The Granary, King’s Cross, London

The regeneration of King’s Cross, including the Grade II listed building The Granary, is one of the largest regeneration projects in London’s recent history. It’s transformed perceptions of King’s Cross. There is now a real sense of community, where students, tourists, families and local businesses feel equally at home. Once complete, the area will provide almost 2,000 new homes and 3 million square feet of commercial floor space.

Where: London Borough of Camden

Years on register: 1998-2012

 

Granary Square
Granary Square hosts a programme of events, exhibitions and installations throughout the year © Historic England

From thriving hub to dereliction

King’s Cross has formed a major gateway into central London for over two centuries. During the Victorian era it was a thriving industrial transport hub, but by the 1970s many of the buildings had become derelict and underused.

The Grade II listed Granary Complex is just to the north of Regent’s Canal. It formed part of the historic Goods Yard, where goods arrived from the north to be distributed around London. When the Granary Building was added to the Heritage at Risk Register in 1998, it was unoccupied and its condition was deteriorating.

The interior of The Granary prior to restoration
The Granary prior to restoration. The Granary once stored wheat for London’s bakers, but is now a successful cultural hub in the heart of King’s Cross © Historic England

How we made a difference

Historic England has been a critical friend from the outset. We helped to shape the ambitious masterplan for King’s Cross, and suggested imaginative approaches to the submission of multiple and complex planning applications. We have also provided more detailed advice on the repair and re-use of historic buildings, as well as the treatment of public spaces to reflect the area’s industrial past.

The conversion of the Granary underway
The conversion of the Grade II listed Granary underway to accommodate Central Saint Martins © Historic England

Central Saint Martins new home

The Granary Building, which once stored wheat for London’s bakers, is now home to the world famous art college, Central Saint Martins. The elegant building, designed by Lewis Cubitt, was removed from the Heritage at Risk Register in 2012.

Between the historic canal and the Granary Building is a new urban square - the now popular Granary Square. It is a vibrant space, with a programme of events, exhibitions and art installations throughout the year. Historic features, such as old railway tracks and turntables, have been thoughtfully incorporated into the new public realm as a reminder of the area’s industrial past.

Whilst development at King’s Cross is not yet complete, its transformation is remarkable. Heritage is key to the area’s distinctiveness and sense of place, and has undoubtedly helped to deliver one of the best mixed-use developments in the UK.

Through a patient and collaborative process, the historic buildings and character of King’s Cross have not only been protected, but brought back to life and stitched back into the city. The result is a place that embraces both its past and its future.

Emily Gee (London Planning Director, Historic England)

 

See The Granary on the National Heritage List

Visit

Granary Square is a much-loved public space in the heart of King’s Cross. Whether attending one of the square’s many events, learning about its industrial past or enjoying the water fountains, it’s well worth a visit.

What’s on at King’s Cross

The southern elevation of The Granary prior to restoration
The Granary is a vast mid-19th century warehouse, now home to a world-class arts college © Historic England

20 years of the Heritage at Risk Register

This year we are celebrating 20 years of the Heritage at Risk Register, Historic England’s tool for shining a light on the listed buildings and places in England that need most help. Looking back over the last 20 years, huge progress has been made in saving our heritage and giving it new uses.

See more of our top 20 heritage rescues

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