The Clock Tower is within St Pancras Chambers, the modern name for the former Midland Grand Hotel. a railway terminus hotel which was constructed at St Pancras by the Midland Railway from 1868 to 1876, with the hotel opening in 1873.
The architect was George Gilbert Scott, the great proponent of the style known as the Gothic Revival, a Victorian style with echoes back to the gothic era of the middle ages. The town hall at Armentières in north-eastern France was the inspiration behind much of the building.
Watch the excellent video by Sam Lane samlanephotography for the Londonist.
The Clock Tower room within the spire of St Pancras is our living room, with views over the local Kings Cross area, the City of London and beyond. It comes to life for musical recitals, for dinners around a large table underneath the clock or for artistic performances.
We have held some interesting musical and other events in the clock tower, most notably for our 50th birthdays when we had series of performances by Gisele Edwards, the aerialist, which can be seen here.
A more recent performance of her work Rasa, a choreographic exploration of the spatiality of sound can be seen here. We have a pre-rigged bar in the ceiling just in case we are visited again by an aerialist or rope artist.
This large room – 10m high - is actually a false bell-chamber, built in to the tower to give height to the spire above. However, as the building was a railway hotel rather than a cathedral or town hall, it never actually held any bells. It was originally a dark storeroom- until 2008 the windows we have today had wooden slatted louvres like are to be found in a true bell-tower. Those louvres were replaced with slatted glass panes with dappled markings on them to make them look a bit like louvres when you look up from the street below.
Within the room high on one wall is the old winding box where the clock could be wound weekly, lifting a heavy weight up the tall box on one side of the room to power the clock for a week.
The room has glancing views out to St Paul's Cathedral, the Shard of Glass (western Europe's highest building) and the City of London, as well as King's Cross Station. At the current time the spire above is used by a pair of wild peregrine falcons who feed off pigeons. We no longer have problems with pigeons on the balconies. We just hope that there are sufficiently many local pigeons for the falcons to remain in residence.
A contemporary copy of the John O'Connor painting of St Pancras in the Museum of London hangs in the clock tower room.
A pair of stained glass windows were salvaged from a 19th century house in Lancashire. The central roundels depict Aesop's fable of the fox and the stork, the stork unable to eat off a plate offered to him by the fox and the fox incapable of consuming the contents of a vase when he accepted the stork's return invitation to dinner: the moral being that tricksters can expect trickery in return.
This bedroom suite contains its own kitchen and en suite bathroom plus a sitting area overlooking Kings Cross and is where we like to welcome our friends to stay with us. The views of the new Kings Cross Square are particularly mesmerising and the window is the perfect place to stand and gaze at all the ant-like people wandering around below.
View the timelapse night-time video of the traffic moving in the Square below.
The master bedroom beneath the Tower is set in the lowest part of the clock tower. The shower and bath here are in an en suite bathroom up on a mezzanine floor above the bed which makes for a very unusual setup. From the bath one can watch passengers going in and out of Kings Cross, but they cannot see in from the station concourse.
The large oak reference library was built by Jon Lloyd on site and holds a tall movable library ladder to access the higher shelves.
There is an interesting App for the iPhone created by Guardian Newspapers, whose London headquarters is nearby at Kings Place in York Way. Dozens of stopping points are dotted around the district, at each one of which you can hear via the App a local person or historian talking about the area. One of us features at the clock tower location. Go to Guardian to download it.
Tours are provided of the apartment and other parts of St Pancras Chambers as part of londonopenhouse.org normally the penultimate weekend in September on 19 and 20 September 2020. All the 2019 tours have been booked and the 2020 tours will be bookable from 10am on 19 August 2020 at Open House. Be warned that all places are likely to have been booked by 1200 noon on that day. Viewing at other times of the year by prior arrangement only.
"Tompkins excitement is understandable. The actuary who works in the City may well have the most thrilling address in Britain"
"Whatever my expectations were, they were surpassed. The building was amazing. The view was brilliant. The host, the chef, such passionate people."
"La plus insolite. Clock Tower à Londres. Vue imprenable sur les monuments londoniens, à deux minutes de l'Eurostar...», ce pourrait être l’annonce pour cet appartement unique, situé dans la tour de l’horloge de la gare Saint-Pancras."
"the space makes full use of the original beams and Scott's stonework and brickwork, brought down from the Midlands by the Midland Railway company"
"This is No Ordinary Apartment"
Business Insider UK, November 2016