St Pancras, London


St Pancras, London

infobox UK place
country = England
map_type = Greater London
region= London
population=
official_name= St Pancras
latitude= 51.5262
longitude= -0.1178
london_borough= Camden
constituency_westminster= Holborn & St Pancras
post_town= LONDON
postcode_district = WC1
postcode_area= WC
postcode_district1 = NW1
postcode_area1= NW
dial_code= 020
os_grid_reference= TQ305825

St Pancras is an area of London. Historically the name has been used for various officially designated areas, but today it is only an informal term and is rarely used, having been largely superseded by several other terms for overlapping districts.

History

Ancient parish

St Pancras was originally a medieval parish which ran from close to what is now Oxford Street north as far as Highgate, and from what is now Regent's Park in the west to the road now known as York Way in the east, boundaries which take in much of the current London Borough of Camden, including the central part of it. However, as the choice of name for the borough suggests, St Pancras has lost its status as the central settlement in the area. The district now encompassed by the term "St Pancras" is not easy to define, and usage of St Pancras as a place name is fairly limited.

The original focus of St Pancras was St Pancras Old Church, which is in the southern half of the parish, and is believed to be one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in Great Britain. However in the 14th century the population abandoned the site and moved to Kentish Town. The reasons for this were probably the vulnerability of the plain around the church to flooding (the River Fleet, which is now underground, runs through it) and the availability of better wells at Kentish Town, where there is less clay in the soil. The old settlement was abandoned and the church fell into disrepair. However, some residence continued near the old church as is shown on the 1801 map of the area and in an 18th century landscape that turned up in 2007.

In the 1790s Earl Camden began to develop some fields to the north and west of the Old Church as Camden Town, which has become a better known place name than St Pancras. In the mid 19th century two major railway stations were built to the south of the Old Church, one of them called St Pancras and the other King's Cross. A residential district was built to the south and east of the church, but it is usually known as Somers Town. The term St Pancras is sometimes applied to the immediate vicinity of St Pancras Station, but King's Cross is the usual name for the area around the two mainline stations as a whole.

Metropolitan Borough

The parish of St Pancras was administered by a vestry until the Metropolitan Borough of St Pancras was established in 1899. In 1965 the borough was combined with two other boroughs to form the London Borough of Camden. The name St Pancras survives in the name of the local parliamentary constituency, Holborn & St. Pancras. One of the local council wards in the Borough of Camden is called St Pancras and Somers Town, but this carries little weight as ward boundaries are chosen to divide a borough into roughly equal slices with little regard to the historical names of the districts or day to day usage, and are virtually unknown to the general public. Besides Somers Town and the area around St Pancras Old Church the ward includes much of Camden Town and the former Kings Cross Goods Yard, which is due to be redeveloped as a new district called "Kings Cross Central" starting in 2006.

Features

Old St Pancras Church and its graveyard have links to Charles Dickens, Thomas Hardy, and the Wollstonecraft circle. Immediately to the north of the churchyard is St Pancras Hospital, formerly the London Hospital for Tropical Diseases. St Pancras is one of the best known railway stations in England. It has been extended and is now the new terminus for the Eurostar services through the Channel Tunnel.

Transport

Nearest places

* King's Cross and Somers Town to the north
* Bloomsbury to the west and south
* Clerkenwell to the east

Nearest Tube Stations

* King's Cross St. Pancras tube station
* Russell Square tube station

Nearest Railway Stations

* King's Cross station
* St Pancras railway station

References

"Camden Town and Primrose Hill Past" by John Richardson (1991) ISBN 0-948667-12-5


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