Wednesday 22nd April: Evening walk–Discover the new King’s Cross (circular)

Kings Cross Walk – 22 April 2015
Eleven Polyramblers braved the icy wind to discover the amazing changes in Kings Cross. They patiently listened to me reading my notes while I told them about the history of the Kings Cross area and the station itself designed by Lewis Cubitt and opened in 1852. King’s Cross is the site of Boudicca’s final battle and she is said to be buried under one of the platforms. The ugly 1972 extension has been removed and been replaced by an open-air plaza. We admired the new semi-circular departures concourse, opened to the public on 19 March 2012 and which has been described as a ‘reverse waterfall’. We then went on a walk to discover the new developments and the old buildings being refurbished.
We passed the Great Northern Hotel, also designed by Cubitt and went to see the first of the art installations set in Kings Cross to celebrate the area’s heritage and its future: the Birdcage and its swing – which Geoffrey tried. Then followed the German Gymnasium – without its wrap, the Stanley Building, Pancras Square, Regent’s Canal, living walls, the Goods Yard Complex, the canalside steps. We went up the viewing platform to better see the developments where every building is designed with environmental sustainability at its core.
Old buildings are being renovated and will become restaurants and shops: the fish and coal offices, the Coal Drops, the West Handyside Canopy, the Midland Goods Shed and the East Handyside Canopy.
New parks and Squares are being developed: Lewis Cubitt Square, Gasholder Park, Lewis Cubitt Park and Handyside Gardens.
Another art installation is ‘Of Soil and Water: The King’s Cross Pond Club’ which is ready to open. It is a bathing pond, entirely chemical free. The water is purified through a natural, closed-loop process using wetland and submerged water plants to filter the water and keep it clear. The number of bathers will be strictly limited to 163 per day. The installation aims to make us think about the relationship between nature and the urban environment.
I could not find the Global Generation Skip Garden. It is a sustainable garden that is moved around as Kings Cross is developed and it has moved since the last time I was there.
With my 9 pages of notes all read, and being quite cold, a few of us went to the Parcel Yard pub to have dinner.