Kings Cross – over budget, running late, unfinished today and in 1852

Kings cross report morning chronicle 1852 It's a railway project over budget, the Chairman is grovelling to shareholders for extra money, it's weeks late, the project is accused of extravagance it has to open without ceremony in an unfinished building.  Sound familiar? Well it's 1852 and the Kings Cross project is in crisis.

In this wonderful report of a shareholders meeting in August 1852 two months before opening the Director is jeered as he refers to reports of extravagance in the construction of the Kings Cross station on the site of the old Smallpox Hospital.  It is hard to compare historic costs, but the station then was projected to cost £250million in modern terms (using share of GDP which is appropriate for a large infrastructure project). 

In today's Kings Cross the Directors passed without demur an astonishingly inept £30 million budget over run for the refurbishment of the Eastern Range offices alone.  At the same time as they said they could not afford a few millions for a community bridge.  It's worth noting that this is Network Rail overspending public money by 100% in creating offices for its own staff.

The British Library has digitised huge quantities of C19th newspapers.  After wrestling with their poor website and paying £10 for the privilege I was able to dig out these cuts from a remarkable collection (copyright remains with them).

The station opened two weeks late, unfinished with a train of parliamentarians and was then illuminated in a giant light show.  Sounds very similar to the opening of St Pancras International (declaration – I was on the special train then with Stephan).

Kings cross opening report

About William Perrin

Active in Kings Cross London and South Oxfordshire, founder of Talk About Local, helping people find a voice online and a trustee of The Indigo Trust , Good Things Foundation and ThreeSixtyGiving as well as Connect8.
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One Response to Kings Cross – over budget, running late, unfinished today and in 1852

  1. Pingback: Kings Cross Station refurbishment – long term retrospective | Kings Cross Environment

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