Most helpful positive review
15 of 15 people found the following review helpful
You can tell when a book is rather special
on 27 August 2010
This book is immediately appealing from the moment you remove it from the packaging. It is reassuringly heavy, even in paperback form, and weighs roughly the same as a similar sized block of wood. Open it and it oozes quality, from the many fine photographs - mostly in full colour - to the very interesting, and very readable, text content.
I have known St Pancras for over 35 years, and have seen its' fortunes change from virtually a state of semi-dereliction, with only a couple of trains an hour (after Bedford line suburban trains were routed through Thameslink), to what must now be the station's finest hour. This book catalogues the transformation from initial concepts to completion, but covers a lot more in addition. It is a well known fact that the station is wholly supported on columns that are spaced to accommodate beer wagons, but within the covers of this book you will discover many other interesting facts that are lesser known. The book extends its' sphere of coverage to the lands immediately north of the station and the hinterland of the adjacent Kings Cross, both of which are ripe for the urban regeneration catalysed by the "new" St Pancras.
I was initially attracted to this book as it had been credited as written by Alastair Lansley. Alastair was the architect with overall responsibility for the project, and with whom I had worked (in a minor consultancy capacity) on a couple of former projects, as well as the very early stages of this one. I am not sure how much of this actually came from his pen; however he was always passionate about his work and loved detail - and this book revels in both passion and expert detail that you don't usually find. It's a book that I find difficult to put down - and for a work of this kind, this is unusual. Even if you don't yet know St Pancras - and I would suggest that if you have come this far in this lengthy review then you are obviously interested - buy the book, read and enjoy, then go visit the subject. You won't be disappointed in either.