One of the most significant projects affecting Britain’s railway infrastructure and heritage this century has been the work undertaken in and around King’s Cross, St Pancras and the erstwhile railway goods facilities to the north. Over the years, the work has gained recognition in a number of the annual National Railway Heritage awards. However, due to a number of issues – most notably the need to obtain consent for the erection of the plaques and the restrictions imposed as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic – it has not been possible to unveil formally the plaques awarded. This omission was, however, rectified on Monday 9 May 2022 when, in separate ceremonies, three plaques were officially unveiled.
In chronological order of their awarding, the first of the trio to be unveiled was the Chairman’s Special Award made in the 2013 competition for the King’s Cross station development which had been made to Network Rail, John McAslan and Partners, Arup and Vinci Construction.
The plaque was unveiled on the station concourse at King’s Cross by Andy Savage MBE representing NRHA, and Sir Peter Hendy CBE representing Network Rail and the winning partnership, accompanied by retired NRHA Chairman, John Ellis.
The unveiled plaque at King’s Cross station with, from the left, John Ellis, former chairman of the NRHA, Andy Savage MBE, chairman of the NRHA, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, chairman of Network Rail. Kings Cross/John Sturrock
The next two awards were those made in the NRHA’s 40th anniversary competition in 2019 and had originally been announced in the presence of HRH The Princess Royal in a ceremony held at Merchant Taylors’ Hall in early December 2019.
The first of these was the 40th anniversary Chairman’s Special Award. This award was made for what was regarded as one of the most significant entries taken over the 40 years of the existence of the competition and was awarded for King’s Cross and St Pancras stations and Railway Lands Development. As the recipients were various, the award winners were represented by Sir Peter Hendy CBE. The plaque was unveiled on the German Gymnasium by retired NRHA Chairman John Ellis, with the NRHA represented by Andy Savage MBE, and Morwenna Hall, a partner for Argent LLP representing them as the landowners.
The exterior of the German Gymnasium with the unveiled plaque and, from left to right, Andy Savage MBE, John Ellis, Morwenna Hall and Sir Peter Hendy CBE. Kings Cross/John Sturrock
The third plaque unveiled was for the entry considered to be the best overall project entered in the 2019 competition. The Hendry & Pendle Trust Best Overall Entry Award was presented to BAM Construction for the superb work carried out at the King’s Cross Coal Drops. The plaque was unveiled in the coal drops yard in the shadow of the eye-catching ‘Kissing Roofs’ of the upper level of the development by Ewen Hunter, Construction Director for BAM Nuttall together with Sir Peter Hendy CBE representing the Hendy & Pendle Charitable Trust who sponsored the award, Morwenna Hall partner for landowners Argent LLP, and Andy Savage MBE representing NRHA.
The unveiled plaque with, from left to right, Sir Peter Hendy CBE, Morwenna Hall, Ewen Hunter and Andy Savage MBE. Kings Cross/John Sturrock
The three events were well attended by representatives from National Railway Heritage Awards, Argent LLP, Network Rail and the Railway Heritage Trust, and the assembled group posed for a group photograph in the Coal Drops yard before repairing to the German Gymnasium for refreshments. Kings Cross/ John Sturrock