What was King’s Cross called before that and why?
The name ‘King’s Cross’ has been used for a very long time to refer to both stations. King’s Cross got its name from a statue of King George IV erected at the crossroads outside the train station. The monument was short-lived however as only 9 years after it had been erected it was demolished. Habits are hard to break and so it’s no surprise that the area of King’s Cross retained the name.
The Railways came to London in the late 1830s. The first railway line was Greenwich to London Bridge, even though the line opened whilst incomplete making Spa Road Station London’s first railway terminus. Hear more about London’s first Railways terminus in our London History podcast.
Kings Cross was built to accommodate The Great Northern Railway which came to London in 1850. It opened with a temporary wooden terminus at York Way (then known as Maiden Lane). A ten acre site was earmarked for development. In the process of redeveloping the area, flattening a smallpox and fever hospital.
Queen Boudicca at King’s Cross
The legendary Iceni Queen Boudicca is said to have fought her final battle against Roman invaders at where King’s Cross Station is now. Back then, the area was called Broad Ford, the designated place to cross the river Fleet. According to London legend the area became known as Battle Bridge, following Boudicca’s defeat. There are stories that her final resting place is between platforms nine and ten, some suggest that’s where a certain author was inspired by this story and added Platform 9 ¾ into her wizard’s story.
You may not be able to catch the Hogwart’s Express from King’s Cross station but you can get your photo taken with a trolley and Hedwig, if you’re prepared to queue.
The popular King’s Cross area is set for another exciting phase as it too becomes rejuvenated and redesigned in the new century. To explore this renovated neighbourhood, join us on a King’s Cross on walking tour
“Who needs Ibiza when you have Kings Cross!”
Billy Reilly, Nightclub Entrepreneur