This weekend is the fourth anniversary of the blog – a point I did not expect to reach when starting out.
I would really like to thank every reader and subscriber, for your comments and e-mails, and just for knowing that there is someone out there reading my weekly exploration of London.
For this anniversary, I hope you will permit me three self-indulgent posts, today, Saturday and Sunday.
The post today is a return to the site of my most read post from the last year. Back in August I wrote about the closure of St. James Gardens as part of the preparations for the HS2 developments at Euston Station.
I have been trying to find the time to get back to the area and see what has happened since August, and finally had some spare time a couple of Saturdays ago.
The day of my visit was unfortunately wet and gloomy however this was rather suitable for the subject.
I started my walk around the area in Melton Street, along the western edge of Euston Station, where there is an information stand with a map of the area.
I have put a red rectangle around the streets that I will walk today. The map still shows the area before the closure of St. James Gardens which can be seen at the top of the red rectangle.
HS2 platforms and concourse will occupy this space as the station extends to the west to accommodate the extra rail tracks.
Starting off in Melton Street, this is the view towards Cardington Street (which runs past St. James Gardens), and is now closed off. White wooden hoardings now block any further access along the street.
There is a small window in the hoarding blocking off Cardington Street. The transparent plastic of the window did not help with a clear view, however this is looking down Cardington Street.
An Ibis Hotel occupied the building on the left, and just past the hotel is St. James Gardens.
I took some photos of Cardington Street last August just after St. James Gardens were closed. The following photo shows the corner of the Ibis Hotel with the trees of the gardens in the background:
The following photo was looking down Cardington Street towards the Ibis Hotel and Euston Road. It appears that all the trees in the gardens have now been removed.
Even relatively recent buildings will suffer the same fate as their older neighbours. This new building is on the corner of Melton Street and Euston Street. Further along is one of Leslie Green’s distinctive underground station designs. This was the entrance for one of the Hidden London tours I wrote about in this post on the lost tunnels of Euston Underground Station.
This is the view looking up Euston Street.
The opposite side of Euston Street. Buildings on both sides are now closed with hoardings protecting their ground floors.
At the junction of Euston Street and Cobourg Street is the pub, the Bree Louise.
The pub dates from the early 19th century and was the Jolly Gardeners until being renamed by the most recent landlord as the Bree Louise, the name of the landlord’s daughter who died soon after birth.
The Bree Louise was a basic, but superb local pub and it is sad to see how quickly after closing at the end of January, the pub has taken on such air of being abandoned.
The pub sign is still in place:
As are adverts of when the Bree Louise was North London’s Camra pub of the year in 2016:
This is the view in Cobourg Street looking back towards the Bree Louise. There is a row of houses, which although not yet closed off, and some still looking occupied, will also be under HS2’s platforms.
On the corner of Cobourg Street and Drummond Street is the old Calumet photographic shop:
Cobourg Street continues after crossing Drummond Street and it is along here that the rear of the old Ibis Hotel can be seen, again closed.
There are now a number of information posters along the old hotel. One example covering the history of Euston Station:
And another covering the St. James’s burial ground:
Looking down Cobourg Street towards the junction with Starcross Street. All these buildings will be demolished.
Back to the point where Cobourg Street crosses Euston Street, looking down towards Euston Station:
The old underground station at the junction of Euston Street and Melton Street:
A wider view with rain drops on the camera lens:
Walking back along Melton Street and some of the trees have colourful cloths wrapped around their trunks. This was the result of a “yarn bombing” where hand knitted scarves are wrapped around the trunks of trees to draw attention to their fate.
The opposite corner, on the junction of Euston Street and Melton Street, also with hoarding around the building.
A partly visible sign carved into the stone around the entrance records that this was once the home of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association.
The impact of HS2 will not just be felt to the west of the station. major developments will take place all around the station and the gardens between the station and Euston Road are already being fenced off.
The weather added to the rather sombre mood that covers the area around Cobourg Street. The closure of Cardington Street seems to have added to the traffic in the area. Both sides of Euston Street and Drummond Street were occupied by parked cars, many of which appeared to be Ubers waiting for their next passenger. A single line of cars were trying to squeeze between.
I was pleased to finally get to photograph these streets and buildings before they disappear, however still more to visit when I get time and hopefully with better weather.
Just wanted to say a huge thank you for your blogs. Although I have retired to Oxford, your blogs jog such wonderful memories. The London Docklands: as a social science student in the 80’s studying the claims of prosperity this development would bring to the local people, took me out of the classroom to meet with local people who were as cynical as us students!
St James park was a lovely space for those of us working at St James House a fabulous scheme for employment opportunities for people with mental health difficulties.
Thank you so much for your blogs, fascinating.
Thank you for these wonderful posts and for your energy and enthusiasm. Reading them is always a highlight of my week!
Will that old bit of Unfergraound station be demolished? Won’t it be saved & re-erected elsewhere? Has there been a campaign to try to keep this piece of architecture in particular? Some nice little terraced houses there too. They destroy so much rich visual architectural living history when they have these grandoise/private mopney-making schemes. Look at the loss of gorgeous old streets beside & behind Kings Cross before the channel tunnel connection destroyed all that atmospheric character used for filming.
I have been following these blogs and comments relating to St. James Gardens in an area where I began my working life many years ago.
It is so, so sad that another little part of London is being sacrificed for the dubious benefit of some people being able to travel to Birmingham only a few minutes faster, and perfectly good buildings being demolished while grotesque monstrosities continue to be built in the City.
I must add my thanks for these extremely interesting – if sometimes dispiriting – blogs which record the desecration which is taking place in our city.
Whilst progress is sometimes good and Euston out of all the stations on Euston Road is in need of a refurbishment, what a shame that some lovely old streets and buildings will be lost and the park presumably too.
I always like turning out of Euston station and heading through these old roads when I can to avoid the hustle and bustle of the gardens and busy crossings in front of the station.
Thank you for your very interesting posts, it is so sad to hear what is happening to the whole area for the sake of saving 1/2 hour travel time in the future.
Keep up the good work.
It is sad that these streets that i walked round as a youngster are being demolished for HS2..
Thank you for recording this area. BTW I sy-tayed in that Ibis on business in 2002. It was ‘very pale yellow’ with ornamental wallpaper borders. More 80s than Wham.
I regret the scale and pace of these changes in this area.
This is an excellent and very informative site – and much appreciated.
Thanks for this blog. I look forward to every post. I’m way over on an island in the Pacific Northwest but your posts bring me back to the London I first visited in the mid 1970s. I returned to England many more times in the coming years, even studied there briefly, but I doubt I’ll ever be able to return now. What quiet pleasure your photos and writing bring to those who read your blog.
“For this anniversary, I hope you will permit me three self-indulgent posts, today, Saturday and Sunday.”
First of all, congratulations on the blog’s 4th anniversary, David. It’s a tribute not just to your persistence ~ & stamina! ~ but also to your passion for the project & the richly imaginative way in which you are carrying it off. Taking a weekly walk with you through my old hometown has given this expat much pleasure & moments of pure joy. Thank you.
Second of all, doing three times your usual work to create three posts this weekend is hardly self indulgence on your part! 😉 Long may the banner of A London Inheritance fly!!!!
This blog is one of the modern wonders of the world! I work in London on average one day per week – and I often have a bit of time at the start and end of the day – which usually involves Euston station. I have enjoyed these bits of free time so much more by being able to enjoy some of the sights etc promoted by David.
Quite by chance I approached Euston yesterday from the west and was surprised by the incursion of HS2 and the devastation in progress. I suppose it might be progress…. I’m agnostic about HS2. As a frequent Manchester to London traveler I absolutely do not want the journey time reduced – it’s valuable quiet time for reflection and work. But if the business case for it is genuinely built on capacity, then I might accept it.
Still… there’s plenty of London left for David to explore – and my offices in London are moving from Westminster to London Bridge next month – so my commute (always on foot from Euston) should enable me to enjoy more of David’s back issues.
Wonderful article — as they all are — documenting an area which is in transition. I seem to recall reading about a grand processional stone arch which served as an entrance to Euston Station until it was removed as the result of road widening in the mid-19th Century. Any discussion on re-erecting the edifice? Kudos from yet another of your avid North American readers.
Researching my family history I found out about ten years ago that my grandmother’s family lived for many years around Drummond Street. That gave a sense of belonging and, as a bonus, I discovered the Bree Louise. How many families will have lost part of their heritage in one fell swoop. Nothing can remain untouched by time and inevitably changes have occurred.
But this is crazy. If there was a sound reason for this destruction while spending many billions of pounds it might sugar the pill a little. It only takes just over two hours to reach Manchester at present and that includes two stops. If the time is reduced to a little over one hour the main outcome will be to make the cities of the Midlands and the North dormitory towns for London. Speed isn’t the issue – it’s extra capacity that is needed. So why not re-open the old mainline from London to Manchester (via the East Midlands and the Peak District)? It seems that a vanity project is required as usual (Hinckley Point, London Garden Bridge – thankfully cancelled, aircraft carriers, etc.)
Many thanks for this and all your blogs David. This is an essential record of the ridiculous cost of an ill-thought out project – not just monetary.
This makes me feel a bit sad. I happened to stay near this area this past August and I meant to get back to explore it a bit more. I didn’t know anything about this HS2 scheme. It sounds as though it is not wanted and yet I gather there is no stopping “progress” and it will proceed the way these things always do. Thanks for documenting the area for posterity.
Thank you for recording what remains now and for highlighting the scale of the change ahead. Future generations will be amazed to see what used to be there. Having just been on the Lost Tunnels of Euston tour, and read up about the area, it seems that the one constant about Euston station is its continued expansion – and in this respect alone nothing seems to change.
I’m astonished that the new is being swept away with the old in this area; that said, the history of the development of most London railway termini (and their associated routes) involves the clearance of whatever was in their way – plus ca change!
Anyone else notice the poignant misspelling of the name on the abandoned pub chalk signboard..?
Poor old Bree Lousie…
This is an interesting youtube link showing a video about what is staying and what is going https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5VfCZKPnmdQ
The Bree Louise was our favourite pub in all of Londinium.
The last two years have been hectic for us with lots of family duties to take care of, but we always said we’d get down to it again as soon as we had the chance. Sadly, now we do have the chance we’ve read, far too late, that it has long been gone.
I really hope the Landlord and Lady managed to move on and find a new pub venture, I’d happily seek it out next time in London.
So sad, fab place.