Given that it’s one of those privately owned faux ‘public’ spaces with security guards lurking in every doorway, I wasn’t expecting to enjoy my trip to Coal Drops Yard, a large, shiny new shopping complex at the back of Kings Cross station. But it turned out to be quite a pleasant trip.
Read more in this history feature: The Oysterhouse Lighthouse, Kings Cross
Passing the wonderful spans of Kings Cross station, as designed by Lewis Cubitt.
The station opened in 1852, with the roof – the largest in the world at the time – supposedly modelled on the riding school of the Czars of Moscow.
Refreshments ghost sign.
What looks like a well-proportioned old bank building.
Around the Coal Drop Yards can be seen construction work on Google’s new enormo-mega HQ.
The Android symbol can be seen signalling the floor numbers.
The open spaces of Coal Drop’s Yard.
The place wasn’t very busy at all which made the experience much more enjoyable.
Mind you, if I’d read the description in Google Maps first, I may have stayed at home:
Striking retail space in converted 19th-century warehouses, with posh boutiques & buzzy eateries.
Upscale shopping centre in stylish digs.
Social distancing was easy amongst the vast open plains.
Barge on the Regent’s Canal, which runs along two sides of the development.
The last time I was here, I was off my face raving at Bagleys, a long since vanished scruffy-but-brilliant nightclub.
The design is pretty impressive. Wikipedia has the details:
The £100m project called for the listed Victorian sheds to be converted into a new high-end, 9,290 sq metre, shopping complex and privately owned public space.
Thomas Heatherwick took the two converging arcaded sheds and connected them with the ‘kissing roof.
The two brick and wrought iron coal drops were designed at different times so were structurally different, but shared a common roof line.
Heatherwick’s scheme takes the analogy of how a strip of paper can be twisted, and does the same to the slate roof finish. He uses the brick sheds as a base, and constructs the plastic form of the roof from steel tubing.
The result is an additional glazed space, in the roof, two storeys high that adds 20,000 square feet (1,900 m2) of space. The 35m wide roof adds no extra weight to the wall structures; it is supported on a 54 steel columns that are embedded within the building.
The slate used in the roof comes from the same seam in the same Welsh slate quarry as was used in the original roof
Green space behind the Yard.
St Pancras Lock is adjacent to the development.
Although the individual elements of the architecture are quite pleasing, collectively it’s a visual dog’s dinner.
The former gasometers by the canal have been converted into private flats with Gasholder Park as its centrepiece.
The iconic structures were built in the 1850s as part of Pancras Gasworks.
The gasholders remained in use until the late 20th Century and were finally decommissioned in 2000.
When the regeneration of King’s Cross kicked off, Gasholders No. 8, together with 10, 11 and 12 were dismantled and shipped piece by piece to Shepley Engineers in Yorkshire.
It took two years to restore Gasholder No. 8, and in 2013 it returned to King’s Cross and was rebuilt piece-by-piece in its new home on the banks of the canal.
Read more about the history of the gasholders and their preservation.
Inside the ‘park.’
This exercise guy and his chirpy cod rave music wasn’t annoying at all. No sir.
Rail tracks behind the canal.
By the canal with Instagram-ready props.
Lovely building behind King’s Cross station.
Bloody rip off merchants.
You are somewhere.
The splendid St Pancras station and hotel.
As Sting would say: “Don’t stand so close to me.”
The mighty Euston Tower, built in 1970 and standing 36-storeys and 124 metres high.
This photo feature is wrapped up with a photo of the iconic BT Tower (aka the GPO Tower, the Post Office Tower and the Telecom Tower).
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Coal Drops Yard
Stable St, Kings Cross, London N1C 4DQ