Background of St Pancras International
St Pancras was constructed by the Midland Railway (MR), which had an extensive rail network across the Midlands and the North of England, but no dedicated line into London. After rail traffic problems following the 1862 International Exhibition, the MR decided to build a connection from Bedford to London with its terminus. The station was designed by William Henry Barlow and constructed with a single-span iron roof. Following the station's opening on 1 October 1868, the MR constructed the Midland Grand Hotel on the station's façade, which has been widely praised for its architecture and is now a Grade I listed building along with the rest of the station.
The vicinity of the station, which in the late 20th century gained a reputation for being sleazy and low-class, served as the setting for various movies. The station gained notoriety for its connection to the Harry Potter novels and movies, particularly the fictitious Platform 93/4 when a significant renovation was carried out in the 21st century, which included restoring the old roof. Platform 10 was discontinued and replaced by platform 11 in 2021 after major track remodelling.
In what is now the London Borough of Camden, the station is located on the London Inner Ring Road near the eastern end of Euston Road, close to the intersection with Pentonville Road, Gray's Inn Road, and York Way. St Pancras train station is located directly to the west, on the other side of Pancras Road. Numerous London bus lines, including the 30, 59, 73, 91, 205, 390, and 476, pass in front of or alongside the station.
There are two ways to spell King's Cross: with and without an apostrophe. King's Cross appears on the Tube map, the Network Rail website, and the signage at Network Rail and London Underground stations. Early Underground maps hardly ever had it, but since 1951, it has been a regular element. In situations where space is limited, acronyms like Kings X, Kings +, and London XK are employed. KGX is the National Rail station designation.
The region that is today known as King's Cross was once a village called Battle Bridge, which was a historic River Fleet bridge also known as Broad Ford and later Bradford Bridge. Up until 1825, the river followed the present-day west side of Pancras Road before being diverted underground. The name "Battle Bridge" refers to the legend that a significant conflict between the Romans and the Celtic British Iceni tribe, led by Boudica, took place here. Folklore holds that Boudica's final conflict took place at King's Cross, and other sources claim that she is buried beneath one of the platforms. As potential locations, Platforms 9 and 10 have been mentioned. Additionally, platforms 8–10 of the station's underground corridors are said to be haunted by the ghost of Boudica.