St Pancras Waterpoint
Just North of Saint Pancras railway station is the St Pancras Waterpoint, a water tower built in 1872 originally used for filling up railway steam engines. Which is interesting enough as a relic from the bygone steam age.
In the early 2000s St Pancras was about to be redeveloped to run Eurostars, international trains to Paris and Brussels. To save the waterpoint, the building was physically moved in two pieces.
Tickets now available for Saturday, 21st October
Waterpoint Open Day. Book via Eventbrite
The Waterpoint’s History
The structure started life as a humble water tower to fill up thirsty steam engines. It was one of thousands of similar structures across the UK. What made this a bit special was that it had survived the end of UK railway steam trains in 1968.
Having become a listed building, the construction teams could not demolish it. This presented a problem as the waterpoint was located in the middle of what was going to be a drastically enlarged railway station.
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Moving A Building
Then a plan was hatched to move the building. That was easier said than done. After much discussion, the plan was formulated.
A new base would be built of matching bricks at the new site. The waterpoint would then be sliced horizontally with two cuts to create the two sections that were to be moved.
The original base would then be demolished as it was structurally unsound after years of smoke exposure had eroded the bricks.
The waterpoint moved in 2004.
The new base goes to half way up the door. A band of new brickwork, between the tops of the arches and below the decorative stonework, marks the location of the second cut.
The Building Today
The St Pancras Cruising Club now look after, and use the waterpoint.
The waterpoint has three floors. The ground floor has four information panels explaining the waterpoint’s history and the project to transport and save it.
From the ground floor, a spiral staircase goes to the first floor with a second flight of stairs ascending through a hatch to the roof.
Click and drag the virtual tour above to move around, just like Google Street View.
The 360 Virtual Tour Of The Roof
Click and drag the virtual tours below to move around, just like Google Street View.
The Roof Panorama
The St Pancras waterpoint roof has unobstructed 360 views of the local area.
King’s Cross Gas Holders
The iron frames of the gas holders, after careful refurbishment and preservation, were relocated further North than their original location.
Before North Sea natural gas became available, Town Gas was used. Town Gas was manufactured by heating, not burning, coal until gas was released which was then stored in gasometers. Heating the coal needed other coal to be burnt, producing huge amounts of pollution adding to the toxic air quality in towns and cities.
The railways brought vast quantities of coal to what is now Coal Drops Yard, so it was an obvious place to locate a gas works.
The frames are listed which meant a new use had to be found for them. The solution was to build homes within the frames.