Tag Archives: HS2

Euston Station and HS2 – A 2020 Update

HS2 has been in the news during the week with the announcement that the scheme will go ahead. I have been following the development of the Euston end of the line since 2017 when I photographed St James Gardens before the area was closed allowing the archaeological excavations of the original cemetery to start.

I wanted to follow the development of the area as this will be the largest above ground transport project in central London for at least the next ten years, so I planned to revisit the site in February of each year to see how the site and the new terminus for HS2 develops.

My posts so far are:

An exploration of the St James Gardens in 2017

The Streets Under The HS2 Platforms And Concourse in 2018

Euston Station and HS2 – A 2019 Update

Why am I interested in following the progress of the HS2 station at Euston? I have always tried to visit and photograph sites before, during and after development, an interest that probably came from first seeing some of my father’s photos. For example, the construction of the Royal Festival Hall, and Bankside Power Station. When the new station is complete, the area will look very different, and it will be fascinating to look back and watch how the development progressed.

The weather was sunny and calm last Saturday, Storm Ciara would arrive the following day, so I used the opportunity for a walk around Euston to see how the site has changed and what progress has been made since February 2019.

The following photos are a record of the area in February 2020.

Euston Station HS2

The Government’s announcement of the go-ahead for HS2 implied that initially trains will terminate at Old Oak Common, with Euston following later, and that HS2 had lost responsibility for the development of Euston Station.

The map below shows the area to the west of Euston Station that will be occupied by the platforms for HS2 when the scheme is complete. The numbers are the locations from where the photos in today’s post were taken.

Euston Station HS2

This is the view from location number one, looking north along Melton Street. Euston Station is to the right of the photo.

Euston Station HS2

It is still possible to exit the station, walk along the pavement of Melton Street (the wooden panels on the left of the photo below separate the pavement from the street which is fully closed). There is a crossing point to cross over Melton Street and get to Drummond Street. This is the view looking back along the closed Melton Street towards the Euston Road from location two on the map.

Euston Station HS2

Although the majority of the surrounding buildings have been demolished, the disused underground station entrance on the corner of Melton and Drummond Streets is still there. The station housed an air conditioning system for the tunnels below and also has access to the tunnels, so I suspect it is a more complex structure to demolish.

Euston Station HS2

When I took the London Transport Museum, Hidden London tour of Euston Station, the entrance to the tunnels was through the building shown in the above photo. The tours are still being run so the entrance is possibly still in use, or an alternative route is being used.

The following view, also from location two on the map, is looking north along Cardington Street, fully closed to pedestrians and traffic.

Euston Station HS2

The following photo shows the view looking slight further to the left. In both the above and below photos, the old St James Gardens over the original cemetery was on the left, and on the immediate left was an Ibis Hotel.

Euston Station HS2

The following photo from 2017 soon after the cemetery was closed is from roughly the same place as the above photo and shows the same view before demolition commenced.

Euston Station HS2

The stretch of Drummond Street leading up to the junction with Coburg Street is closed to traffic, however again, it is possible to walk along the pavement which is fenced off by wooden panels.

The following photo is from location three and is looking back towards Euston Station. The underground station entrance is the remaining building on the right.

Euston Station HS2

Walking south along Coburg Street, I get to location four on the map. The length of Euston Street up to Melton Street is closed off, but this was the view looking through the wire fencing from location four.

Euston Station HS2

The following photo shows the same view prior to demolition of the Bree Louise pub, and the houses running along Coburg and Euston Streets.

Euston Station HS2

Looking through the wire fencing, the view towards Euston Road.

Euston Station HS2

The view also from location four, looking back along Coburg Street. The terrace houses to the left of the Bree Louise once ran along where these hoardings now run.

Euston Station HS2

Back to the junction of Drummond and Coburg Streets and this is looking along the northern leg of Coburg Street. The rear of the Ibis Hotel was behind the hoardings on the right.

Euston Station HS2

Looking down the closed section of Drummond Street.

Euston Station HS2

In the above photo, the gap on the right was originally the Calumet photography store, shown in the following photo.

Euston Station HS2

At the end of Coburg Street (location 5 on the map) is the Exnouth Arms, on the edge of the HS2 demolition area and still open.

Euston Station HS2

The view in the following photo is again at location five, and is looking through the gate to the right of the Exmouth Arms.

Euston Station HS2

In the above photo, and the photo below where I put the camera lens between the wire mesh of the gate, the area shown is the location of the St James Gardens and the original cemetery. When I was here last, the archaeological excavation of the cemetery was still in progress and there was a very large marquee covering the whole area.

Euston Station HS2

The following photo is an extract from the photo above. The trees are those that originally lined Cardington Street, opposite St James Gardens. The photo illustrates the depth of the excavation of the cemetery. An earth bank can be seen descending down to the level excavated, and the depth of this can be gauged by the roof of a digger which can just be seen. Clearance of the old graveyard was a major exercise.

Euston Station HS2

The above photos show the area once occupied by St James Gardens. The photo below shows the gardens in 2017, just before closure – hard to realise looking at the area now that these photos occupy the same space.

Euston Station HS2

Looking back across Coburg Street towards Euston Station. The Ibis Hotel once blocked the view.

Euston Station HS2

The area being demolished for HS2 also runs along the Hampstead Road, the location of the next set of stops, and the following photo was taken from location six. The photo is looking back towards Euston Station, again across the space once occupied by St James Gardens. The old underground station is at the base of the left most crane.

Euston Station HS2

Location seven, and this shows a better view of the depth of the excavated St James Gardens/ cemetery.

Euston Station HS2

Last year, HS2 had built a small community space which included a number of artifacts from the cemetery, and the London Temperance Hospital, which once occupied the site. This was in the area to the left in the photo below, but now appears to have been cleared, apart from some of the information panels, one of which can be seen on the left.

Euston Station HS2

The temporary buildings at the end of the pathway are HS2 site offices, however the ground floor door provides an entrance to an “HS2 in Camden” information centre. Unfortunately not open at the weekends, so I could not visit. The community space had on display one of the foundation stones from the London Temperance Hospital, so not sure where this has moved to (see last years post).

The following photo is from location eight.

Euston Station HS2

This is where Cardington Street joined the Hampstead Road, however as Cardington Street alongside the old gardens has all but disappeared, the short stub of road is closed off and only provides access to the HS2 site.

The following photo shows the one remaining building along this eastern side of the Hampstead Road, the former Saint Pancras Female Orphanage building.

Euston Station HS2

After the orphanage moved, the building was an annex of the London Temperance Hospital and is now an NHS facility.

That completed my 2020 view of the area being demolished for the future HS2 platforms and station extension at Euston, following much the same route as in the two previous years.

Euston Station will also be transformed, so I have been taking photos of the station as can currently be seen. The following photo is off the main entrance for traffic to the station from the Euston Road.

Euston Station HS2

Since February 2019, most of the buildings that occupied the area that will become the HS2 station at Euston have been demolished.

Excavation of the cemetery that was under St James Gardens has been completed, so I assume the site is now ready for the build phase to start, however this is such a large area and there is a considerable amount of construction work to take place so I expect it will take many years.

Up to the announcement of the go-ahead there seemed to be some genuine doubt as to whether the new Government would support the project, which raised the question of what would be done with such a large area of prime London space. My fear was that it would have been sold off to property developers to recover some of the costs, which would have created another bland area of towers.

Whatever your views on HS2 (in many ways the name is wrong, whilst it is high-speed, this hides the real benefit of a significant addition of capacity and freeing up the existing lines for more local services), it now seems certain that London will be getting the first major new rail route and station extension since the rail link to the channel tunnel was built.

I will be returning in February next year, and it will be interesting to see if work has changed from demolition to construction.

alondoninheritance.com

Euston Station and HS2 – A 2019 Update

The excavations of St. James Gardens, in preparation for the expansion of Euston Station for HS2, have been underway for some time and make the headlines every few months when a significant discovery is made. The last time was a few weeks ago when the grave of Matthew Flinders was found. Flinders was the first European to circumnavigate Australia. He died in 1814 and his headstone was removed from St. James Gardens during previous clearances and expansion of the station. His grave was assumed to have been lost, but was identified during the current excavations by the use of a lead plate on his coffin.

One year ago, in February 2018 I took a walk around the streets to the west of Euston Station to look at the streets that would be under the HS2 Platforms and Concourse. This followed on from an earlier post on St. James Gardens.

I thought that it would be interesting to take another walk around the same area, almost exactly one year later and get a 2019 update on the changes that have taken place.

Most of the roads have now been closed to traffic, although there is still pedestrian access along some of the roads immediately to the west of Euston Station. There has been very little demolition yet, just lots of scaffolding and hoardings. The main focus of work appears to be at the location of St. James Gardens.

The following map provides an overview of the area and I have marked the locations of the photos that appear in the post.

Euston Station

Map  © OpenStreetMap contributors. 

Euston Station is the large area in the upper right part of the map. The current HS2 expansion of Euston is roughly covering the area bounded by where I was taking photos, although the final area will be larger and there is already work commencing between the station and Euston Road.

The first few photos are from location one. Leaving Euston Station, this is the view towards Euston Street.

Euston Station

It is possible to walk north a short distance to the point where Cardington Street began. This is the street that ran to the east of St. James Gardens.

Euston Station

The following view is looking up Cardington Street. The iBis Hotel was on the left of the street. The large white marquee is covering the excavations of the graveyard at St. James Gardens. The size of the marquee provides some idea of the scale of work involved.

Euston Station

On the corner of Melton Street and Drummond Street is the original Euston station of the Charing Cross, Euston and Hampstead Railway. The station is one of Leslie Green’s distinctive station designs.

Euston Station

Looking back along Melton Street towards Euston Road.

Euston Station

Although closed for traffic, this part of Drummond Street is still open for pedestrians, so I walked down and turned right into Coburg Street. This section is still open for traffic and the Exmouth Arms is open (see location two). The large marquee over the St. James Gardens excavations can be seen in the background.

Euston Station

Looking back down Drummond Street from location three in the map.

Euston Station

The other side of Coburg Street is open, but the buildings alongside are hoarded off, presumably waiting for demolition.

Euston Station

The following photos are from location four. At the junction of Coburg Street and Euston Street, yet more buildings covered in scaffolding.

Euston Station

The Bree Louise pub is still there, but fenced off.

Euston Station

Back to the junction with Drummond Street and this is the view along the northern leg of Coburg Street. The old iBis Hotel is underneath the sheeting on the right.

Euston Station

I then walked up to Hampstead Road to see what impact HS2 preparation is having. Most of the buildings along a significant section of the east side of Hampstead Road have been demolished, including the old London Temperance Hospital. This is the view (location five) of the rear of the marquee covering the St. James Garden’s excavations.

Euston Station

HS2 have built a small community space along Hampstead Road (location six).

Euston Station

On display in the space are the foundation stones recovered from the London Temperance Hospital.

Euston Station

The first foundation stone, with above, a decorative lintel retrieved from the main building.

Euston Station

An information note advises that time capsules were retrieved from underneath the foundation stones and that these are currently being conserved. Unfortunately there is no information on what was in the time capsules.

There is also a memorial stone recovered from St. James Gardens. This is a Ledger Stone for the Griffiths family, made of Welsh slate possibly to reflect their Welsh heritage.

Euston Station

The second foundation stone from the London Temperance Hospital.

Euston Station

There are a number of large information panels which tell the history of the area and the impact the expansion of the railways.

Euston Station

The railways have had a significant impact on the area, HS2 is just the latest expansion. 19th century expansion of Euston Station had already taken a section of St. James Gardens and the construction of the tracks into the station had a major impact on the graveyard of St. Pancras Old Church.

Information panels showing the history of the wider area.

Euston Station

This was the northern end of Cardington Street which is closed a short distance along (location seven in the map above). I suspect many satnavs have not been updated as in the short time I was there, a number of cars turned into the street and had to turn round.

Euston Station

View along Hampstead Road to the south. The area to the left of the photo will look very different when HS2 is complete.

Euston Station

In the year since I last visited the site, the main focus of work appears to be at the old graveyard at St. James Gardens which is not surprising given the considerable amount of archaeological excavation and investigation that is needed.

It is still possible to walk many of the streets, although for how much longer is not clear, the majority of buildings lining these streets appear to be ready for demolition.

It will be interesting to make a return visit in February 2020 to see how far work has progressed. What is clear is the scale of the impact that HS2 will have on Euston. This will be a very different station when the new service is operational.

alondoninheritance.com

The Streets Under The HS2 Platforms And Concourse

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.

HS2 Demolitions

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.

HS2 Demolitions

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.

HS2 Demolitions

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.

HS2 Demolitions

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.

HS2 Demolitions

This is the view looking up Euston Street.

HS2 Demolitions

The opposite side of Euston Street. Buildings on both sides are now closed with hoardings protecting their ground floors.

HS2 Demolitions

At the junction of Euston Street and Cobourg Street is the pub, the Bree Louise.

HS2 Demolitions

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.

HS2 Demolitions

The pub sign is still in place:

HS2 Demolitions

As are adverts of when the Bree Louise was North London’s Camra pub of the year in 2016:

HS2 Demolitions

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.

HS2 Demolitions

On the corner of Cobourg Street and Drummond Street is the old Calumet photographic shop:

HS2 Demolitions

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.

HS2 Demolitions

There are now a number of information posters along the old hotel. One example covering the history of Euston Station:

HS2 Demolitions

And another covering the St. James’s burial ground:

HS2 Demolitions

Looking down Cobourg Street towards the junction with Starcross Street. All these buildings will be demolished.

HS2 Demolitions

Back to the point where Cobourg Street crosses Euston Street, looking down towards Euston Station:

HS2 Demolitions

The old underground station at the junction of Euston Street and Melton Street:

HS2 Demolitions

A wider view with rain drops on the camera lens:

HS2 Demolitions

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.

HS2 Demolitions

The opposite corner, on the junction of Euston Street and Melton Street, also with hoarding around the building.

HS2 Demolitions

A partly visible sign carved into the stone around the entrance records that this was once the home of the Transport Salaried Staffs Association.

HS2 Demolitions

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.

HS2 Demolitions

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.

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St. James Gardens – A Casualty Of HS2

The rate of change within London is such that streets can take on a very different appearance within a matter of months, however it is unusual for a public park and old burial ground to disappear, however this has been the fate of St. James Gardens.

St. James Gardens are alongside Euston Station, between Cardington Street and Hampstead Road. They were used as a burial ground for the parish of St. James Piccadilly between 1790 and 1853. In 1887 the majority of the monuments and tombstones were removed and St. James opened as a public garden.

The location of St. James Gardens is the green space to the left of Euston Station in the map extract below from the 1940 Bartholomew’s Atlas of Greater London. I have used this map as the gardens have now disappeared from Google Maps (apart from an unlabelled small green rectangle). The gardens are still visible on Streetview which also has the ability to rollback to historic views of a location, however I believe this is not a feature with the basic map so it is interesting to consider how locations will be recorded long term if we rely on Internet mapping services.

St. James Gardens

The following extract from the 1895 Ordnance Survey map clearly shows St. James Gardens and also shows how what was once a rectangular burial ground had already been cut through by Cardington Street and the original Euston Station.

St. James Gardens

The land occupied by St. James Gardens is needed for the expansion of Euston Station to accommodate HS2, so the gardens closed at the end of June to enable preparatory work to be undertaken prior to HS2 construction.

This will primarily involve the exhumation of the bodies buried across the gardens, the removal of the monuments that remain along with the trees that line the gardens.

I have seen various estimates for the number of bodies that are thought to be buried, anything between 30,000 and 60,000 which clearly means no one really knows, however it will be a major task for the exhumation and reburial of such as large number bodies. The first phase of work will be the excavation of archaeological trial trenches so that the scale of the task can be better understood.

A week before the planned closure, I managed to get down to St. James Gardens and photograph a historic space that will soon be lost from the landscape of London for ever.

The plaque at the entrance from Hampstead Road recording the opening of the burial ground as public gardens on the 17th August 1887.

St. James Gardens

The Camden Council welcome sign:

St. James Gardens

The majority of the original gravestones and monuments were removed when the burial ground was converted into public gardens and only a few now remain. These were already fenced off.  The HS2 statement of the archaeological work to be carried out across the garden states that the remaining gravestones and monuments will be recorded, then removed and safely stored. There is no indication of their long term fate.

St. James Gardens

View across the gardens:

St. James Gardens

One of the most significant remaining monuments is that to the Christie family:

St. James Gardens

The memorial is to James Christie (the founder in 1766 of Christie’s auctioneer’s), who was buried in St. James Gardens. The memorial also records his wife and children (although I cannot find out who the John Chapman is, the only one on the memorial without a Christie surname).

St. James Gardens

John Christie, who was buried in St. James Gardens in 1803 (Source: Thomas Gainsborough [Public domain], via Wikimedia Commons)

St. James Gardens

He had four sons, who are recorded on the monument. His eldest son, also James Christie took over the Auction business is recorded as are the other three who, I assume not being the eldest and therefore not inheriting the family business had to make their way in other professions.

Edward Christie is recorded as having been a Midshipman on HMS Theseus when he died at Port Royal, Jamaica of fever whilst on board a captured slave ship on the 18th July 1802, aged 19 years.

Albany Henry Christie is recorded as aged 39 when he died on the 3rd October 1821, but with no information on his profession or location, although I have found references to him being an articled clerk so he may have been in the legal profession.

St. James Gardens

The monument also records the death of his second son, Captain Charles Christie of the 5th Regiment, Bombay Native Infantry, killed in Persia by the River Aras in an attack made by a body of Russian troops on the 1st November 1812.

St. James Gardens

Captain Charles Christie had an adventurous life as part of the Bombay Regiment. In 1810, disguised as horse dealers, he was exploring a possible route through what is now Afghanistan and Iran to explore if a route was possible for European armies to invade India.

Christie was also part of an officer corp that entered Persian service following an 1809 treaty with the Shah of Persia. This included training Persian infantry and commanding one of the Persian regiments.

He was also involved in a number of military actions between Persia and Russia, as Russia was trying to take control of the area to the north of modern day Iran.

This involvement with Persia formally ceased in 1812 after an agreement between Great Britain and Russia, however a number of officers, including Christie, remained with the Persian army.

In a battle between the Persian and Russian armies in what is now Iran, Christie was shot in the neck, but refused to surrender and apparently killed six men before he was finally killed by the Russian forces. He was buried where he died close to the village of Aslan Duz which today is on the border between Iran and Azerbaijan on the River Aras.

The monument provides a snapshot of the careers of sons of the business and professional classes in the late 18th century. The eldest son would take on the family business, the route to financial success for the other sons would then often be the Navy, Army or Legal professions, as shown by the Christie family.

Unfortunately for Edward and Charles, their careers did not end with success, but with an early death a long way from home.

If you look back at the 1895 Ordnance Survey map shown above, you will see St. James Church between the burial ground and Hampstead Road. The print below from Old and New London shows the church facing a very rural Hampstead Road:

St. James Gardens

Edward Walford writing in Old and New London provides some more information on the church and who is buried in the burial ground, a location which does not get a very positive description:

“St. James’s Church, formerly a chapel of ease to the mother church of St. James’s, Piccadilly. It is a large brick building, and has a large, dreary, and ill-kept burial ground attached to it. Here lie George Morland, the painter, who died in 1804; John Hoppner, the portrait-painter, who died in 1810; Admiral Lord Gardner, the hero of Port l’Orient, and the friend of Howe, Bridport and Nelson; and without a memorial, Lord George Gordon, the mad leader of the Anti-Catholic Riots in 1780, who died a prisoner in Newgate in 1793.”

This was published in 1878 and the description of the burial ground as dreary and ill-kept probably explains why it was cleared and turned into public gardens in 1887.

View across St. James Gardens with some of the mature trees that will be lost:

St. James Gardens

Although the gravestones do not now exist, many of those who have unmarked graves in St. James Gardens played a significant part in late 18th and early 19th century history.

Captain Matthew Flinders, the navigator who led the first circumnavigation of Australia was buried here in 1814.

Lord George Gordon who led the protest from St. George’s Fields to the Houses of Parliament and which evolved into what became known as the Gordon Riots was buried here in 1793.

St. James Gardens

View over to the location of the London Temperance Hospital, the majority of which has now been demolished.

St. James Gardens

Walking around the gardens I found that the occasional solitary grave remains:

St. James Gardens

The mature tress have large, 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.

St. James Gardens

St. James Gardens

The open space between the park and the Hampstead Road that was occupied by the London Temperance Hospital:

St. James Gardens

A few more of the remaining monuments and gravestones. The gravestone to lower right is to Catherine Griffiths and Griffith Griffiths along with their daughter Elizabeth and their son Daniel who is recorded as being drowned in the Thames on the 18th June 1852 at the age of 16.

St. James Gardens

View across the gardens from the edge of the gardens adjacent to Cardington Street:

St. James Gardens

Cardington Street on the left:

St. James Gardens

Cardington Street entrance to St. James Gardens with an HS2 poster announcing the closure of the gardens:

St. James Gardens

View across Cardington Street to the entrance:

St. James Gardens

St. James Gardens are now closed. Hoarding will hide the archaeological investigations across the site and the eventual removal of the monuments and the remains of those buried. St. James Gardens will eventually disappear beneath the development of Euston for HS2.

I hope that the few remaining memorials are moved to a location where they still have some relevance and with public access. It would be a shame if Captain Charles Christie, buried on the border between Iran and Azerbaijan, looses his remaining tangible connection with London.

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