The Mystery of the TG Lynes building


We are now quite a few years into the redevelopment of the Kings Cross area and a great many things have improved immensely. Streets have been cleaned up, houses restored, shops, bars and businesses invigorated, but anyone who lives at the southern end of Caledonian Road will be aware of one glaring anomaly – the former TG Lynes building.

The building has been boarded up and in the process of ‘redevelopment’ for over five years and, peeking through the hoarding, seems no closer to completion than it ever has been. It’s huge ugly frontage blights the look and feel of this local shopping area and it’s stubborn refusal to metamorphosise from its grey, tattered shell into a useful shop/restaurant/business/anything is surely holding back further improvements to this section of Caledonian Road.

Residents have watched with curiosity, amusement, indifference, irritation and finally a growing sense of anger as activity at the site becomes ever more protracted and bizarre.
Huge (and I mean huge) quantities of earth and rubble have been removed from the basement in the last five years. Sometimes it comes out on a makeshift belt cobbled together and slung at head height over the pavement, emptying into a skip parked on the (red route) road, sometimes by gangs of men with wheelbarrows and shovels. Cars and pedestrians alike regularly have to swerve around the various skips, vehicles and make-do building equipment and underneath rubble chutes left blocking the area, and still the digging continues.

Large holes, and last December, four random windows, have been punched through the rear exterior wall, straight into the communal garden which sits directly behind it. This wall is the original C19 boundary wall and until that point had never had any holes in it, especially not ones then filled with cheap single glazed windows of random and varying sizes. These holes were used to pump building dust and bits of rubble directly into the communal garden behind the wall, contaminating the garden and residents with brick dust for many weeks. This is, no doubt, a Health & Safety violation and presumably the builders thought it was more acceptable to contaminate the garden than pump the dust into the street, which might have attracted more attention. These holes were then crudely filled with cement. Complaints were swiftly made by residents but the issue seems to be languishing on the desk of the Planning Department and, TEN months on, nothing has been done. So much for protecting the Keystone Crescent Conservation Area!

Large numbers of York stone street pavers are lifted and badly reset, water drips continually onto the pavement and pedestrians from the upper stories come rain or shine, strange noises are heard day and night, large quantities of building materials, steel beams and occasionally vans are swallowed up into it’s interior. One day, workers spent hours removing reams of paper from the site which were shredded in a van parked on Caledonian Road. The list goes on.

What local residents want to know is; what on earth is going on with this building, when will the redevelopment be completed so Caledonian Road has a chance to continue its regeneration and, is the whole damn lot about fall through on to the Circle line?

Islington Planning Department we are looking at you and asking why we are getting no response to our questions and why no enforcement action has been taken…


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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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8 Responses to The Mystery of the TG Lynes building

  1. Roifield Brown says:

    I would like to publicly apologies to William and the team behind this site for going beyond acceptable usage of your content on We started collecting feeds and reposting excerpts and links back to the original sites early last year. We asked some local content providers if this was OK when we started this but we were not rigorous in asking “All” and after November we did not check that the feeds were working correctly. Some feeds republished whole posts and this was an error and wrong on our part.

    It was never our intent to take credit from your work but to create a hub of hyper local news links for users to find whole articles on their original sites.

    Please accept my apologies for any hurt and distress caused.

  2. John Ashwell says:

    I couldn’t agree more about this TG Lynes farce – come on Islington – answer our questions and let us know what is going on – no developer could afford to justify 5 years of work on a small building like this – entire skyscrapers are constructed in this time! Something fishy is going on here, as there has been activity on the site for the entire duration it seems… Bizarre is an understatement!

  3. Andrew says:

    If I was a betting man, I would guess they are excavating the entire basement area to be the same floor area as the ground floor, as well as excavating the gaps between the old coal cellars (if you look through the hoardings you can see there is still a void between the footpath and the building down to the lower ground). This sort of underground storage space would be ideal for a supermaket – I am betting a Sainsbury’s moves in. That is if, of course, I was a betting man.

  4. Sarah says:

    Andrew – I sincerely hope that space isn’t destined for yet another supermarket from ‘the big four’. We have two Tesco’s, two Waitrose and a Sainsbury’s in a mile radius already! Diversity and independent shops is what will make that area successful in my opinion, not another slice of clone-town Britain.

  5. Andrew says:

    This is interesting….

    Includes photos of TG Lynes sites on Caledondian Road and Wharfdale Road….

  6. James Melly says:

    Very odd. Hopefully the timescale kills off the supermarket theory: people like Sainsbury’s can put up a local store in a few months so it seems unlikely they’d take so long?

    Meanwhile I see that The Brill restaurant just down the road is turning into a backpackers bar. It’s part of the same group who own the Keystone Hostel on the corner. I try to take a realistic view about what businesses King’s Cross will attract but I’m not convinced that this is what this end of the Cally really needs – it’s very close to Millers, The Flying Scotsman, B@1, Simmons and Camino.

  7. Andrew says:

    Thats a real shame about The Brill.

    I see that the Burrito Cafe go it’s alcohol licence – 8am-midnight during the week, and till 1am in the weekends (I think), on and off premises.

  8. Ian says:

    It is a mystery. One question I would like answered is why they are allowed to block the pavement, reducing it to half width for so long. Can a major development remain a secret for so long – if it is to be turned into some major retail or other outlet, would not that require some planning permission and discussion?

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