King's Cross Voices
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Pasts Unearthed was commissioned for the Arrivals arts programme to mark the arrival of Eurostar at St. Pancras International in November 2007.


Website updated
Saturday, 1 March, 2008
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KING'S CROSS VOICES ORAL HISTORY PROJECT

Since 2004, the King's Cross Voices oral history project has been working with community members and local partners to record people's memories and unique life experiences of the King's Cross area.

The district is currently in the throes of major redevelopment and regeneration, with the creation of a new residential, business and leisure district on 67 acres of former railway freight lands, the near completion of Kings Place which will house The Guardian and a new concert hall for London, and the recent unveiling of St Pancras International in November 2007.

In response to this extraordinary transformation of the area, the King's Cross Voicesаrecordings are a vital historical record of the life and times of ?the Cross? as the physical remindersаare forever changed, and as the composition of present communities are likely to be altered irrevocably. All the interviews reflect the enormous range of occupations, communities and characters that have made King?s Cross such an intriguing and well-known, yet until now, undocumented part of central London.
The voices in the archive include teachers, shopkeepers, publicans, policemen, students, squatters, housewives, social workers, builders, actors, artists, campaigners, politicians, prostitutes, factory workers, cleaners, office workers and, vitally, a whole range of occupations within the railway industry which has been the epicentre of the area for the past 150 years or so.
Their stories cover the terrain on both sides of the eastern stretch of the Euston Road, and either side of York Way which divides King?s Cross between the two London boroughs of Camden and Islington. The recordings reflect the changing fortunes of the former railway lands which sit to the north of the two railway stations, and the once famous street market at Chalton Street and Islington?s legendary Chapel Market. Important residential areas such as Somers Town, the Hillview Estate, the Bemerton Estate, the newly refurbished Brunswick Centre, or the now demolished or empty Victorian housing blocks like Stanley Buildings, Culross Buildings and Beaconsfield Buildings are also well documented by the project. King?s Cross Voices also explores the social history of the major shopping and business thoroughfares like Caledonian Road, Pentonville Road, Judd Street and King?s Cross Road. Other famous King?s Cross landmarks charted by the project include, Argyle Square, ?the Lighthouse Building? and, of course, the two extraordinary Victorian railway stations ? King?s Cross and St Pancras.
Now, this current phase of King?s Cross Voices which was primarily funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund, and managed by the London Borough of Camden, has drawn to a close. Towards the end of the 2008, it is anticipated that the entire collection of some 500 hours of recordings and the interview transcripts will be available to the public online.
In the meantime, another phase of King?s Cross Voices is being planned, and an exhibition and a radio documentary based on the collection are both in development.
Within the King?s Cross Voices website you can find a selection of interview extracts, a short background history of the area, and the complete audio of two sound installations, ?the Argyle Square Sound Trail? and ?Pasts Unearthed?, both which were produced by the King?s Cross Voices team.

For further information about King?s Cross Voices, please email

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Aerial photograph of King?s Cross courtesy of the Cally Community Health Centre.

Aerial photograph of King?s Cross courtesy of the Cally Community Health Centre.

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The catchment area for King?s Cross Voices. Map credit: King?s Cross Partnership and Urban Explorers

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ай2004 King's Cross Voices Oral History Project