Our much feted and stylish monarch opened the all-new and yet all-old St. Pancras terminal today after a 10 year revamp (of the station that is, not the Queen). The station is (as of next week) to be home to Eurostar after a 5.8 billion pound upgrade of the railway line between London and the coast (which now means trains can actually go as fast as they do on French soil instead of going shstikoff-shstikoff-shstikoff-all-the-way-home).
This evening’s ceremony saw an unusually hatless Queen resplendent in plum beaming as she greeted the drivers of three trains which arrived at the station, this along with much camera-flashing and hip-hoorahing. Londonist would dare to venture that a deal of champagne was quaffed at the new record-breaking bubbly bar as well.
The edifice was at one time so unpopular that it was almost demolished. This Londonista must admit to finding it the stuff of nightmares when she was a child…but that was partly because it was by then derelict. Anyway, a love of gothic architecture, like Gilbert and Sullivan and parsnips, grows on you with age. It was preserved for the nation largely due to a campaign led by Sir John Betjeman (who is honoured with a statue in the revamped building) and the Victorian Society.
Londonist finds all of this stuff jolly exciting – a coming together of royalty, history, glorious architecture and technology, shaken up in that special cocktail of pomp and ceremony that London does best.
Let’s just hope the trains run on time.
St. Pancratic picture courtesy of digital johnny’s flickr stream