"Gaping to devour incoming engines..."

A monochrome variation on the theme of...

 

www.flickr.com/photos/36576534@N00/2203935796

 

...taken at St Pancras International Station, London, England, of the statue of British Poet Laureate Sir John Betjeman underneath the towering and almost overpowering 1868 canopy designed by William Henry Barlow.

 

The train shed roof was the largest single-span structure built up to that time, and earned St Pancras the title of one of the most spectacular stations in the world, often referred to as 'the cathedral of the railways.' Martin Jennings' larger-than-life bronze statue of Sir John Betjeman - my second favourite English poet - celebrates the fact that, without Betjeman, St Pancras as it is now would probably not exist. In 1967, when London seemed Hell-bent on modernising itself with concrete and characterlessness at the expense of its historic past - especially if that past was Victorian - this station was just 10 days away from demolition. A high profile campaign, spearheaded by Sir John (who wrote at the time of St Pancras' 'great arc of Barlow's train shed gaping to devour incoming engines, and the sudden burst of exuberant Gothic'), managed to save it, and turn the tide against London's wholesale destruction of its Victoriana.

 

One hundred foot high, and with 18,000 panes of glass in it, the roof is now the centrepiece of the restored structure, already being referred to as the most magnificent railway station in the world, although it is slightly less spectacular by non-illuminated day, hence my decision to go black and white for this shot. Nevertheless, it's still one of the most wonderful and awe-inspiring structures of both old and new London.

 

Taken in London, England on March 2, 2008.

 

 

 

  • Jeff Milton 7y

    The monochrome works well. Come friendly bombs and fall on the other version. Only joking, I like them both.
  • Meredith Nierman 7y

    I agree, works well. While the color version is a more powerful composition overall, the black and white version makes the statue appear all the more real. Had I not seen the color version, I'd think this was a real human.
  • Kevin 7y

    Wonderful - it looks so life-like.
  • Ashok 7y

    Nice angle.
  • Eze Kolodens 7y

    really interesting
  • Esther Kluth 7y

    Great shot!

    No doubt, this is a real amazing picture!
    This deserves a Platinum Award from
    EVERYTHING ABOUT ZEBRA, STRIPES AND GEOMETRY (Add 1 / Comment 1)


    Keep shooting!
  • Alastair Kerr 7y

    This works really well. Nice composition, good job.



    YOUR PHOTO DESERVES THIS....
    ~[black and white]~ Group!
  • Rob Hudson 7y

  • Lake Fred 7y

    Very nice! No doubt, this is a real amazing picture!
    This deserves a Platinum Award from
    EVERYTHING ABOUT ZEBRA, STRIPES AND GEOMETRY (Add 1 / Comment 1)


    Keep shooting!
  • Bill Sanderson 7y

    Now, who's your FAVOURITE poet?

    possibly- "...hedges dipped
    And rose: and now and then a smell of grass
    Displaced the reek of buttoned carriage-cloth..."
    -well, that's who's mine.
  • Richard 7y

    Philip Larkin?
  • Ameecher 7y

    This a brilliant photo, Well done!
1,169 views
3 faves
12 comments
Taken on March 2, 2008
  • ƒ/4.0
  • 6.0 mm
  • 1/320
  • 80
  • Flash (off, did not fire)
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