The Euston Arch was a beautiful and powerful creation built in the victorian era as a mighty symbol to the glory of railway travel. Designed by Sir Philip Hardwick, the Arch was part of a collection of classically ornate waiting rooms, train sheds, and ticket halls, all lovingly created in the 1830's. These wonders were decorated and carved in extreme victorianic elegance, and they combined to make the original and awesome Euston Station.
The Euston Arch, at the forefront of all this grand architecture, stood on the longitude shared with the nearby Drummond Street, around where the platform 9 starts nowadays. This was a solid granite monument standing over 70 ft tall, with ornamental gates, the roof being topped out with a fearless announcement of it's name: EUSTON. Imagine being driven up towards its Greek style pillars prior to catching your train. What an amazingly inspiring sight. What an absolutely glorious construction.
The later addition of the wonderous Station Hotel, built flush on the Euston Road, meant that one would drive through the Hotel alley before being startled and amazed by the appearance of the main Euston Arch. This bold 'Doric Portico' structure were a major sight to behold for London and its visitors, a very important element on the Victorian Architectural trail.
Imagine the shock when, in the sixties, after the arch had stood untouched and loved for 125 years, its destruction was ordered. There was a minor protest and furore. The Victorian Society had its 'Save the Arch' campaign, led by former poet laureate Sir John Betjemin. But the government was not interested. The ever obedient populus saw the fate as academic.
So, in 1962, it was all over, and the whole area flattened to make way for the vulgar terminus that exists today. All the brilliant buildings of the original station were wiped out, just so the developers could move in and build the present ugly carcass. Evidently, most of the Arch was transported from London, so that the villian of this treachery could stone landscape his garden. So at least there is still an option to search, recover, and rebuild, and the government might one day right London's most evil architectural wrongdoings.
I have some splendid short footage available on this link. Its a file of quite substantial size, but of interesting stature. I hope that you have the technology to view it.
Forty years on, and the death of the great Arch of Euston became the main inspiration for this very humble London Destruction website that you're reading now. This very page has, since 2001, become one of many internet articles protesting about this scandalous loss of one of the world's greatest monuments.
I am happy to announce that at last, here in 2008, a great new campaign and website is now active in order to get the Arch rebuilt. This activity makes me very happy indeed. How wonderful if we could bring back the Arch in its rightful place: Please read this website and support the campaign: Euston Arch Trust
Charles (of London Town)