Key questions


What is the Euston Arch Trust?

The Trust is committed to seeing the reconstruction at Euston Station of the Euston Arch that once stood as the entrance to Euston Station and which was demolished in 1962.

The Trust was founded in the early 1990s by a group of historians, architects and journalists headed by Professor Dan Cruickshank following several episodes of the BBC series ‘One Foot in the Past’ in which Cruickshank tracked down the remains of the Arch.

A large amount of material from the Arch is located in east London, at the bottom of the Prescott Channel near the River Lea.

The discovery of the remains of the Arch spurred a campaign to rebuild it using the original stones.

In 2007 the campaign received a boost by the news that discussions were underway regarding the redevelopment of Euston Station. This presents an unmissable opportunity to reinstate the Euston Arch.

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Why rebuild the arch?

The redevelopment of Euston Station provides an opportunity to restore a building of international importance. The Euston Arch was the first great monument of the railway age, which Britain pioneered. The redevelopment of neighboring St Pancras has shown how a modern railway station can successfully combine historic architecture with twenty-first century facilites.

The current Euston station is seen by many as a bland and faceless gateway into London - a wasted opportunity. It is invisible from the main road and a depressing place to visit. Rebuilding the Euston Arch would address these flaws, creating a landmark gateway to a new station. Once rebuilt, it would attract investment and visitors alike, making Euston a destination in its own right.

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Why rebuild it now?

Network Rail intends to redevelop Euston Station in a £1 billion project. This provides an unmissable opportunity to reinstate the Euston Arch near its original site.

Britain has moved on from the philistine views prevalent in the 1960s, when Victorian architecture was widely discredited. As the hugely popular, restored St Pancras shows, the public want stations that celebrate their heritage whilst delivering an effective service.

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How much will it cost?

A survey commissioned by engineer Alan Baxter estimates that £10 million is needed to rebuild the Euston Arch. This takes into account the use of a substantial number of the original stones.

 

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Where was the arch?

The location of the arch is now deep within the current station. It was located on the junction of Drummond Street with Euston Grove. A large part of Drummond Street was removed when the station was expanded in the 1960s, although part of the road continues to exist on the western side of the current station. Euston Grove is the road between the two remaining lodges on Euston Square, providing access to the bus station.

The maps and pictures below give some idea of the location of the arch and the current station.

Maps

On the left is a map of the station in the 1920s (the red star indicates the arch), and on the right is a map of the area in 2007 (with the former location of arch indicated by a yellow star).

Photos

The photo on the left is an aerial shot of Euston station in the 1940s with the arch in the centre. On the right is a satellite picture from 2007. The location of the arch is indicted with a red star, the green star indicates the remaining two lodges on Euston Square. Click both for enlarged images.

Inside the current station

The map below shows the current internal layout of Euston. The red star indicates the location of the arch.

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Where can it be rebuilt?

The Arch should be rebuilt at Euston Station, either as part of the newly developed station or in close proximity to it.

The Trust's favoured location is between the two remaining lodges on Euston Road. These lodges, along with the railings around Euston Square and the War Memorial are all that remain of the old Euston station. Read more about our proposals here.

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What purpose would the Arch serve?

Rebuilding the Euston Arch would create a landmark entrance for a new Euston Station. It would give the station a much-needed presence on Euston Road, in line with the neighbouring stations of King's Cross and St Pancras. The Arch would add great prestige to a redeveloped Euston, acting as a magnet for investment.

The Arch would also be a building in its own right; the Trust's plans show how rooms inside could accomodate twenty-first century uses. Read more here

 

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What would it add to the local community?

The rebuilding of the Euston Arch would return to the community just one of the many fine buildings that the area has lost over the years (pictures of the demolished Grand Hotel, Booking Hall and nearby crescent can be seen in our gallery. A rebuilt Arch would be a great heritage asset for the local community, and for all Londoners. It would provide a much-needed anchor for the fragmented townscape around Euston Station.


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Why not forget the arch and build something modern?

When it was built the arch was a symbol of progress and a noble piece of architecture that befitted the entrance to the world’s first mainline terminus in a capital city.

A rebuilt Euston Arch would provide the new station with the prestige that befits London's first major railway station. But, it would not be a monument to the past. The Arch would be an eye-catching and internationally significant emblem of a newly rejuvenated Euston. The success of the redeveloped St Pancras Station has demonstrated that modern Britain thrives on the interplay between old and new.

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Who supports the campaign?

 

 

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Michael Palin, Patron of
the Euston Arch Trust
© Basil Pao

What can I do?

We need your support! The Euston Arch is one of Britain’s most well-remembered and well-loved buildings to have suffered demolition. Its reconstruction is something that unites many. Visit “What you can do” where you will find many ways you can join our efforts to rebuild the arch such as:

  • Sign up as a supporter of the trust and receive regular updates of news and events
  • Write to Camden’s councilors and MP Frank Dobson urging them to support the rebuilding and to make it a planning condition for the new Euston station.
  • Write to Network Rail and their partners telling them you want the arch rebuilt.
  • Join our Facebook Group ‘Euston Arch’.
  • Donate and help fund the campaign.
  • Send us your memories and photos.
  • Tell a friend about the group

 

Why did they demolish the arch?

As you can read in the history section by clicking here, Euston station prior to the redevelopment of the 1960s was a crowded and congested site. In order to upgrade the station the entire complex was demolished and replaced with the current airport style terminus design.

As with many such developments in the 1960s, the historicist style of the arch was not admired by those in charge of the redevelopment. Despite a huge public outcry and campaign the go ahead for demolition was given by the then Prime Minister Harold Macmillan who noted that ‘an obsession with such buildings will drain our national vitality’.

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Where are the remains of the arch?

In 1993 and 1994 the historian Dan Cruickshank tracked down the remains of the arch for some episodes of the BBC series 'One Foot in the Past'. In the first episode in 1993 he discovered that some of the stones from the arch and its lodges were used by the demolition contractor, Frank Valori, in the construction of his own house - Paradise Villa, Sundridge Avenue, Bromley, Kent. Stones were used in the foundations, for a pond and to form a garden terrace.

In 1994 Dan Cruickshank discovered an estimated 60% of the 4,400 tons of the arch buried in the bed of the Prescott Channel at its junction with the Channelsea River that runs into the River Lea in the East End of London. The location of the rubble had been revealed by Bob Cotton, a British Waterways engineer, who stated that the rubble had been purchased in 1962 to fill a chasm in the bed of the Prescott Channel. A fluted section of a column was recovered from the river bed at the time of the 'One Foot in the Past' programme.

In 2009 British Waterways raised a further 29 stones from the bed of the Prescott Channel, bringing the total of salvaged stones to 30. This remarkable salvage operation was undertaken in conjunction with the building of a new lock in the Prescott Channel, as part of an operation to upgrade waterways serving the 2012 Olympic Park. You can read the British Waterways news report here

The location of the Prescott Channel is to the east of Three Mill Studios. If you click the link below, the Google map will centre on Three Mill Studios. The resting place of the Euston Arch is in the river to the east of this at the southern end of the Prescott Channel. A small footbridge can be seen crossing the spot.

Google map of the Prescott Channel

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How big was the Euston Arch?

The arch was 70 feet 6inches high and 44 feet deep (21.5m high by 13.4m deep)

The diameter of the columns was 8ft 6in (2.6m)

It is estimated to have weighed 4,420 tons

The stone came from Bramley in West Yorkshire.

You can gain a sense of the scale of the arch by the photo to the right.
Click on it to enlarge (opens a new window).

 

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Can I download any information packs about the arch?

There are several PDF documents you can download about the arch and the Euston Arch Trust

  • The Euston Arch Trust 4 page leaflet is available to download here. (3 MB PDF)
  • The Euston Arch Trust single page leaflet is available to download here. (1.1 MB PDF)
  • The Euston Arch Poster is available to download here. (1.9 MB PDF)  

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    What is left of the old Euston Station?

    A selection of items from the old Euston station have been preserved. They are to be found throughout the UK.

    Euston Square and the two lodges

    Euston Square - and more precisely Euston Grove - is a shadow of its former self. Dominated by a bus station, roundabout and imposing black office blocks the square has lost much of the charm it had when first laid out in the 1810s. Soon after in the 1830s the area became the centre for the new Euston station and development from then onwards owed much to the nature of the station. Expansion in the are in 1870 saw the construction of the two lodges that remain to this day. The lodges were not simply symbolic but also functioned as information and parcel collecting points. A bronze statue of Robert Stephenson (see below) was placed in the central reservation at the Grove's entrance. It was also at this time that the word 'Euston' was carved onto the arch.

    The two lodges remain standing, having been spared the wreckers ball in the 1960s. One houses a private bar. Original railings still surround the square.

    The square also contains the war memorial to railway men who lost their lives in the First World War. Designed by Reginald Wynn it was completed in 1921. Additional plaques were added to service men and women following the Second World War.

    Further details of the area can be found at:
    http://www.ucl.ac.uk/sts/cain/projects/euston_grove/index.htm

    The Gates

    One of the most imposing and well remembered features of the old Euston station were the gates to the arch. Standing approximately 12feet tall they were installed when the arch was first built. The gates were located both within the arch and to the sides, providing both an impressive sight and a sure means of protecting the property.

    The gates from the arch are now to be found on display in the National Railway Museum (see below). The gates from the side of the arch are to be found at the National Tram Museum.

    Statues of George Stephenson and Robert Stephenson

    A statue of George Stephenson - the great railway engineer and designer of the Rocket - stood at the bottom of the main stairs in the Great Hall (see middle picture below). The statue now stands in the National Railway Museum in York (see picture below on the left).

    The statue of Robert Stephenson - the only son of George Stephenson, as great an engineer as his father and who led the construction of the London and Birmingham Railway for which Euston was the London terminus - originally stood between the two lodges on Euston Grove/Square (see above) but now stands overlooking the forecourt of the current Euston station (see below on the right).

    That statues to two of the world's greatest railway engineers were located at Euston reminds us of how central a role Euston and the railway it served has played in the development of Britain's railways.

    Plaque from the Great Hall

    The plaque commemorates the opening of the Great Hall in 1838. They are now on display at the National Railway Museum in York.

    Clock from the Great Hall

    The clock was located in the Great Hall and is now to be found at the National Railway Museum in York.

    Silver model of the arch

    Following the demolition of the arch, the demolition contractor Mr Valori presented a silver model of the arch to Lord Esher, who admitted that the gesture "made him feel as if some man had murdered his wife and then presented him with her bust". That model was later stolen, but the National Railway Museum holds a similar one as pictured below.

    Britannia

    The sculpture of Britannia was located over the door that led to the Shareholder meeting room which was reached via the stairs in the Great Hall. After demolition of the Great Hall the sculpture was moved to the first class bar and restaurant on the first floor of the new Euston station where it remained until the 1990s. It was then placed in the care of the National Railway Museum.


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