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Saturday, June 15, 2013

Goodbye King's Cross and St. Pancras

"Life is like riding a bicycle. To keep your balance, you must keep moving." ~Albert Einstein

The Filling Station on Regent's Canal
© John Sturrock
   I know it seems hard to believe given the length of the King's Cross posts but we experienced it all in 24 hours! Yet there is still more to do and see so as Les said in a previous post, "ve vill be back!"
   Next time we hope to have dinner at the Filling Station--a refurbished 1960's petrol station perched on the edge of the Regents Canal on Goods Way which has been turned into a restaurant called Shrimpys.
   We just missed the partnership with Everyman cinemas in which The Filling Station hosted a one month festival of the best road trip movies. One could book tickets for £16.50 each and watch classics like The Graduate, Bonnie and Clyde, and Easy Rider while feasting on American hotdogs, hamburgers, beer, wine and cocktails. 
   We will also visit The Foundling Museum, founded by captain Thomas Coram, artist William Hogarth, and musician Frederic Handel to care for Britain's abandoned children, and The Museum of Freemasonry--both a part of Museum Mile which starts in Kings Cross. Of course we will stop first at Kings Cross Visitors Centre to find out What's On!
A- Battle Bridge Basin/London Canal Museum; *King's Cross Mooring; B- The Filling Station Diner; C- The The living Wall; D- Camley St. Park; E- St. Pancras Cruising Club/St. Pancras Lock; F- Old st.Pancras Church/Garden. Map courtesy of the Visitors Centre.
Free tote bags, notebooks, maps and information booklets from the King's Cross Visitors Centre.
Looking back at our King's Cross mooring, right. The Filling Station diner is up past the bridge out of view on the right. The Granary building steps are just at the left.
NB Valerie approaching the Fish and Coal Offices on the right and Camley St. Park on the left. Around the curve is St. Pancras lock.
Looking left as we cruise up to the lock: these steps wend up between the wall of Camley St. Park on the left, and St. Pancras Cruising Club parking and mooring on the right. In the back ground is the brick water tower and the St. Pancras Station railway bridge and just beyond is the Old Church and gardens.
Looking back at the cranes over King's Cross and St. as we come up ST. Pancras lock.
The old St. Pancras lock keeper's cottage built in 1890. 
St. Pancras Cruising Club--the sight of a former coal and ash basin for the railway, it is the oldest leisure boating facility in London.

BATTLE BRIDGE BECOMES KING'S CROSS
    I have been a fan of Queen Boudicca for years. She who fought savagely against the Romans in an attempt to drive them from the Island. This was her response when, upon her husband Pasutagus' death, Rome refused to acknowledge her daughters' rights to the kingdom of the Iceni (near Norfolk) as stated in their father's will. For her refusal to hand over the kingdom to the Romans, Boudicca was flogged and her daughters were raped. She responded by driving the Romans father into retreat than anyone had previously managed. Eventually she did lose. Two stories are told by the Romans of that outcome: one says she was killed in the battle by the Romans; the other is that Boudicca killed herself rather than become a Roman prisoner.
   Battle Bridge Basin is thought to be named in honor of a tactical battle which took place in 61 ACE at a bridge nearby which crossed the river Fleet. The combatants were Roman troops under General Caius Seutonius Paulinus--against Boudicca and her warriors. Conversely it is said Battle Bridge is a corruption of Broad Ford Bridge which crossed the Fleet near St. Chads...take your pick. I know which story I like best!
   In the 1830's in an attempt to spruce up the area a monument to King George IV was erected at the crossroads of Greys Inn Road, Pentonville Road, New Road which later became Euston Road, and Maiden Lane. The monument was sixty feet high--a strange shaped building with a statue of the king atop it, smack in the middle of the intersection! At various times it housed a police station and eventually a beer shop! The object of continued derision, it was eventually demolished piece meal in the 1860's. By then the are became known as "King's Cross" and the name stuck!
   The City of London, the City of Westminster, and Greater London which encompasses all the tiny hamlets of old which now lend neighborhoods such names at Notting Hill, Chelsea, Paddington, Camden, Holborn, Gospel Oak, St. Pancras and yes--King's Cross are awash in maizes of old roads, hidden closes (the name for an entry to an enclosed are with no other means of escape), former courtyards, the remnants of old walls, buildings, and bridges--the bric-a-brac of countless other eras all laid down by their long gone inhabitants--waiting for the likes of you and me to wander by with our curiosity in tow.

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