Arise, Poor Doric: Euston Arch Stones Recovered

Dean Nicholas
By Dean Nicholas Last edited 124 months ago
Arise, Poor Doric: Euston Arch Stones Recovered

1805_euston.jpg Alongside the Routemaster, the Crystal Palace, and basic civil manners, the Grecian arch at Euston is among the most lamented of London's lost landmarks. The popular propylaeum, which was destroyed in a fit of Sixties planning madness that nearly claimed St Pancras station as well, is the subject of a long-running campaign to restore it, a dream that's now a step closer thanks to the recovery of a number of stones which formed part of the original.

The stones were found in the Prescott channel, near Bromley-by-Bow, where they had been used for the undignified job of blocking a hole in the waterbed. In 1994 historian Dan Cruikshank capped a 14-year quest by discovering the stones' location, and they are now being exhumed from their watery grave in order to widen the canal for barges on the 2012 site. British Waterway, which bought the stones in 1962, will hand them over to the Euston Arch trust, which is campaigning for the Doric beauty to be rebuilt using as much of the original material as possible.

Though the Arch's original location is now in the cavernous expanse of Euston's joyless interior (around the end of platform eight, to be precise), the Trust wants the 21st century version erected inbetween the two lodges that stand beside the adjacent bus station. As the Trust themselves note, a restored Arch could provide a "focal point" for the station's 2012 re-development, and could even be used to house a restaurant or bar, much like the one that used to operate from the west lodge. Given that pubs in the area are patchy at best, it's a fine idea, and would surely have been favoured by the Arch's most famous cheerleader, noted imbiber John Betjeman, who once wrote of "glimpsing the green hills of Hampstead" through its "fluted columns". You'd need to down a few amber-hued fluted columns to see those hills today.

Last Updated 18 May 2009