the original station.
A new concourse was built to facilitate movement around the station and a piazza on the front of the original façade.
The opening of the restored Kings Cross and St Pancras are part of a massive regeneration of an area that had a less than attractive reputation in the last 30 years.
As well as its place in railway history , King’s Cross is also known for two very different reasons, one of the oldest legends related to Kings Cross was related to Roman times when the area was supposed to be the scene of a battle between Boudicca’s Iceni tribe and the Roman Army. This has led to the a series of stories that the Ancient Queen is buried under platform 9 and her ghost stalks the station.
A more recent phenomenon related to Kings Cross is the Harry Potter novels by J K Rowling, according to the books Harry and his friends depart from the fictional Platform 9¾ on the Hogwarts Express to go to Hogwarts School.
King’s Cross have entered into the spirit of Harry Potter by creating a fictional Platform 9¾ which has a luggage trolley impaled within the wall, which is a mecca for Harry Potter fans for photographs.
There is also an Harry Potter shop nearby to buy your Harry Potter merchandise.
Kings Cross perhaps does not have the gothic splendour of nearby St Pancras but is worth a short visit to understand another style of Victorian Railway architecture .