In the 80’s the grand arches of St. Pancras were almost disused. One of the temples to steam power, St Pancras is a product of the train companies vying with each other to erect the most magnificent terminus. Euston, King’s Cross and St. Pancras all lie within 5mins of each other but arguably the cathedral scale and the elegance of its single–arch roof won this arms race for the Midland Railway company.
After dancing into the small hours of the morning, Toby and I had developed a taste for climbing buildings to watch the sun rise over the London. Passing the derelict gothic hotel that forms the entrance to St Pancras we decided on a whim to visit the church. Wandering along the edge of the building where the spars of the roof meet the tracks, we reached the end of the platform. Nothing seemed to ask us to stop. A gentle slope in the brickwork led down into the wasteland that had grown up amongst the rubble and sleepers. We brushed our way through the undergrowth, passed an engine standing silently in a siding and after a few minutes reached the wrought ironwork of the Victorian gasometers – looming above us in the half–light.
Climbing on top of a small shed allowed us to jump down over the fence that encircled the collection of giant gas tanks. We choose the grandest of the bunch and a series of iron ladders led us slowly up one its legs. A few minutes later we reached the top and clambered onto the iron capital. From the street these look a small decorative flourish but 8 stories up the square platform was the size of small living room. We sat and watched as the rows of street lamps slowly winked off across London – from Kentish Town in the north to Elephant and Castle in the south.
Climbing back out of the complex we must have tripped an unseen alarm. The rest of the night we spent in a cell of the Holborn Police Station.