What's That Spaceship Sculpture Hanging From The Ceiling At St Pancras Station?

Will Noble
By Will Noble Last edited 18 months ago

Last Updated 08 November 2022

What's That Spaceship Sculpture Hanging From The Ceiling At St Pancras Station?
The sculpture hanging from the ceiling in the station
HMS Alice Liddell is the latest piece of contemporary art to brighten up St Pancras station.

Not content with being one of the world's most glorious train stations, St Pancras has stealthily become an art gallery — a kind of contemporary Musée d'Orsay, except keep the trains running.

Now, joining Paul Day's controversial (but, be honest, you love it really) sculpture of two smooching giants, and Tracey Emin's I 'Want My Time With You' neon, comes a sculpture from artist Shezad Dawood.

Head to 'The Circle' (the area towards the north of the station where old architecture meets new), and gaze up. The sci-fi-steampunk-gothic spacecraft looks like what happens when you get your George Gilbert Scott and X-wing starfighter Airfix kits mixed up.

In fact, it's HMS Alice Liddell, a cosmic sculpture, and psychedelic paean to the magic of travel.

The artist poses with his creation.

HMS Alice Liddell really is a dizzying melting pot of ideas, and takes its name from the real life inspiration for the Alice in Wonderland books, Alice Liddell, described by the artist as the "proto-science fiction heroine who explored the quantum possibilities of multiple, but connected realities and universes."

I mean, the trains here will connect you with the reality of Leicester, or Paris if you're lucky — but we're happy to follow Dawood's fertile imagination down the rabbithole, so long as he admits there's also a touch of Star Wars going on here (idea for a name change: Eurostar Wars.)

Let's allow the artist — who grew up around King's Cross — to explain HMS Alice Liddell further:

St Pancras is such a nexus and a meeting point for so many communities in London and beyond... I wanted the work to speak to both St Pancras's history and also to its dynamic future. It's important to celebrate London’s diversity and big heart, and I hope this project, with its meeting of past and future, allows us all to imagine alternative pathways, and how we might collectively work together to travel in new directions.

A close up of the sculpture, honing in on the gothic elements
We're calling it Eurostar Wars.

This is a properly playful installation — sure to get passengers pointing to the skies, and kids grinning — especially as it's lacquered with a polychromatic finish, lending it an extra layer of psychedelic chutzpah.

Plus (because it's the 21st century), there's an AR add-on, where you scan a QR code to unlock various visuals, music and podcasts on your phone, allowing you, so we are told, to embark "on literal and metaphorical journeys, moving through the past and into a kaleidoscopic future."

Just try not to bump into people coming out of Starbucks.