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We continue yet further along the original part of the Underground, and arrive at Euston Square. And fairly unremarkable station, built in 1863 as “Gower Street”, and then changed in 1909 to Euston Square, and it had a new entrance in 2006, and all looks deeply modern these days;
though it looked rather nice in the 1950s:
New St. Pancras
We now come to St. Pancras New Church, generally known as New St. Pancras, for obvious reasons. It is the Parish Church of the area. It is best described as “really rather fine”, and Betjeman gives it almost a whole column, and is positively fulsome in his praise (there is even a plate in the book):
(St Pancras, New Church)
By W. And H. W. Inwood, 1819-22. The most expensive and the best of all English Greek Revival churches. Outside it is of Portland stone, with portico, steeple, apse and two square projections at the E. end, that on the N. containing an elegant oval vestry and surrounded on the outside with caryatids. The portico is Ionic and the steeple an adaptation “free and astonishingly successful” (Summerson) of the Tower of the Winds. Rich Greek detail from the Erectheum adorns the outside and is in terra-cotta. At the W. end there are three impressive entrance lobbies, two for gallery staircases, and that in the middle an attractive Doric octagon under the tower. The interior is a vast flat-ceilinged hall, terminated by an Ionic apse and surrounded on three sides by galleries supported on columns decorated with lotus leaves. Even though lately re-decorated, the church is needlessly dark because of Victorian stained glass introduced to dispel the “Pagan” effect, as it was thought in those days, of the Greek detail. It is worth turning on the lights to see the detail of the mahogany pulpit, oak pews, and original altar now in Lady Chapel.
We also quite like the tabernacle, which is distinctly pagan.
The reading room of the British museum, and an utterly amazing place. It became separate from the museum in 1973, and in 1997, having left its famous circular reading room, it was in its own custom built premises, where it remains to this day. Do go and have a look at their website.
It is the largest building of the 20th century, and, of course, a copy of every single book posted in the UK & Ireland is sent there. It also boasts some of the finest literary and historic papers known to man, such as the Magna Carta, Da Vinci’s notebook and the Lindisfarne Gospels.