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

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