The Euston Arch in its heyday

“The Euston Arch was a powerful symbol of the optimistic spirit of the Victorian railway. Its demolition in the 1960s confirmed that blandness and lack of imagination had replaced the heroic vision of the past. Completed in May 1838, it was the centrepiece of Euston Station, the world’s first main line terminus in a capital city. Built on a huge scale, it symbolized modernity and new links between London and the north. It was the first great monument of the railway age, which Britain pioneered.”

Demolition of The Euston Arch in 1962

“The Arch was demolished in 1962 after a short and sharp campaign to save it. Sanctioned by a philistine administration, the demolition now seems shocking and is widely regarded as a terrible mistake. In a story stranger than fiction, most of the stones from the Arch ended up at the bottom of a river in east London. The survival of much of the original material from the Arch, as well as detailed drawings, means that it can be faithfully restored, returning to Britain a masterpiece of international significance. …rebuilding the Arch would regenerate Euston in the best possible way, attracting investment and creating a great heritage asset for the wider community.”

 

A clip from a 1993 film showing Dan Cruickshank searching for the remains of The Euston Arch

“Since [the Arch’s demolition in 1962] the enormous popularity of the restored St Pancras, soon to be followed by a restored King’s Cross, has shown that celebration of the past and potential for the future are not mutually exclusive. The restoration of Euston Arch would restore to London’s oldest mainline terminus some of the character and dignity of its great neighbours.”

Michael Palin, Patron of the Euston Arch Trust.

Above quotes and images from The Euston Art Trust. For further information, and to support the restoration of the Euston Arch, visit the The Euston Arch Trust website. See also our feature on Conservation, Preservation and Restoration above.