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St Pancras Station (Wonders of the World) [Paperback]

Simon Bradley
4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)

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St Pancras Station (Wonders of the World) St Pancras Station (Wonders of the World) 4.1 out of 5 stars (14)
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Book Description

25 Oct 2007 Wonders of the World
St Pancras station has long been an iconic landmark on the London landscape. The neo-Gothic spires and multi-coloured brickwork of the Midland Grand hotel and the awesome span of the station's train-shed have made it one of the capital's most distinctive monuments. Simon Bradley traces the history of the station, introducing us to the men behind the architecture, and looks forward to its future as home of Eurostar services to the continent. The Wonders of the World is a series of books that focuses on some of the world's most famous sites or monuments. Their names will be familiar to almost everyone: they have achieved iconic stature and are loaded with a fair amount of mythological baggage. These monuments have been the subject of many books over the centuries, but our aim, through the skill and stature of the writers, is to get something much more enlightening, stimulating, even controversial, than straightforward histories or guides.


Product details

  • Paperback: 224 pages
  • Publisher: Profile Books (25 Oct 2007)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1861979517
  • ISBN-13: 978-1861979513
  • Product Dimensions: 19.2 x 12.8 x 1.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 4.1 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (14 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 477,415 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Product Description

Review

'[A] masterpiece of historical context...Immensely readable.' -- Sunday Times, 4 November, 2007.

`...(a) sprightly social, technological and architectural history...Most entertaining...'
-- Evening Standard, 29 October 2007

`Take him along on that swift trip to Paris.' -- Boyd Tonkin in the Independent, 26 October 2007

`[T]his fine book examines the history of both the church that gave the station its name and the railway terminus...Unexpectedly compelling.' -- Daily Mail, 2 November 2007

Book Description

St Pancras station has long been an iconic landmark on the London landscape and one of its most distinctive monuments. This new edition is published to coincide with the reopening of Scott's wondrous Gothic hotel and includes a new final chapter and illustrations. --This text refers to an alternate Paperback edition.

Inside This Book (Learn More)
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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
28 of 30 people found the following review helpful
By Dr. R. Brandon TOP 1000 REVIEWER
Format:Paperback
The first third of the book is given over to a scholarly treatment of the derivation of the particular Italian gothic style employed by George Gilbert Scott to build the Midland Grand Hotel, the magnificent frontage to St. Pancras Station. The philosophical roles of Pugin and Ruskin are examined and details provided of the life and the architectural activities of Scott; some might think this the long route towards talking about the station per se. The design and construction of the train shed by William Henry Barlow is described very well. The almost unique (at the time) single unsupported arch construction is explained and compared with that used on other major railway termini. Interesting facts such as the spacing of the cast iron pillars in the undercroft being related to beer barrel size are fascinating and just the sort of detail enthusiasts will be looking for. The interior and Victorian usage of the hotel are described well. There then follows brief notes on the Midland Railway and changes which the railways wrought in society, the latter being of dubious relevance. A perfunctory description of the station resurrection is provided. This is an interesting book but leaves the reader feeling short-changed with regard to a direct treatment of the station and its renovation. It does not quite live up to the eulogies printed on the cover; it is not a masterpiece nor fabulous. The black and white printed illustrations are of poor quality.
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1 of 1 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Beautifully written 1 Mar 2010
By William
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a beautifully written and affectionate book on one of the defining pieces of Victorian architecture and engineering. It's hugely entertaining and informative and goes off on some lovely tangents, rather like a pre-Beeching branch line. You certainly don't have to be a railways enthusiast to enjoy this short work.
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20 of 26 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars A fascinating book 1 April 2007
Format:Hardcover
This is so much more than a book about a single railway station and its hotel. Architecture, engineering, and the synergy between the two, social history, railways throughout the UK, stations throughout the world. It's one of the most interesting books I've read in a long time!
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4.0 out of 5 stars A very wordy book. 6 Jan 2013
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
This is a very wordy book about the history of St. Pancras - the station and the hotel.
Not many pictures.
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5.0 out of 5 stars Great book 11 Nov 2012
By Carol
Format:Paperback|Verified Purchase
St Pancras Station is a great book with lots of interesting pictures and will make a great present for a railway enthusiast
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5.0 out of 5 stars Railman 16 Mar 2011
By cairns
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I really enjoyed this book-all the way through. I think that the preamble saves the reader looking to other sources to answer questions. The building of the Hotel was an organic evolution of what had gone before and as such this needs to be understood. The Station was a first in engineering terms and strictly speaking a one off, but it just didn't arrive one day, so the thinking behind it needs to be absorbed. The book makes a very good read and points you in the direction of other sources if you wish to follow up. We have to be thankful that neither edifice was swept away, both are completely different but sit well together. If they had of gone, where would Eurostar have departed from and with what extra costs for the construction? Don't be put off from reading it by some of the comments.
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4.0 out of 5 stars Excellent short introduction 25 Dec 2010
Format:Paperback
A book about a station may not sound too promising. This is a pleasant surprise, though, as it is about one of the most striking buildings of its type in the country and the writing style is excellent for a general reader, combining appropriate detail with a light touch. The chapters cover the Gothic style of building (the hotel fronting on Euston Road is an example), the train shed (which covers the platforms), the relationship between engineers (who built railways and sometimes stations) and architects (who had increasing influence over time), and the Midland Grand (who commissioned the whole thing). The final chapter, now a little dated, is about plans to restore the buildings in the 21st century.
A regret for me was that the paperback copy only has black and white photos but a Google search can help in that respect (type in "St Pancras Midland Grand"). I note one of the other reviewers refers to the scholarly treatment of the Gothic style and this dragged a bit for me as well, but fear not - you can simply jump ahead a bit and start the next section or chapter without any disadvantage; the chapters are relatively self-contained.
Otherwise, however, this was an enjoyable account that taught me more about architecture, engineering, hotel design and railway history without boring me! If you've ever passed through St Pancras or wondered about the building on Euston Road, I would recommend this as a good and informative read.
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Most Recent Customer Reviews
4.0 out of 5 stars St. Pancras Station
This arrived faster than the trains and is amazingly good value. Looking forward to just one night at the old Midland Grand hotel - like the book an eightieth birthday present to... Read more
Published on 3 July 2011 by G.A.D-L
5.0 out of 5 stars Very informative and entertaining
When I visited St Pancras station for the first time recently, I bought this book at Foyles bookshop on the concourse. Read more
Published on 23 Feb 2010 by J. Lockwood
1.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
A very disappointing and irritating book. Disappointing as the first 60 odd pages were a discussion of why the early Victorians liked Gothic architecture but nothing about the... Read more
Published on 19 Oct 2009 by Mr. J. Plumridge
5.0 out of 5 stars St Pancras Station
A superb, comprehensive and thoroughly entertaining account of the true architectural wonder that is St Pancras Station. Read more
Published on 30 July 2009 by A. P. Heard
5.0 out of 5 stars beautiful writing, impressive scope
This is one of the most beautifully written books I have ever read. Most novel writers cannot use language this fluidly. Read more
Published on 26 Jan 2008 by R. W. M. Lally
5.0 out of 5 stars Wonderful, erudite and witty
Contrary to the other peevish remarks of the online Amazon reviewers, this sparkling book is a wonderful read. Highly recommended.
Published on 20 Jan 2008 by J. Ewbank
2.0 out of 5 stars Disappointing
Whilst this book has a nice glossy cover with good reviews, it is spoilt by the very poor quality illustrations which do not do justice to this wonderful building. Read more
Published on 16 Dec 2007 by A. Hurst
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