Focus on a rejuvenated King's Cross
Photos and words by Cliff Edwards
King of destinations
London King's Cross was somewhere most who arrived at its famous old station quickly fled from, writes Cliff Edwards.
Disappearing as swiftly as possible into the sardine packed tube system or being whisked away from that dull old concourse by bus or cab.
All that’s changed. The area, derelict and dying, decaying and dehumanising through the latter decades of the last century and into this, is transformed.
English Heritage, none other, agrees that King’s Cross is “a model of constructive conservation that captures the special quality of London as it has grown over the centuries.”
So, a polite suggestion…
Instead of gathering yourself to brave the big bad city the second you step from your train at the great London twin terminuses of King’s Cross or St Pancras, stop.
There will always be those rushing headlong to the bright lights and famous sights, but if you forgo the confines of the tube, particularly in these covid days, and shimmy past the day trippers not in the know, you will find, within the distance of a short walk, something new-built in the old.
A development that launched not long before the first lockdowns, a mix of the old where once they dropped off the coal for the steam trains.
Underneath the arches, it’s no longer tired out and worn.
Underneath the arches of Coal Drops Yard, there are exquisite shops, such as Tom Dixon, which genteely decants the browser from one room to the next, past gorgeous tabletop glassware, through lighting, home office, dining and soft furnishings.
You don’t have to be well heeled to shop there. But it helps. And if you go along the way to Joseph Cheaney’s award winning store, they do well heeled very well. You can get shod with very fine indeed shoes of classic heritage and contemporary design.
While you consider these handcrafted leather luxuries, along the way is Fred Perry – the iconic laurel, still edgy after all these years. Edgy never goes out of style.
And from the classic clad to the avant-garde, with Cos in its own easy space. No rows of racks here. The pretty apparel is placed like an installation in Tate Modern among paintings, sculptures, ceramics and digital art.
Outside, a classic vintage clothing and car boot sale attracted a fine mix of slim North London dandies, strutting and indeed dancing between the showers, as well as tourists such as vintage loving bon viveurs Helen McIntosh and Emily Hale, who’d come across like 50s film stars, from Chichester for a daytrip.
Helen says of The old coal yards: “I love it. I love how bright it is and how colourful it is.
“It seems to have so much culture and so many people from all different walks of life all in the same space.
“It’s kind of little known in London. Someone from work told me about it and I’m just thankful for him forever. I’m having an absolutely fantastic day.”
Stallholder Hanna Clements’ 1963 Chevy Corvette and rails of ’50s frocks had earlier caught their eye.
“I’m selling all my own vintage clothes that I’ve collected over the years,” says Hannah.
“I’ve always managed to make a little bit of money here. It’s always a really good, fun day. People come from around London, mainly. Not too many from around the country just yet.”
North Easterner Simon Brown travels from Northumberland each week to stand inside his House of Cans and has noticed more tourists and day trippers coming from the country.
Canny Simon says: “King’s Cross did have a bit of a reputation. People who knew London wouldn’t equate King’s Cross with destination shopping, eating and drinking, which is what we’re now seeing.
“I think, perversely, lockdown itself has kind of put it on the map as it’s offered an open space for people to meet and socialise safely whilst there were restrictions in place.
“There’s some brilliant brands here. I think it was always going to be a success.”
To see what's going on in King's Cross click on the link below:
What's going on around King's Cross
Here’s what’s going on around King’s Cross area ...
28/08/2021 - 29/08/2021
Discover London’s brightest up-and-coming designers at this new monthly market.London Design Festival
18/09/2021 - 26/09/2021
London Design Festival is back with King’s Cross is a dedicated Design District.
The festival sees some of the biggest names showcased.Canopy Market
Fridays, Saturdays & Sundays
Canopy Market is back at West Handyside Canopy.
Browse the stalls in the great outdoors.
Lower Stable Street Market
Classic Car Boot Sale
09/10 - 10/10
Such was the success of the recent launch event, King’s Cross classic car boot sale returns.
Saturdays & Sundays
Lower Stable Street’s outdoor market is now on every weekend.
The Silk Road: A Living History
See the outdoor photography exhibition - The Silk Road at Lewis Cubitt Square.
Making Paradise Exhibition
See this major new exhibition exploring the concept of the Garden of Eden at the Aga Khan Centre.
Free Bike MOT with Dr Bike
Dr Bike is back!
Get your bike ready to roll with free monthly MOTs To keep you pedalling strong, all cyclists are offered free monthly check-ups.
10new public parksand squares
26acres of open space
42,000people by 2022
Where to stay and where to eat on London break
WHERE TO EAT
VINOTECA KING’S CROSS, ONE PANCRAS SQUARE, LONDON, N1C 4AG
A wide-ranging food menu, drawing influence from across the Mediterranean and beyond, using exceptional British produce.
Dishoom 5 STABLE STREET, KING’S CROSS, LONDON N1C 4AB
The eatery pays homage to the Irani cafés that were once part of everyday life in Bombay. Beautiful food. Decor-wise, there’s plenty to get excited about.Sons & Daughters
UNIT 119A, LOWER STABLE STREET, COAL DROPS YARD
The latest venture from the team behind award-winning East London restaurant Pidgin.
Don’t miss ...
House of Cans
UNIT 116, LOWER STABLE ST, COAL DROPS YARD, KING’S CROSS, LONDON N1C 4DR
An off license and bar which carries one of London’s most considered selections of craft beer, and a premium selection of soft drinks.
Ice Cream at Ruby Violet
MIDLAND GOODS SHED, 3 WHARF ROAD
Weird and wonderful, yet completely delicious flavours.,
Where to Shop
Shopping at King’s Cross and Coal Drops Yard.
Coal Drops Yard hosts a unique mix of global and independent brands. Discover some of the world’s most exciting fashion, lifestyle, beauty and homeware stores in an extraordinary canal-side setting.
3-10 BAGLEYS WALK ARCHES, COAL DROPS YARD
Self-taught designer Tom Dixon’s gorgeous canalside interiors shop and gallery is also home to a restaurant and design studio.
Joseph Cheaney & Sons
UNIT 33, COAL DROPS YARD
Handcrafted luxury footwear. Heritage designs and contemporary styles.
COSUNIT 3, COAL DROPS YARD
In this space, the brand celebrates the art and design that has always inspired its clothes.
UNIT 75, THE VIADUCT, COAL DROPS YARD,
Utility clothing brand in 1952.
Where to Stay
Great Northern Hotel,
Pancras Road, Refurbished beautiful hotel, right next to King’s Cross Station.