King's Cross Railway Station's Cross

Since King's Cross Railway Station was not specifically built for Christian worship, why does 'Cross' feature in the name? Can a cross be found there?

King's Cross Station

In Sydney, Australia, Kings Cross Subway Station (map) opened in 1979. It soon became famous for its proximity to a 'red-light' district where one could enter the world of prostitution and drug dealing. 

King's Cross

On the opposite side of the world in north London (map), there is also a King's Cross Station, opened in 1852 and has also become famous for 'red-light' activities. But unlike its Australian namesake, King's Cross in London uses an apostrophe. This is very useful information for those times when you don't know where on earth you are. Just go to the nearest King(')s Cross station and look for the apostrophe!

But for the station itself, and more particularly the cross, we must go back a couple of hundred years to the time of the King George IV. He reigned between 1820 and 1830, and a monument was built in his honour in 1835. The site was chosen because it is where one of the earliest Christian churches in Britain was built. Like Market Crosses, a monument was often called 'cross' for no better reason than it 'sounded good'. King George's Cross was removed after only 10 years and the King's Cross Station was built where the monument stood.

St. Pancras

A few yards west of King's Cross Station is St. Pancras Station. 

In its Victorian heyday, the 'Gothic' styled St. Pancras Station was known as the 'Cathedral of the Railways'.

A cathedral without a cross.

Other railway stations with 'Cross' in the name

One of the less-convincing theories of the origin of the term 'red-light', comes from the red lamps used by railway workers. When entering a brothel, the worker would leave his lamp shining in the window, so if the man was needed for work he could be located easily.

When the Romans fought a battle with the locals from Norfolk on that site, little would they know that 2,000 years later, the super-fast Eurostar trains from Paris, Brussels and Lille, would come screeching to a halt in the same area at St. Pancras Station, a few paces to the West.


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