London’s King’s Cross Reborn | The B1M

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For over two thousand years, London has thrived. From its early days as a settlement on the
banks of the Thames, to enduring countless wars, becoming a major financial and cultural
centre, creating homes for millions and witnessing some of the most defining moments in human
history – the UK’s capital has navigated the centuries to become one of the largest
and most celebrated cities on Earth. London is renowned for its diverse blend of
neighbourhoods, vibrant cultures and remarkable heritage that now interacts with some of the
world’s greatest modern-day architecture. Located to the north of central London, the
region of Kings Cross combines many of these elements and stands as a powerful example
of the city’s ability to evolve. From its rise as a major railway hub during the industrial
revolution to the lows of its post-war decline, the district is now re-emerging as one of
the UK capital’s premiere tech precincts. But how did this area go from such importance
to irrelevance, before returning to become one of the most appealing new destinations
in the city? This is the story of how London’s Kings
Cross has been reborn. Taking its name from a monument to King George
IV, that stood at the intersection of Euston Road, Grays Inn Road and Pentonville Road
between 1830 and 1845, the district known as Kings Cross has been a gateway into Britain’s
capital for nearly two centuries. With the completion of Regents Canal in the
1820s, the introduction of the railway and the world’s first underground metro system
a few decades later, the area became directly connected to numerous cities across the country
and was a key focus of industry. However, following the end of the Second World
War in 1945, many of the industries that once supported Kings Cross moved away from transporting
freight by rail and the area became underutilised, falling into decline. While numerous attempts were made to revive
Kings Cross over the decades, unemployment, crime and a poor pedestrian environment ultimately
prevented developers from investing in the area. This all began to change towards the end of
the 20th Century, when the Kings Cross Partnership was established to invest in regeneration
projects in the area and when the decision was taken to construct a high-speed rail link
between London and the Channel Tunnel, with its main terminal at St Pancras. With the construction of the Channel Tunnel
Rail Link (now known as High Speed 1) and the restoration and extension of the historic
St Pancras Station both commencing in the early 2000s, perceptions of Kings Cross began
to change. With the new rail link requiring the demolition
of a number of disused buildings and the reopening of the St Pancras Renaissance Hotel, developers
began to envisage the wider redevelopment of the district. In 2006, plans were submitted to regenerate
the area bounded by the Kings Cross and St Pancras railway stations, York Way and the
new rail lines into a thriving new residential, entertainment and commercial hub for London. Reimagined as King’s Cross Central, the
proposal would see new life breathed into the 67-acre site with 50 new and restored
buildings, 20 new streets, some 2,000 new homes and over 26 acres of new public space. With the completion of High Speed 1 and the
transfer of Eurostar services from London’s Waterloo station to St Pancras in 2007 – and
with much of the land that was previously taken up by construction works now available
– the area’s regeneration moved into overdrive. The historic King’s Cross Station itself
received a major renovation, while an impressive expansion in 2012 brought it up to the same
standard as its newly completed neighbour. Concurrently, restoration of a number of historic
buildings and the creation of several new public spaces began with the Central Saint
Martin’s branch of University College of London relocating their campus to the resorted
Granary Square warehouse in 2011. The rejuvenation of Regents Canal and the
newly opened Granary Square further enhanced the appeal of the area – with many cafes, restaurants and public amenities opening through the area. The two Victorian buildings that made-up the
Coal Drops Yard underwent a three year £100 million redevelopment that paid homage to
their heritage while creating a modern and vibrant high-end retail destination which became home to Samsung’s interactive digital playground. While the majority of the former gas holders
that once covered a large portion of the Kings Cross site were removed, three of the Grade
II listed structures were restored and transformed into the remarkable Gasholders residential
complex. The process of retaining and reinventing these
historic facilities required their original structures to be carefully dismantled and
transported to Yorkshire where each section was restored. They were then returned to London
for reassembly on-site. Just as the regeneration of Kings Cross has
been praised for its retention and restoration of historic structures, its commercial components
have set new benchmarks in sustainability and attracted a number of global technology
giants to the area. The district’s northernmost quarter is home
to a number of low-rise commercial buildings with a strong emphasis on human interaction
and community. The eye-catching R7 makes use of terraces,
flexible floor-plates and extensive end of trip facilities to encourage collaboration
and a healthier lifestyle for its occupants. In 2018, Facebook announced that it would
be constructing three buildings totalling 57,000 square metres to create a new London
Headquarters in the area. Sitting at the very heart of Kings Cross,
Pancras Square is surrounded by seven commercial buildings which are now home to the likes
of Google, YouTube, Havas and Universal Music – global brands attracted by the area’s
six underground tube lines, two mainline stations and high-speed international rail service. Currently emerging between Pancras Square
and Kings Cross Station, is Google’s first wholly-owned and designed building outside
of the United States. Longer than the Shard is tall, work on the
£1 billion “groundscraper” commenced in 2018. Once operational, the building will
bring the total number of Google and YouTube employees in the district to over 7,000 and
act as the tech giant’s headquarters in the UK. First growing into a major industrial hub
as a result of transportation links established in the 19th Century, Kings Cross is now being
reborn as 21st Century transport connections have been created and with Britain’s High
Speed 2 terminal currently under construction just a short distance away at Euston Station
– the ongoing revival and future of this formerly underutilised part of London looks set to
continue well into the future. An inspiring new chapter, in the rich tapestry
of this historic and ever-evolving city. If you enjoyed this video and would like to get more from the definitive video channel for construction, subscribe to The B1M.

100 comments

  1. The best thing about these renovation projects is that they retain so much of the original architecture and blend it seamlessly with the new, so future generations will still be able to look upon these buildings and see how they originally appeared without sacrificing the utility and design of modern architecture.

  2. King cross is amazing makes you not wanting to go back to the Eurostar;) a model to investigate for Paris Nord and Brussels midi stations precincts

  3. Many fond memories working on CTRL 103 2001 to 2006 in the infrastructure that has helped to enable the transformation great video as always B1M keep up the great work

  4. "For over two thousand years, London has thrived". Soon to collapse after Brexit. Oh well, I guess all good things must come to an end eventually. RIP London.

  5. Excellent video, but as usual St. Pancras is reduced to little more than a mention. I would have preferred the area to be generically known as 'Battlebridge'.

  6. ive worked around there, there are some really stupid projects and some pointless expenditure that doesnt add anything at all. The kings cross development on the station was funded by the public and the granary square area is quite nice but a really poor use of space. I love some of it but its all high end stupidly expensive and the gas holders rest complex is really poor. The office blocks are typical corporate monsters. London thrives at the expense of the rest often country, this is a good example of that. This film is just a series of string of marketing buzzwords, very disappointing

  7. I don’t know why I got emotional watching this.. I’m not even from London! But I literraly shed a tear.. ?

  8. Do they still have those lovely small hotels nearby with the pretty Red Lights?
    I think it used to be a Government or Local Council edict that hotels round there had to display a Red Light.
    I,also, noticed the ladies round there used to be very friendly,often approaching complete strangers if they were Male….

  9. Lovely Video.
    You could never see London in one lifetime. I am 65 and have tried but there are over 100,000 official places of interest and it seems to go on forever. North/South/East/West/Central/The City/The Docklands/The London Suburbs ( where I moved to like most indigenous Londoners in 1983) and I still miss the heart of Inner London every day. In fact I am returning today but I am only 1/2 mile from a London postal district in an Outer London Borough. There are 33 Boroughs….

  10. theb1m really have great videos, if someone want to learn how to make such architectural building learn software visit us.

  11. Great. I live in Kx, near the stations. Much of this is true, and to be celebrated. However, you don't mention the more problematic aspects: gentrification means shops and housing are too highly priced for many people. Public space has also been lost. A smallish number of people have done very well out of all this – but many have not. So it's a mixed picture.

  12. Central Saint Martins isn't part of UCL (University College of London) but UAL (University of Arts London)

  13. Trash rebuild as Trash. However how many security and surveillance cameras are in there? to see the demise of the industrial revolution

  14. As a born and bred Islingtonian, who's now retired in Thailand, I find this transformation amazing. If I went there now I wouldn't know where I was, it all looks so different.

  15. Whatever happened to Bagley's nightclub in the old Goods Yard depot? Many a night I spent raving there back in the late 90's enjoying Ecstasy and the throbbing club music.
    Ahhh such Bliss.

  16. its university of the arts london (ual) who opened central st martins, not university college london(ucl)!

  17. My word I have seen some changes to the place. Red light zone, banging night clubs and after parties.i worked at a company in the area for sometime.great happy times.So many good memories.very nostalgic.I no longer live in London.i visited the area a few years ago for the luminar festival.love what they've done with the place.but it's still very much apart of my history and life.i remember exactly how it's was from the 80's,90's.00's & the 10's I loved this video.thank you.

  18. Wow this is an amazing video, wish it was available when I was visiting the area back in early April, but appreciate you making this video, it helps us understand all the new and rehabbed buildings. London is an amazing place to visit

  19. Sad that the cockneys have been wiped out. Native Londoners such as my grandparents completely wiped out, replaced with generic white gentrification agents and influxes of immigrants. Now all that remains are a few in essex and some failing pie and mash businesses. London has no culture. Sad.

  20. 2:26 No way, they had Doubel Decker Buses with Electric Rail! How modern was that! —– I remember 1987 was a big fire in the Underground Station Kings Cross, many People (31) died. The old wooden escalator gets on fire cause a cigarete was fallen between the stairs and the oily dust in the escalator get fire. Whole Europe was shocked. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/King%27s_Cross_fire

  21. Cultures just been wiped away, now that little area between the stations looks nice but the areas directly around it are obviously still the same as they have been for decades, they act as if they're doing the people who live there a favor. Just big, shiny buildings and then theres those insignificant (probably overpriced) shops that those who live directly next to the development in Barnsbury or somers town cannot benefit from. They could least make it genuinely useful for the people who permanently live there, not just for tourists and workers who've moved from surrey or whatever cos they like the idea of big, shiny buildings.

  22. Today London is only 200 yrs old. London looks exhausted when compared with Rome and Vince history so they make up that "it's been thriving for 2000 yrs" what a joke ?

    BTW, The video is about investment promotion for this abandoned part of London. London is dying nobody wants to live there anymore only a 2-day visit is enough ?

  23. Kings Cross is indicative of everything wrong with redevelopment in London. It is completely soulless, lacking in originality and inaccessible to the communities that live nearby. Traditionally the area was a hotbed for homelessness, drug abuse and prostitution, these social problems haven't gone away with the redevelopment, they just sit uneasily on the shiny new surface, or – worse still – have been pushed onto undeveloped housing estates in surrounding areas like Camley Street and Somers Town. I can't help but think something could have been done to benefit local people, or at least support local culture. Instead every effort was made to lure in big corporate money, often at the detriment of these communities nearby. The big businesses don't give a shit now they're in there either, the likes of Google and Youtube offering not so much as an apprenticeship programme for local kids. The result is a massively increased cost of living and driving these communities into poverty, and eventually out of the city – it also has the side effect of reducing the perception of fair opportunity, a trigger for youths turning to crime. The way things are going in London, with the flood of corporate money and the corruption that comes with it, zones one and two will end up as big business Disneyland, attracting only commuters and tourists and ending up like Canary Wharf on outside of office hours. If you think that's something to be pleased about, think again.

  24. WTF is this Rainbow theme every corporate is following? Wtf does LGBT has to do with building(BIM) or gaming(Xbox & Playstation)?

  25. Great video and production with amazing story.
    If you don't mind I will use some of the scenes to show to the people at the reception of a small hotel in Kings Cross how Kings Cross is and was.
    Thank you and once again great job.

  26. I find you videos interesting but lacking in critical engagement. Have you ever thought about addressing some of the social concerns/negative effects of some of these projects?

  27. I always have my snood pulled up to my nose,, way 2 much facial recognition about for my liking.. not sure why it's needed

  28. The revitalization to this area is amazing it's just a shame that this video ignores the fact that house prices in this area are now so unattainable that people such as myself who have lived in the area my whole life in fact the same street are being forced to move out because of it. Once a very undesirable place to live that I've always loved and has always been my home now it's the new 'it spot' where every hipster and their uncle wants to be. It's a shame in a few years time it will be devoid of its soul and the real Kings cross residents are a distant memory.

  29. It all looks lovely and fluffy on video but I was there a few months ago and the area is choked by noise and air pollution. Would not want to live in the center of London.

  30. The transformation is pretty impressive. To think that barely twenty years ago it didn't look anything like this and had a reputation for being 'sleazy'. Indeed Kings X was London's other 'Red Light' district (Soho being the area most associated as being such). Kings X is now an area people (Londoners and Tourists alike) visit, other than to catch a train. The idea of spending time in the area (outside the station) was unthinkable until fairly recently. it wasn't on the tourist trail – accept for the station for going to other parts of the UK. Other than this it was an area you wanted to get out of as quickly as possible. Incredible how its changed since 2000!

  31. Kings X is an example of how modern development can make an area better. It's how to 'do' development. Contrast this with Vauxhall, which is how 'NOT' to do development. Kings X is pleasant now, has a new character and vibe, and is somewhere you want to spend time in. Vauxhall is awful, and has been made worse by all the ghastly tall office buildings. The new Vauxhall has none of the charm or pull of the new Kings X.

  32. Yeah, it all looks lovely, but none of the locals could afford to buy any of the properties and they have a huge problem with mice…

  33. Interestingly, I acted for the owners (National Freight Corporation (NFC)) of both the Camden Goods Yard and their Kings Cross lands through the very start of the town planning process. Camden Goods Yard had already had commercial interest in its redevelopment but needed some commercial reality put into the heads of Camden Council’s ultra socialist members and officers – example, I attended an Area Forum where the officer welcomed local residents as “comrades”. The Council was in the early 1980’s finalising its then Local Plan and at its Examination before a Government Inspector we made some headway against the Council’s hugely anti-market approach – it wanted primarily to reuse most of both sites for traditional industrial employment! At the very end of my public submissions my client suggested I say something about the Kings Cross Goods Yard lands – as there was logic in using the soundness of an external Government Inspector to establish a policy basis with some commercial common sense in it. The Kings Cross lands were then recognised as having realistic potential to come forward through the planning process with more appropriate uses – but like a lot of schemes of this scale and where there is no Development Corporation rather endless rounds of public participation, it takes decades for anything meaningful to come out of the ground. I am therefore pleased, as a still practising town planning consultant, that 35+ years later I helped to get the ball rolling here. Martin Robeson now principal of MRPP.

  34. Kings Cross is being gentrified. It's growing beautifully and I ❤ St. Pancras station, the convenience & efficiency of it. But I can see that soon the surrounding neighborhoods will have a big gentrification problem & Londoners in that area are already complaining about the rising cost of housing becoming increasingly unaffordable for even smaller units (flats) in the area. And small businesses that have been there for years, outside of certain restaurants, are closing with signs for renting posted. I walked Kings Cross Rd and I could see that businesses about 3 or 4 blocks out away from the stations, businesses were closed up for good with about 2/3 small (local) businesses on that street being open. Euston Rd. is more so bustling, thriving & is where all the interesting new (modern) development & businesses (cafes/restaurants, tech, etc) are popping up. But I don't think it's wise to force the locals to the very outskirts of the area b/c then it becomes another bland area simply catering to tech & tourists, much like parts of CA & NYC. When I travel, I like to see how people live, their culture, their communities, their music, their art & overall way of life. In certain areas in (& around) Kings Cross, you can find this if you know where to go but overall the bigger picture outside of all this new development & "growth" is being missed…and that's the people who have always lived/worked around the area.

  35. I was there 29 yrs ago and wish that I documented the area more back then to see how much it has since. Nice to see the changes

  36. It might look better but it’s all foreign owned, our corrupt politicians have sold our country and all its infrastructure off to the highest bidder, we don’t even own our own ports of entry anymore, it’s like a lot of cities in England, inhabited by foreigners owned by different foreigners while the natives and their kids have to pay it all back in taxes and interest payments all whilst having to endure their hometowns become foreign, and the trains are still not on time

  37. There was a great deal of prostitution at this location, and although this instructive YouTube post is full of wonderful detail, it would have been a more rounded report to have included the iconic socio economic trade depressively scaring and poisoning the area.

    No prizes for guessing how alienated this creatively aspiring writer has so intentionally become.

    Kind regards
    LM

    God bless

  38. It's been reborn BIG TIME, for a very long time it was known as a very seedy area where you could get absolutely anything you wanted for the right price. They forgot to mention the Harry Potter platform on 9 3/4. ? Wink ?

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