View of St Pancras in the early evening with London cabs driving past

Kings Cross in the footsteps of a 22 year old interloper

Kings Cross station brings with it a plethora of memories. As a child it represented a sense of freedom and opportunity: it was the station we arrived at when going to the London 2012 Olympics, it was the final destination of my first proper solo train journey, and a place we came frequently in the summer to visit family and ‘be tourists’. As cliched as it sounds, Kings Cross was a whole world away from my small bubble of school friends and my seaside village on the North-eastern coast of England. 

As cliched as it sounds, Kings Cross was a whole world away from my small bubble of school friends and my seaside village on the North-eastern coast of England. 

Lucy Cottee (22), Business Analyst, White Space Strategy

Whilst Kings Cross undoubtedly brings a sense of adventure to mind, it is also a place where I first felt the true weight of the ‘real world’: Most vividly I remember when the station fire alarm went off when I was around 9 years old and we were all evacuated… the excitement immediately drained from my body, and I was left in a state of tears thinking there had been a terrorist attack. Kings Cross combines the childlike sense of adventure with this fear of the unknown and brings it to life in its buildings and people. Historic buildings, well-established food chains and high-end stores can be seen from the minute you exit the train, but just a few minutes of walking and you’ll be acquainted with a more sinister side to the city: struggling businesses, timeworn buildings, and poverty.  

In 2030 I hope that Kings Cross is not just a gateway into London that presents visitors with an affluent front, but instead a place that seeks to address the truth. Businesses should face up to social issues of homelessness and poverty and seek to truly make a difference. Kings Cross could use its influence to educate a wide variety of people on the social issues that need resolving and take steps to offer the ‘freedom and opportunity’ I was lucky enough to experience on my trips there, to those less fortunate.  

Read Whiteboard Magazine’s feature section on King’s Cross here: what do changes in this part of London say about future innovation and growth of the UK more generally?

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