Smithson, Alison & Peter: The Euston Arch and the Growth of the London Midland & Scottish Railway
Book Number: 019976
Thames & Hudson London, England 1968 approx 100 pages b/w illustrations - The Euston Arch, built in 1837, was the original entrance to Euston station, facing onto Drummond Street, London. Designed by architect Philip Hardwick, it was inspired by the Roman architecture Hardwick encountered on a trip to Italy in 1818 and 1819. Strictly speaking it was not an arch at all, but a propylaeum of the Doric order. The sandstone structure was designed for the London and Birmingham Railway (L&BR), mirroring Birmingham Curzon Street station, at the other end of the company's mainline. The arch was to be not only a fitting gateway to the midlands, but to the whole new world which the railway was to open up. A suggestion to move the arch was made in 1938 by the London Midland & Scottish Railway (LMS), which proposed the rebuilding of Euston Station according to an American-inspired design by Percy Thomas, a respected architect hired with the help of a loan provided by the government. After returning from a tour of modern stations in the United States, Thomas proposed a large stripped-Classical block with wings, which incorporated a hotel and offices as well as the station. This plan required the removal of the Euston Arch. Gerald Wellesley and Albert Richardson of the Georgian Group, a conservation organisation, managed to persuade Lord Stamp, chairman of the LMS, that it could be resited on the Euston Road, even though Thomas had insisted that it would not be possible to move it. Ultimately these plans for reconstruction were never realised as the Second World War commenced the following year.