Railway Lands developers urged to come up with names that better reflect King's Cross heritage

Workers who have been involved in creating the new King’s Cross streets

Published: 06 October 2011

DEVELOPERS have been urged to name new streets behind King’s Cross station after local heroes.

Argent, which is building homes and offices on the 69-acre Railway Lands site, cut the ribbon on a new road called King’s Boulevard on Monday. It is a new north to south route running through the heart of the development.

But so far the process of deciding names has been shrouded in secrecy and the company have been urged to let residents help them name another 20 streets currently without a title.

It comes amid fears the new roads will be given monikers made up by a marketing department with no input from civic groups or those who live in King’s Cross.

The developer has said it will think up street names and then pass them on to Camden Council for approval, after consulting with the Post Office and emergency services.

But King’s Cross Conservation Area Advisory Committee chairman Ernest James insisted there must be a public discussion.

He said: “We need to have a clear process upon which we can all decide what these names will be. It’s not good enough for the developer alone to scribble ideas down on the back of an envelope.

“King’s Boulevard has a distasteful, marketing-suite ring about it, with no imagination. It’s a Poundbury-style name – wholly manufactured.

“Instead the names of the new streets should clearly reflect the area’s history – and not just the well-known tales, but the stories of the real people who have lived and worked here down the years.

“This is not a decision that should be left to the marketing department of a developer. It should be done in close consultation with those who live here, and done in a way that is open and trans­parent.

“This area is steeped in history and character – leave these street names to the developer alone and you can guarantee they’ll be as bland as some of the poorly designed, identikit façades being put up there.”

King’s Cross Railway Lands Group co-chairman Michael Edwards said responsibility for names should be taken from the developer and submitted to Camden Council – in conjunction with the area’s residents.

“The streets are not privately owned or managed, they are public highways,” he added. “We should expect Camden to take on the duty of naming these streets.”

A spokeswoman for Argent and the King’s Cross Partnership would not be drawn on precisely who would make the naming proposals.

She said: “There is a rigorous internal process in place to select the street names – the same as the process we go through for all our buildings.

Suggestions are put forward by the team at Argent and debated at different meetings.

They are then formally put to the King’s Cross Central Limited Partnership to make a decision.

An application is then made to Camden, who consult other organisations, before a final name is adopted.

The streets at King’s Cross will be named as the development comes forward over the next 10 years.”

Some of the names suggested by King’s Cross groups and historians for the area’s new streets have included:

PONTECORVO STREET In honour of the 70-year-old campaigner for the preservation of historic buildings in Camden, Lisa Pontecorvo, who was killed in a cycling accident two years ago.

JELLICOE STREET After Father Basil Jellicoe, the man who worked with the St Pancras Housing Association to rebuild Somers Town.

IMPERIAL STREET After the Imperial, Gas Light and Coke Co who ran the gasometers.

STANLEY STREET After Lord Stanley, later Earl of Derby and prime minister. Chair of company that erected Stanley Buildings. One block of the 1864/5 Stanley Buildings still survives.

CULROSS STREET Another railway workers housing development that was, like Stanley, controversially demolished.

CHILTON STREET After Charles Chilton, creator of the BBC’s Journey into Space and producer of The Goons. He grew up in King’s Cross and his memories were recorded for future generations as part of the King’s Cross Voices oral history project.

MACKENDRICK STREET After Alexander Mackendrick, the director of the 1955 Ealing Studios film The Ladykillers, which was set in the area.

TOM MANN STREET After the Independent Labour Party chairman and trade union leader who worked in King’s Cross as an engineer in 1880.


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