St Pancras

Case Study

Sir John Betjeman campaigned to save St Pancras station from demolition in the sixties stating that it would be a criminal folly to destroy a building whose name conjured up wondrous images of architecture and light in the mind of every Londoner. His campaign was successful, but it was to be decades before the station was restored to its former glory.

The original station platform clock hanging above the platform was sold to an American collector for £250,000. In taking it down it was dropped and smashed into thousands of pieces. The pieces of the clock were sold for £25 to Roland Hoggard, a retiring train driver.

Which is where the story of the new clock begins. Dent was commissioned to build the new station platform clock and were tasked with tracking down the original so that as many of the original features could be preserved. We went to see Mr. Hoggard and, with his blessing, took moulds of the pieces original chapter ring. Samples of the slate (used in the numerals) were sent off to be tested in order to identify the quarry of origin. Using modern techniques and material, whilst staying entirely sympathetic and faithful to the architectural environment, Dent completed and installed the clock using new slate numerals, and 18 foot diameter dial, 23 carat gold leafing and paint and mouldings specially created to match the original; and it now sits within some 60 million new bricks, 18,000 new panes of self-cleaning glass, 300,000 new slate tiles.

The £800 million refurbishment completed St. Pancras International was opened by Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth II in November 2007, and caters for 50 million passengers a year, making it one of the busiest in Europe.