The new Coal Drops Yard opens this week! Despite it being a historic site originally built in the 1850s its very hard to find any old pictures – clearly it was a sort of exclusive area being a heavily industrial area for the purposes of railway storage and transshipment purposes. In fact the entire King’s Cross goods depot was walled off mostly and apart from rail and coal workers, few had access to the site, thus old pictures are quite hard to come by.
The industrial archaeology of the former King’s Cross Goods Depot site is most fascinating and I think it is time justice was done to the site’s history. This is an attempt to illustrate the site before its huge makeover – using Twitter, Pinterest and other sources to embed pictures – plus some of my own photos which have proved to be very popular viewing and which were originally shown here. We start with the more recent pictures.
However, first here’s a glimpse at the publicity for the new exhibition due to start this Thursday 25th October at the King’s Cross Visitor Centre. This covers the history of the Coal Drops Yard, its no huge show but it will be of interest so please do have a look if you are in the area.
Leaflet cover for the Coal Drops Yards exhibition at King’s Cross Visitor Centre
A peep inside the leaflet for the exhibition! There’s a link to some history essays.
Okay let’s take a look at the images I sourced for this brief foray into the history of the Coal Drops Yard…
The decorative supports underneath the west side canopy. These have been removed. Source: Pinterest
Detail of one of the supports of the later cast iron viaduct. Source: Pinterest
Interesting perspective of the east side warehouse showing columns and cast iron lintel. Source: Pinterest
Beneath the east side warehouses. Note the winding gear. Source: Pinterest
The east side warehouses alongside what is now Stable Street. Source: E-architect
Another view beneath the east side warehouses. An interesting collection of hydraulic winches, controls. Source: E-architect
Former loading bays within the east side warehouse. See the next picture for comparison. Source: Fashion Network
Nice shot of the iron columns. This view shows basically what the cellars looked like in the other direction to the previous picture. Its not the same exact location but its still within the east side warehouses. Source: Plowman Craven
The yard beneath the cast iron viaduct being used for fashion shows. Source: World Architecture
Great view looking south along the viaducts, even though the main central one is now demolished. Source: Plowman Craven
Nice view of the east side warehouses showing the cast iron columns with their distinctive diamond lintels. Source: Flickr
Some aerial pictures showing how the yard has changed and what has been taken away. These are 2012-2014.
King’s Cross Goods Yard in 2012. Both curved viaducts are present. Source: Glass Konstruct
A different view which shows some of the piers of the central Plimsoll viaduct still remain at this time. Source: Kings Cross
Nice aerial view of the site before any construction work had begun. The Plimsoll viaduct has sadly been removed. Source: Wowlavie
Good view of the upper levels. Although most of the rails have been removed the three viaducts are still extant. Probably 2015/16. Source: Gasholder Note: Gasholder no longer exists however there’s a copy at Internet Archive.
A lovely view showing the lower level beneath the pair of viaducts. The brick section was the original Plimsoll viaduct, the cast iron a later addition circa 1880s. Only the cast iron section has been retained. Source: Metalocus (Note: The page no longer exists as I originally found it. As always I archive any external stuff thus here’s a PDF document of the page in question.)
Interior of the west side warehouses. This will now be space for stores belonging to Barrafina, Outsiders and The Sports Edit. Source: M Fryer
Some even older pictures and a map:
Lovely railway map of the King’s Cross station and yards as they were in 1874. Most of the coal drops are shown. Source: LNER Info
The King’s Cross goods depot (aka Coal Drops Yard) in 1964. Source: Flickr
The King’s Cross Goods Yard (aka CDY warehouses) looking south in 1976. This is the section alongside Stable Street. Source: Gasholder
Note: Gasholder no longer exist plus the page is not archived anywhere on the Internet. However I have a pdf version of the page here.
Update January 2019: After disappearing mysteriously for sometime Gasholder’s website has come back! Thus the original link once again works.
The yard area probably late 1970s/early 1980s. Source: Twitter
Here’s two photos I’ve previously published and have redone in a larger size. These were taken in April 2002.
It’s clear from my photos how much has been taken away. The centre viaduct was the original, the cast iron a later addition.
The west side warehouses. Its decorative supports have been removed. Just six have been kept – compare with the recent picture below.
This week I took pictures of the six supports that have been restored. These are purely decorative.
There are three of these cast iron supports at the southern end (by Barrafina’s shop) and three at the northern end (by The Sports Edit store.) I don’t know why they didn’t keep all the supports and use them (even if it was just for flowers) it seems a little odd having these isolated sets, but then I’m neither an architect (well I was at one time) nor a designer so I probably don’t understand their aesthetics!