These are the only remaining parts of the Euston Arch to survive and one of the most spectacular parts of it. They are located just inside the main entrance to the NRM and their sheer size provides a good guide to the size of the arch.
These particular gates are the main ones that were located between the two front columns of the arch. Gates were also located either side of these and other gates were located to the sides of the arches flanking lodges and provided access to the platforms. The gates from the sides of the lodges are now peculiarly located at the National Tram Museum.
The sign next to the gates tells us the following:
These elaborate cast iron gates are from the Doric Portico that formed the entrance to the original Euston station in London.
The Arch remains at Euston for over one hundred years. Electrification of the line to Birmingham, Manchester and Liverpool required the enlargement of Euston station and as a result the Arch was demolished in late 1961. This caused considerable public protest.
In hindsight, it can be seen that the destruction of Euston Arch may well have strengthened the case for the preservation of major architectural structures.
The plaque from the Great Hall
The plaque was unveiled when the Great Hall was opened in 1849 and also marks the earlier opening of the station in 1838. It reads as follows:
The Great Hall
Was erected to the design of
And brought into public use
On 27th May 1849
It is the largest railway waiting room
In the British Isles. Measuring 126 feet in length, 61 feet
In width and 64 feet in height The flat panelled
Ceiling is the largest of its type in the world.
Euston station, the first main line terminus in London
Was brought fully into use on
17th September 1838
A silver model of the Euston Arch
It seems there were two such models made. One was made by the demolition contractor Frank Valori and presented to Lord Esher who is reported to have said: "made him feel as if some man had murdered his wife and then presented him with her bust". This model was given to the Victorian Society from whom it was later stolen and it remains lost.
This model sits in a case showing the different stages of Britain’s railways and therefore stands in the 1960s stage so as to mark the date when the arch was lost. The plaque below the arch states:
The London Midland Region
By Bernard M. Fairclough JP
The Clock from the Great Hall
I’d seen the clock in plenty of pictures of the Great Hall and in a picture of it standing at the NRM, but they didn’t prepare me for how big it is. At around 13 feet tall it towers over you. Sadly it’s tucked away in a dark corner at the NRM, a distinguished corner as it’s the next to the exit from their display of the carriages of the Royal Train, but a corner nonetheless.
The clock mechanism itself is older than the Euston Station it served for 125 years and is estimated to have been made around the 1820s. Despite being 180-90 years old it’s still keeping time.
The sculpture of Britannia stood over the door at the top of the stairs in the Great Hall that led to the Shareholders meeting rooms. Along with the plaque discussed above the sculpture is the only part of the Great Hall I know of to have survived destruction in 1961. Instead it suffered the ignominy of being displayed in the new First Class waiting lounge in the new station. By the 1990s the display was in a poor state and so Britannia was despatched to the NRM where she is now mounted on a stand where she grandly overlooks the large collection of railway memorabilia that is the NRM’s Warehouse. A note attached to her explains the following:
This group of statues by the sculpture, John Thomas, came from the Great Hall at London’s Euston station which was demolished in 1961. The comprise Britannia and her supporters, Mercury, the Arts a lion and a ship which represents commerce.
At some point, probably in the 1940s, the statues were given a protective coat of paint, but this is now beginning to flake, revealing the stone beneath.
The National Railway Museum’s conservation team is carrying out tests to find out whether the pain can be safely removed, so that the statues can be displayed in their original state.
Statue of George Stephenson
The statue stood overlooking the Great Hall at Euston Station and now stands overlooking the main display hall at the NRM. One of the greatest railway engineers in Britain and the world. The statue of his son, an engineer of equal skill and imagination, remains at Euston overlooking the area outside the concourse.
Model of the development in front of the station
I’d just found the Britannia sculpture when my eye caught a glimpse of a model of something that looked familiar. On closer inspection I discover a model of the development on the forecourt of Euston Station – the black towers designed by Colonel Richard Seifert. Completed in the early 1980s this model shows how they were intended to look and indeed how they did end up looking. Although not a surviving piece of the old station I thought I'd throw it in as something of Euston at York.
A wooden picture of the Arch
This wooden picture commemorates the 1829-1939 anniversary of the first run of the Rocket locomotive contrasting it with the streamlined LMS Pacific Coronation Class locomotive on the right. In the background is the Euston Arch and on the right the LMS headquarters building built next to the station on Eversholt Street.