An architectural tour of George Gilbert Scott’s Renaissance St Pancras Hotel
Built to the highest standards of the time, it had hydraulic lifts, fireproof concrete floors and five baths for its two hundred rooms. Needless to say, by the 1930s it was regarded as having far too few baths, the concrete floors precluded modernisation by the installation of plumbing, and the hotel was closed and somewhat unsympathetically turned into offices for British Rail. It narrowly escaped demolition in the 1960s, thanks to campaigning by John Betjeman, and by the 1980s it was no use even for offices – failing fire inspections.
The St Pancras Hotel today
Happily it was rescued, the top two floors being turned into apartments, and the rest of it returned to its original function of being a hotel. If you fancy staying in this Gothic fantasy palace you can book the Royal Suite and invite nineteen of your closest friends to join you for dinner in it.
The rooms in the Scott part of the hotel are branded “Chambers Suites.” The “Barlow wing” was newly built last decade You can see over to Kings Cross station next door, which now looks extremely fine now you can see the front for the first time in a century or so.
No tour of course is complete without a ghost story or two, and this is no exception. The notable death in the hotel was of the architect’s son George Gilbert Scott junior. An architect himself, he never reached the levels of fame of his father, and whilst resident at the St Pancras took his own life – having become an alcoholic and spent time in an asylum.