King’s Cross: A Sense of Place
By Angela Inglis with Nigel Buckner
Published by Matador, July 2012, price: £19.95
King’s Cross: A Sense of Place celebrates the survival and rebirth of a small corner of historic London, thanks to the vision and tireless campaigning of people who have lived, worked and believed in the area. The book is a collaborative history told through narrative and photographs, with contributions from many of the key campaigners.
In the first part of the book, three fiercely fought campaigns are told by some of the people who led them. The largest, in the 1980s and 90s, tells how a neighbourhood was threatened with demolition by a plan to site an international railway terminal at Kings
Cross Station, and how a local campaign helped to defeat that proposal, resulting in the international terminal now at St Pancras. Campaigners also fought for the survival of Balfe Street in the 1970s and 80s, and more recently for what is now the Regent Quarter, to the east of York Way. Without their efforts, the character of these areas would have been destroyed, along with many of the buildings.
In Part Two, Malcolm Tucker, engineering historian and industrial archaeologist, looks at the sites of past industry in what was once called Battle Bridge; he also presents the story of Battlebridge Basin on the Regent’s Canal. The book concludes with a description of Kings Place just to the north of the Regent Quarter. Completed in October 2008 it has established itself as a thriving centre for music, the arts and business.