Euston Arch: forward to the past with High Speed 2?

Euston Arch: forward to the past with High Speed 2?

News that Lendlease will be appointed by the government and Network Rail as “master developer partner” for the rebuilding of Euston station and its environs to accommodate the High Speed 2 rail link – HS2, if we’re being familiar – prompted a rummage through the You Tube archives. A previous reconstruction of the station involved one of the most resented demolitions in the capital’s history. The Euston Arch was not really an arch at all, but a Doric gateway to the station built by Philip Hardwick in 1837 and knocked down at the insistence of modernising Conservative Prime Minister Harold Macmillan, starting from the end of 1961.

A campaign to recover and restore the Arch has been going on pretty much ever since, and in 1994 historian Dan Cruickshank discovered that more than half of the stone from which it had been made had been buried in the bed of the River Lea, not far from what is now the Olympic Park. He’d already found some other bits of it in the back garden of the contractor who’d levelled it. Here are some pieces of BBC documentary coverage of the search for the Arch’s remains. The first is from 1993.

The second is from the following year, after a British Waterways engineer remembered something important:

And the third is about the quest to salvage the Arch and put it back together again.

And now there is serious talk of it rising again, close to its original site. Forward to the past with High Speed 2?

Read more about the Euston Arch from London Historians.

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Categories: Culture


  1. Robyn Dalby-Stockwell says:

    Will we ever get Euston Arch back again? There has been so much written about it, but the will to proceed seems to be missing.

  2. Neil Franklin says:

    This should be a part of this project it may go part way to helping public acceptance of the new line, and certainly be a fitting terminus, not only from birmingham but the connections further north.

  3. Phil C says:

    The present soulless; concrete 1960s structure which is Euston Station, is thankfully in the process of being redeveloped in order to provide a suitable 21st century terminus for HS2. It would be folly to overlook this opportunity to reconstruct the Euston Arch (especially as the majority of its stonework is known to still exist), and provide the new ‘Euston’ with a dramatic; landmark entrance, directly on Euston Road.

    The redevelopments of both King’s Cross and St Pancras stations, demonstrate how modern design and contemporary materials, can be combined sympathetically with restored historical structures, the results of which are much admired by the wider public.

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