Kings Cross 1860s

Kings Cross, c. 1860Kings Cross 2005I’ve often sketched at Kings Cross as I waited for the train back to Yorkshire (left), so this engraving caught my attention as I leafed through a copy of Cassell’s Popular Educator, which I believe was published in the 1860s. I like to imagine A Williams, the artist sitting there a century and a half before me, drawing the same supporting struts.
As a slice of life he can’t compete with William Powell Frith’s Railway Station of 1862, which showed Paddington, but I like his group of passengers and porters on the left.
My grandfather worked briefly as a railway porter at Sheffield station at the end of the Victorian era. Kings Cross‘In some instances,’ Cassell’s informs us, ‘as in the termini of the Great Northern and Midland Railways at King’s Cross, these [arched] roofs are of great span and proportions. One of the two which form the terminus of the Great Northern Railway is depicted in our first illustration. This roof is supported by large semi-circular girders, formed of battens of wood jointed by iron bolts, and crossed transversely by horizontal iron rods, which complete the framework for the covering. As an example of the use of wood in this form, this station is very remarkable ; but in later constructions of the same kind, iron has quite superseded the other material and the roof is currently in progress of reconstruction in wrought iron.’ SidingsKings Cross had been built in 1851-52 and, as shown here, originally had only one platform, the rest of the space was used for sidings.

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