See The Gates To The Euston Arch At National Railway Museum

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See The Gates To The Euston Arch At National Railway Museum
Euston Arch
Image Public Domain

The giant arch at Euston station (above) was demolished in the 1960s, to much anger. But it hasn't entirely vanished. Many of the stones have been recovered from an east London waterway, and there are tentative plans to rebuild the structure. The most impressive survivor, though can be found in the National Railway Museum.

The gates to Euston Arch

These ornate iron gates were saved from destruction, and are now on proud display in the York museum. Alongside, visitors can see another relic from Euston's past. This dedication plaque was for many years on show in the station's Great Hall — another casualty of the 1960s rebuild.

Plaque from Euston station

The Great Hall was a sad loss to London's architecture and character. As the plaque attests, it was unrivalled in scale and, as you can see below, almost palatial in its execution.

Euston Great Hall
Image Public Domain.

Sadly, the structure stood in the way of modernisation, and would have hindered the necessary capacity increases of the 1960s. It was torn down along with the arch. The National Railway Museum holds a number of relics, though, including a freestanding clock, the station bell and the statue of George Stephenson seen in the photo above.

Also above, you might just spot another sculptural group between the columns at the back. This too survives, as the crowning glory of the museum's stupendous shed of railway bric-a-brac:

Britannia Group
The Britannia sculpture, which stood over the door to a meeting room in Euston's Great Hall. Note the pendant 'Platform 9 3/4' sign. JK Rowling has said that she was thinking of Euston when she first dreamt up the Hogwarts Express, so it's amusing to see her plans realised.

Euston station was entirely rebuilt in a more efficient but less inspiring style. The museum contains one of the architectural models, showing the then-bold development, which now feels very tired.

Euston station model

The station is once again being reworked, and the model above is now out of date. The towers to the left (designed by Richard Seifert — the man behind Centre Point and Tower 42), are under demolition as part of the works for HS2 (and a general station revamp). Some of the trees have also been felled to create a temporary taxi rank.

Other London artefacts at the National Railway Museum

If you're visiting the museum (and you should, for it is superb on every level), keep your eye out for other pieces of London. Here are a few we chanced across.

The Borough Junction Signal Box stood above Borough Market for almost 100 years, controlling trains in and out of London Bridge Station. It was said to be the busiest signal box in London. It now superintends the museum's own steam railway.
Cuneo's Waterloo station
A magnificent 1967 painting of Waterloo station by Terence Cuneo.
This model of a third-class Great Eastern carriage has a macabre history. The wood comes from the wreck of the Princess Alice, which sank on the Thames in 1865 with the loss of a staggering 650 people. It is the worst disaster in London's recorded history.
St Pancras isn't the only place in England to see inside a Eurostar train. One of these cabins sits within a concrete ring left over from construction of the Channel Tunnel.
And finally... perhaps the most curious keepsake in the museum — the packaging from the final microwaved burger served on a GNER service, in 1999.

The National Railway Museum is in York, a 5 minute walk from the station. Entrance is free, but donations are encouraged.

Last Updated 17 October 2019

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