North or South?

The Guardian seems to love Kings Cross. Based on the North-Eastern side, they must be happy.  Long gone are the echoes that once it was the building it occupies, Kings Place that was once called a construction monster by many locals, set along the old Kings Cross boat harbour. But now with so many other high rise buildings you would not notice.  Kings Place seems to blend in with all the rest.

What impression you get from Kings Cross very much depends which exit you choose.  We compare the two furthest Southern and Northern exist of Kings Cross / St. Pancras and wonder if the difference is symbolic?

Take a look:

2014-10-14 10.18.00

Most Northern Exit prides two escalators, well done tiling, and glass wall.  There is also an escalator for those unable to take to the stairs.

Lightwall

A Lightwall leads to the trains.  The tiles are still well done, and interesting and well polished metal work (c) Daniel Zylbersztajn

The a Lightwall with great metallic features greets you as you walk along.  All parts are clean and well polished.

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As you walk out towards the up-most Southern exit the tile work is unbearably bad.  The tiles are also dirty with stains that appear to be there since the exist has opened.  The metal work is unpolished and dirty.  In some areas there is visible damage.

2014-10-14 10.24.06

The floor is badly maintained and appears shabby.  There are no escalators and no lifts  on this side of Euston Road, not even a German style two-way escalator.

2014-10-14 10.25.23

The definite end of Kings Cross development?  Compared to the other side with its bright pavement stones, pedestrianized areas, food stores,  South of Euston Road looks rather deprived sad and grey.

About Daniel Zylbersztajn

Daniel Zylbersztajn, works as a journalist, mostly for German media, and as a Pilates Teacher. Born in Germany and raised in Germany, Holland and Israel, he is a long term resident of London Kings Cross, involved parent, local and social activist, and positive lifestyle advocate. He also held posts in research, and conflict work, a.o. for the Palestinian - Israeli peace village Wahat al Salam ~ Neve Shalom. He holds a BA in history and politics from SOAS and two Master degrees, in Urban Sociology (Goldsmiths) and Sports Coaching (Brunel) and tweets under @zylbersztajn
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6 Responses to North or South?

  1. Yes, I agree our side of the Euston Road (Kings Cross Road) looks a bit down at heel, if only someone would give us masses of money to buy our building and redevelop it! However, the worst aspect of Kings Cross Station is the signage. My husband I have been complaining about it for years! It is totally confusing and even misleading. There are no maps or diagrams and, unlike other multiple exit stations such as Old Street and Elephant and Castle, the exits are not numbered. Now that all stations, including Kings Cross, will be unmanned, how are visitors to know which way to go? I get confused and I live here! Can we do something about it?

    • Daniel Zylbersztajn says:

      A very good point in deed. I know that TFL were told off before the Olympics, and there was a speedy drive to install sign posting at least how to get to the Olympic Park and the other venues. We may be lucky though. I read that staff is to be kept at some large stations, presumably like Kings Cross? Still signs could be improved and I do not think they need a multi million consultation for that, or maybe they do, given the history of the fire…

  2. Andrew says:

    The worst entrance is the old Thameslink entrance I think. But I would assume the new entrance to the north was funded (part funded) by the building owners rather than TfL…..as improved permeability would have some impact on rent.

  3. Philip says:

    The escalator point isn’t really fair – the ground is much higher at the north end and if you check the staircase is quite a bit longer than the one at Euston Road.

  4. Philip granted, but there are two exits in the South of which only one is used, presumably the other is kept for emergency? I would have put a single lane two directional escalator on one, with a staircase. (In Germany in many towns escalators can change direction in accordance to whether a person stepped on it at the bottom or at the top… This saves space and keeps costs down and enables people to use it both ways.)

  5. I laughed when I saw that the light tunnel tiles are gleaming and shining whilst the Euston road ones are dirty and unfinished looking, but tbh the experience I have had with builders (and everyone I have spoken to) is quite negative anyhow. They never finish anything and do the bare minimum dossing around a lot. I’m guessing they were pushed for time or something or deadlines with the Euston Rd entrances so did a slapdash job.

    I have been waiting for the other entrance to be opened there which seems to have been forgotten about and become place to dump things; which wouldn’t be so bad except for the fact that you can see the mess through the glass walls! I remember they initially opened the entrances and they were functioning then they went and rebuilt them again for some reason and now appear to have been forgotten about.

    It’s funny that what used to be the nicer part of Kings Cross (Euston Rd) now is the least attractive (well at least the awful 70’s corrugated metal was taken away finally!). I don’t see how it can be improved and for what purpose as there is nothing there except mostly residential properties so no point investing money on that side doing it up to the same standard – as Camden/British Rail might see it. I do see that the hotel opposite the station is getting a paint job so that will be something at least and that building on the corner with the tube tunnel air vent looks like it will be turned into yuppie flats in a ‘sympathetic reconstruction’.

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