Description: even when you think you know historic ironwork inside out it can still be a demanding task to decipher a true original design, especially the detail, when working from photos.
Grade I listed and finished in 1876, the famous towered hotel at the front of St Pancras Station is one of London’s iconic landmarks. During its renovations and redevelopment there was an obligation to retain as much as possible of this classic piece of Victorian architecture. However, four weathervanes were obviously failing, and once the scaffolding was up, and inspection possible, it was realised that they were not the originals. Given that they needed significant work, and with archive photographic evidence available of the originals, the decision was made to make authentic replacements. The difficulties with working from photos include seeing through film grain, shadows and blur, to name just a few issues, and in this instance, we had the added difficulty of distance with the vane being in such an elevated position. Get it right and you can be adding a piece which conveys true authenticity and positively adds to the experience of the setting; get it wrong and you have a poor pastiche which can be distracting to the rest of the context. We relied heavily on our in-depth knowledge to enable us to produce detailed design drawings that were correct in terms of period style, heritage materials and traditional construction techniques. The scale also had to be determined, and given the distance from the original camera position, this was deceptive; they are a surprising 10ft (3m) tall.
Service: Period Reinstatement Design
Client: London and Continental Railways
Location: Borough of Camden, London