ST PANCRAS STATION
What a beautiful world this will be
What a glorious time to be free
St Pancras Station has a special place in the collective DH heart. For a large part of our childhood we lived in South Yorkshire, our Grandparents and later on our work and life were located in London so the return journey from Sheffield East Midlands station to St Pancras was, and still is, a regular occurrence for us. Built higher and bigger its neighbour Kings Cross there was always a great sense of occasion arriving or departing here although the circumstances meant they weren't always the best of times.
So now the once grimy station has had a lick of paint and is now open for business to the Continent and beyond. A shame then that it’s all a bit crap. I expected the much hyped 95m Champagne bar to be just that: 95m of bar with people serving along its length and groaning platters of Britain’s finest Oysters on display. Instead we get a something reminiscent of an AMT coffee bar and a queue to have a drink. Whether this was down to Searcy’s who have the contract or the architects I don’t know but it’s disappointing. Talking of Searcy’s they’re ok just about but I’m sure we could have done a bit better with a Caprice or Corney and Barrow.
Downstairs things are not much better. Much like a BAA-run airport the space is just seen as a great fat retailing opportunity so we get M&S, Paperchase and WHS (Wooo- Hooo!) and many more. Of course the idea to locate the Eurostar terminal here after establishing it in Waterloo was also a decision made for financial reasons above all others so we shouldn’t really be surprised .
Oft-made comparisons with the magnificent Grand Central Station are of course risible but if you can ignore the tacky retail opportunities, the stupid statues and that Champagne bar then just look up take in the awesome sight of Barlow's shed, once the largest enclosed space in the world and realise that it was so nearly another Euston. And for that we must all be grateful (well, that and the fact that the trains go nowhere near the Northwest).