‘They made it royal with their presence’

King’s Cross at Sunset

Originally uploaded by willismonroe

Nothing lasts for ever, especially in London clubland. But amid all the hullabaloo about the reopening of St Pancras Station last week, one thing slipped passed, almost unnoticed. Not one, but three of London’s best clubs are about to close their doors. The Cross, The Key and Canvas (nee Bagley’s Film Studio) will shut this Christmas leaving London bereft of a semi-derelict quarter that has fostered some of the finest warehouse parties in the capital since the mid-eighties.

With its cobbled streets, brown bicked-chimney stacks and rusting gasometers, Kings Cross has remained an urban anachronism, an ungentrified blot on the developers landscape. For me, the Victorian Goods Yard behind Kings Cross station has been a experimental space, redolent of the best of east Berlin; a place where artstic and boheminan life could flourish. The poet Aidan Dun has noted how it has always been so. Kings Cross he says “has exerted a magnetic attraction down the centuries. The artists, the poets have made this forgotten place royal with their presence.”

But soon it will beall change.

Last week’s reopening of St Pancras was only the first phase of the massive redevelopment of Kings Cross. The unveiling of the £800m station is only the first phase of an ambitious regeneration of 67 acres of brownfield land at King’s Cross that will add nearly five million square feet of office space (including the new building for the Guardian). The regeneration of the area also represents the loss of one of the most memorable locations in British cinema history.

The three clubs may be going to the great warehouse party in the sky, just as London seems to be redisovering its love of partying in post-industiral spaces. Nights like
Mulletover and Secret Sundaze in east London caputuring something of the spirit of Kings Cross. Even so, I think London is losing something lost something. What about you?