Victorian King’s Cross

When I first moved to London, King’s Cross was a huge, echoing shed of a building. It was always freezing cold and full of people with huge suitcases huddling in front of the departures board. There were about 5 seats in the whole station, and nowhere to get a nice sandwich.

I remember arriving there from Edinburgh on the day we moved, and thinking I would never really be at home in London. It was just too big and impersonal and full of people.

Luckily things have changed since then. I’ve lived here for more than five years. London no longer feels scary and unwelcoming. And King’s Cross looks pretty different too. They’ve finally knocked down the 70s green shed out the front, and built a whole new side entrance with an awesome twisty roof. There are many places to get a tasty sandwich, and even a huge pub in the old sorting office, possibly the only nice railway station pub in the whole of the UK.

A couple of weeks ago, they had a Victorian themed opening weekend to celebrate. I went down with Alex to have a look, as I am a big fan of fake Victorianism (although I draw the line at steampunk).

victorian ladies

The main event was in Granary Square, where the new Central St Martins campus is, just behind the station. It was all dressed up with Victorian-esque stalls:


crockery smashing

cheese stand

There were many out-of-work actors running around in bustles and tophats, having a fine old time shouting to each other in their best faux-Cockney accents, and accosting passers-by with hearty Dickensian banter.

The lady in the photo below was selling chilli jam from her cart, which doesn’t seem particularly 19th century to me, although I could be wrong (I usually am).

Behind her you can see a big fake chimney they set up, which small children could go and pretend to sweep.


We even won a coconut on the coconut shy (okay, Alex won a coconut. I failed miserably).

coconut shy

You could also have a go on a penny farthing. Those things are ridiculously hard to cycle, even at half-size.

half size penny farthing

penny farthing

I don’t know who paid for all this, but it was completely free, including the best bit – ye old Victorian Photoshoppe.


This was a tent containing a selection of costumes (all from Angels) and a man taking photos with a Nikon cunningly disguised as an old-skool camera. You could go into the tent, get dressed up, have your picture taken, and end up with a print of your Victorian self to take home.

authentic victorian macbook
This man was using ye olde Victorian Macbook to edit the photos there and then

Obviously we queued up for this. The man told us to ‘look deadpan’ and then made me hold an egg, and Alex hold a tiny taxidermied mouse. Why? Not sure. But here’s the resulting photo.

victorian photo

I think it’s one for the album. I also have a sudden urge to make myself a corset and bonnet.

15 thoughts on “Victorian King’s Cross

  1. Miss Demeanour October 20, 2013 / 12:01 PM

    This is such an ace pic of you and Alex haha. I think it’s good to say to you that you don’t suit deadpan, which means you are both happy types woot πŸ™‚

  2. gingermakes October 20, 2013 / 2:01 AM

    Teeheeheeheehee! Love the pics, especially the last one! Too funny!

  3. Donna October 19, 2013 / 12:53 PM

    I love that last photo of you guys!

  4. flossiejamieson October 19, 2013 / 8:54 AM

    Oh my goodness that photo is the tops! I too have a bit of a penchant for dressing up like a 19th century person and having my photo taken, and now I get to rope my kids in too. I love the idea of the chimney too – I might suggest that to my teacher friends who have to regularly come up with new ideas for victorian day.

    • yesilikethat October 19, 2013 / 10:09 PM

      They looked like they were having fun! Good practice for them too, in case you need a chimney cleared at some point… πŸ™‚

  5. Elise October 17, 2013 / 7:25 PM

    Pahaha what a fantastic picture! πŸ™‚

  6. Scruffy Badger October 17, 2013 / 3:33 PM

    You are a pair of good eggs, what an eggsellent photo!

  7. suzy October 17, 2013 / 10:11 AM

    Oh, that photo is brilliant. Definitely one to frame.

  8. Charise @ CRUNCH compass October 17, 2013 / 3:07 AM

    This is fantastic! Love the egg and mouse props, and especially love your deadpan faces πŸ™‚

  9. erin October 17, 2013 / 1:04 AM

    The photo is soooo cool! The deadpan look is a must-do! I used to live near King’s Cross station when I studied in London oh so many years ago, it’s nice to know that it’s got a face lift. My family is planning a trip back to London next year, and we’re thinking of taking the train to Edinburgh, so hopefully I get visit King’s Cross again.

  10. EmSewCrazy October 16, 2013 / 8:02 PM

    SO FUN!!! Your photo is great!

  11. Franca October 16, 2013 / 7:59 PM

    LOVE the photo! what a fun event!

  12. Annette Tirette October 16, 2013 / 7:26 PM

    I was giggling throughout most of this post, but ‘ye olde Victorian Macbook’ made me snort. This is awesome!

  13. nicoleneedles October 16, 2013 / 4:57 PM

    That photo had me laughing out loud in the staff canteen! Priceless!

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