Directly opposite the newly regenerated Kings Cross station, a long-forgotten and neglected building that had almost melted from the consciousness of passing traffic and pedestrians alike is slowly emerging from its shrouds, sparkling clean with a stunning new stepped vaulted zinc roof and beautifully restored brickwork all topped off with the refurbished Lighthouse.

 

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In a former era the building provided a street entrance to the Underground, a parade of small independent shops and at one time Netten’s Oyster Bar. Urban myth suggests that the Lighthouse perched atop was an novel advert for the oyster bar below although some believe that the Lighthouse preceded this. In fact there is no evidence to support any of the theories regarding its purpose; I think it would be rather lovely if it was indeed just an architectural folly…

 

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Kings Cross & St Pancras has been transformed over the last two decades from an industrial wasteland and red-light district into a gateway to Europe, home to the new British Library, the Granary Buildings now accommodate Central St Martins (University of Arts London), even some of the former the gasholders are being converted into luxury flats and the refurbishment of the Lighthouse Building completes the re-imagining of the Regents Quarter.

 

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There can be little doubt as to the aesthetic and economic benefits that transformation has brought to the area, but there is a small part of me that mourns the loss of character, the edginess and excitement of Kings Cross of the late ’80s…