A Victorian cathedral of the railways…

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This rather wonderful statue of the well-loved poet, Sir John Betjeman, looks up in awed appreciation at the glass and iron beauty of the Barlow train shed at St Pancras International. The station was reopened in 2007 as the London terminal for Eurostar, as the train next to the camera obligingly illustrates.

Betjeman was instrumental in saving this stunning building from demolition in the 1960s, so it’s perhaps only right he’s commemorated in this sculpture by Martin Jennings. I’d read about the delicate typographic inscription at the base of this artwork and had hoped for some time that I’d have the opportunity to shoot this and the surrounding station environment.

Despite the absence of people in shot, this was taken at rush hour on a weekday evening, just as the light was fading. Judicious timing and some long exposure photography allowed me to create the illusion of emptiness, drawing ones eye back to the former Poet Laureate looking up to the arched heavens.

(updated version now featured on 360 Cities – click on the icon below to view a version which is mobile compatible)

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Click below for a fullscreen 360° view of the scene in Flash, or for more info in Google Earth and Wikipedia.

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