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Kings Cross Gasometers

Status: Saved for the world.

kings cross gasometers These cast-iron beauties were put up in the middle of the 19th century and are a grand example of how even utilities of the time were sculptured into treasures that declared such functional apparatus not an eyesore but a carved element in London's landscape. Sadly, these classical pieces found themselves to be redundant like the whole area just north of London's Kings Cross Station, where the changing times saw the stretch of goodsyards and workshops become mostly disused, and waves of magnificent buildings forced into semi dereliction. But even in retirement, the great ironmongery of the Gasometers stood proud on the skyline, and with the unusual wind of Station backstreets they became a brilliant backdrop for the many great outhouses that still survive that era. Slowly, the area began to redevelop itself, with many small businesses and communities. A large segment of land was sectioned off into a natural park, of wildlife and fauna, and a wonderous sanctuary it was too, all in the shadow of the Gasometers.

There are several of these gas storing monsters, painted relics from the gas age, and they have great artistic and historical value, and like the rest of the area, deserved a good future. But everything has fallen foul of the heavy duty Euro-Rail redevelopment plans, who only see it all as an abandoned obstacle to high profits. There have been whispers over the Gasometer's preservation, this remains to be seen. As ever, the only thoughts in the planners mind is how they can flatten everything into wasteland and creat their mindlessly boring Eurostar Terminal, which we need like a hole in the head. Its a shame that they're wrecking one of the last unspoilt plains of north cental London.

Thanks to a massive campaign, the Camley Street nature reserve was pardoned from execution, and even in the midst of the horrid Euro-rail project, some of the older buildings seem to be worked around. But most of the area has been blitzed by the works. Who knows what real fate awaits the gasometers, but I see they've dismanteled all but one, laying the pieces carefully out in racks, for who knows what? These creepy winding streets and goodsyards have always been a mysterious part of old London, and the gasometers always stood up as an intergal part of that scene. You can see them add dimension to the film 'The Ladykillers' bleak noiresque setting, that with the ultra gothic station of St Pancras, doth cast macarbre shadows in the night. Money just cant buy that sort of terror, but money can and will destroy it with ease.

Update May 2006: During my sad journey to see the Eurostar carbuncle, I did indeed view the old gasometers, and the situation is the same. Still only one standing, and the rest are dismantled and piled up in a stack in a yard next door. This, with the old nature reserve, are on the borders of the ghastly new terminal, and I hope they still survive after the last workmen have gone.

Charles (of London Town)

The London Destruction Website.