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Old May 17th 20, 08:48 PM posted to uk.railway,
Anna Noyd-Dryver Anna Noyd-Dryver is offline
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First recorded activity at LondonBanter: Jan 2015
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Default Kings Cross and Euston

Mark Goodge wrote:
On Sun, 17 May 2020 19:18:13 +0100, Basil Jet

I'm catching up with the rather excellent "The Architecture The Railways
Built" on channel "Yesterday". They mention that Kings Cross was listed
in 1954 as one of the oldest London termini, after Euston. Which kind of
begs the question, why wasn't Euston listed as well? Or was it
demolished in the 1960s despite being already listed? I had previously
been led to believe that the concept of listed buildings only came about
after outrage at the demolition of Euston, but that would appear to be

The first national list of protected buildings was created by the Town
and Country Planning Act 1947. Prior to that, individual local
authorities could, and some did, protect major monuments (eg, the likes
ot Stonehenge, or ancient cathedrals) from modification or removal, but
it was a somewhat haphazard approach.

The reason Kings Cross was listed and Euston wasn't, is that Euston had
already been signficiantly modified internally by then whereas Kings
Cross hadn't. So there wasn't much about Euston station itself which
merited preserving.

The issue at Euston was specifically the arch. That wasn't listed in the
years immediately following the creation of the TCPA, because at the
time it wasn't generally policy to list only part of a whole, and it was
felt that the arch had no significance apart from the rest of the
station - which, in itself, didn't merit listing. And then in the 1960s,
the government decided not to list the arch because they felt that to do
so would impose unreasonable costs on the British Transport Commission's
plans to rebuild the station. The minister who made the final decision
was Ernest Marples, a name which is likely to be familiar to readers in
these parts.

Despite the level of controversy at the time, the demolition of the arch
didn't really prompt any change in listed buildings policy, almost
certainly because the government was entirely complicit in approving the
arch's destruction and had no desire to do anything which might paint
its own actions in a bad light.

What later did trigger a change was the demolition the art deco
Firestone factory in 1980. In this case, it was suspected that the
government ws planning to list it, so the owners demolished it rapidly
(over a bank holiday weekend!) before that could happen. In response to
the public outcry, the government instituted a major resurvey of
buildings to ensure that nothing which merited preservation had been
missed off the original lists. The mid to late 80s saw the largest
number of buildings added to the list, with over 36,000 being added in
1987 alone.

Ob. recent discussion: Steventon Bridge was listed in 1988...

Anna Noyd-Dryver