St Pancras station was famously saved from developers in the 1960s due to a campaign by John Betjeman and the Victorian Society.
Betjeman vividly described St Pancras as:
“…that cluster of towers and pinnacles seen from Pentonville Hill…outlined against a foggy sunset…the great arc of Barlow’s train shed gaping to devour incoming engines, and the sudden burst of exuberant Gothic of the hotel seen from gloomy Judd Street.”
Today, a statue of Betjeman by Martin Jennings stands on the upper concourse, forever gazing up at the magnificent roof. He seems just about to board his train home, with raincoat flapping, clutching his hat in one hand and shopping bag in the other.
The former station booking office at St Pancras is now a glamorous bar and brasserie. I sat outside in order to enjoy the same splendid view of the roof as Betjeman’s statue.
The tea menu included English breakfast, Earl Grey, lemon verbena, green, muscatel Darjeeling and rooibos.
I enjoyed a pot of Jasmine, which was light and refreshing and served in elegant white china. The tea was whole leaf and there was a biscotti on the side, which is to be expected when the tea cost £4.50.
The Booking Office is part of the Renaissance Hotel, which has recently undergone extensive restoration. The building looks incredible, but in my opinion, would suit traditional English interior design rather than the ‘swanky-hotel’ fittings and tacky looking brit-art, which clash with the majestic building.
I feel Betjeman would’ve agreed, but am sure he would have loved to sit and enjoy a cuppa with the breath-taking view from the Booking Office. Perhaps, though, preferring English breakfast tea and perhaps a Rich Tea or digestive biscuit.
In a Bath Teashop
by John Betjeman
“Let us not speak, for the love we bear one another—
Let us hold hands and look.”
She such a very ordinary little woman;
He such a thumping crook;
But both, for a moment, little lower than the angels
In the teashop’s ingle-nook.
|Price of a Cuppa :||£4.50, plus 12.5% = £5.06|
|Leaf or Bag :||Whole leaf|
|Crockery :||Elegant white china|
|Music :||Station clatter|
|Service :||Efficient and friendly|
|Food :||Sample menus:
All day menu;
Afternoon Tea (PDF)
|Kitty says:||Fantastic, if pricey, spot for tea. There is a Carluccio’s next door, for same view, but probably cheaper cuppa|
|Address:||St Pancras Renaissance Hotel
London NW1 2AR
|Website:||Booking Office St Pancras (beware: website plays annoying music)|
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