Around St Pancras

This afternoon’s walk was around – and later inside – St Pancras International station.

Entrance to Camley Street Natural Park
Entrance to Camley Street Natural Park

We came here, to the Camley Street Natural Park. This is a lovely place to explore. Once a coal yard, it has been reclaimed and turned into a area where wild plants and creatures can thrive in mini-habitats designed just for them.

Organized according to nature
Organized according to nature

It may seem untidy and a tangle to us, used to tidy parks and gardens, but that is because it is organized according to nature.

Path for human feet
Path for human feet

While the wild creatures pass easily through the tangled undergrowth, human feet need a pathway if they are not to damage the fragile environment.

A moorhen dabbles happily among the reeds
A moorhen dabbles happily among the reeds

As well as trees and undergrowth, there is a pond or small lake frequented by moorhens and coots.

Flowers among the green
Flowers among the green

Even at this time of year there are some flowers, showing brightly among the green foliage…

Red berries
Red berries

and red berries lurking in the thickets. Special care is taken to provide for the smallest inhabitants, whether they walk or fly. There is an area for “minibeasts”, closed to visitors at this time of year, and “hotels” here and there.

flighthotel groundhotel
“Hotels” for flying creatures (left) and crawlers (right)

The park is limited on one side by the road and on the other by the canal which is also picturesque in its own way.

Regent's Canal
Regent’s Canal

Looking out from one end of park we see towards St Pancras and King’s Cross. The city then seems to crowd in on the park which somehow manages to maintain its tranquility within.

Looking out towards St Pancras and King's Cross
Looking out towards St Pancras and King’s Cross

In the picture we see a road-widening scheme in progress, the famous King’s Cross gasometer (there are several, but only one currently standing) which is a listed building, and on the right, St Pancras station, with its familiar pointed clock tower.

The wonderful St Pancras station
The wonderful St Pancras station

We went to St Pancras station to get warm and have a coffee. This is, I think, our most beautiful station. For once, refurbishment has been carried out with minute attention to detail and everything is of fine quality. It is quite unique.

Sir John Betjeman
Sir John Betjeman, 1906-84

This is John Betjeman, much loved Poet Laureate, as unique a human being as St Pancras is unique as a building. His name will always be associated with St Pancras against whose destruction he stoutly – and successfully – campaigned. The sculpture nicely captures something of his unconventional – and slightly unkempt – appearance.

Frieze around Paul Day's Meeting Place (detail)
Frieze around Paul Day’s Meeting Place (detail)

We decided to go for a late lunch to Carluccio’s restaurant in the station. Near it is the well known sculpture by Paul Day of embracing lovers, called the Meeting Place. The frieze around the pediment is, in my opinion, the best part of the work and is superb.

One of the gargoyles decorating the station
One of the gargoyles decorating the station

I wonder why the gargoyle reminds me of Freya… 🙂

By the time we had enjoyed our meal at Carluccio’s, darkness had fallen and King’s Cross was wearing its night-time attire of lights.

King's Cross
King’s Cross

Behind us the clock tower of St Pancras stood tall against the dark sky. John Betjeman’s ghost has reason to be proud.

St Pancras clock tower
St Pancras clock tower

Copyright © 2010 SilverTiger,, All rights reserved.

About SilverTiger

I live in Islington with my partner, "Tigger". I blog about our life and our travels, using my own photos for illustration.
This entry was posted in Out and About and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to Around St Pancras

  1. AEJ says:

    Now THAT would be a fun job, making bug hotels.

  2. WOL says:

    I love the statue of Sir John Betjeman – I’m so tired of those statues with a physical likeness, but posed so pompously and statically. His statue tells you about him as a person and does it in delightful ways. I hope it is human scale — that would make it even better. I like the nature park idea. That’s a real green space — a touch of wilderness in the big city. Neat idea. That gargoyle looks like a bulldog.

    Freya does have a more lioness-leopardess shape to her head, with its boxy cranium, larger, longer muzzle and thicker whisker pads. I’ve noticed an interesting variation among domestic cats. My white one has that flat, wide, triangular shaped head of the tiger with thick whisker pads, while the other two have more pantherish shaped heads with a more spherical cranium, smaller, shorter muzzle, and thinner whisker pads. I notice all three types in the feral cat population here.

    • SilverTiger says:

      The statue of John Betjeman is slightly larger than life-size but that has the effect of making him seem life-size – if you see what I mean. You feel you are in the presence of a real person, not a cold sculpture. If you look at his feet you will see that one of his shoelaces is broken and tied together – a nice hint of the man’s nature.

      The park is a beautiful place if you enter into the spirit of it. It is well tended and there are people on site to answer questions and direct “activities”, mainly for school children to teach them about the environment and the importance of looking after it.

      I was being a little mischievous in comparing the gargoyle with Freya. The gargoyle, as Tigger pointed out, is dog-like whereas Freya is most definitely cat-like!

      Cats do vary widely in physiognomy from the classic long-headed Siamese to the round-headed domestic moggy. They vary even more widely in character and no two are ever the same in that respect. Artemis was intelligent but affectionate only at special moments whereas Freya is affectionate all the time but hasn’t even managed to work out how to get between the curtain and the window!

Genuine comments are welcome. Spam and comments with commercial URLs will be deleted.

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s