Trainshed, St. Pancras Station, London. Designer: William Henry Barlow. Builders: Butterley Company 1868-77. According to Graham Abrey, director of the heritage adviser Ingram Consultancy, which worked with the firm of architects leading the restoration, "The pale sky blue paint used is very close to that applied in 1868. Barlow's thinking was that when passengers looked up on a fine day, the structure would melt away into the sky" ("St Pancras Station roof is sky blue heaven"). Photograph 2007 by Jacqueline Banerjee; compare the trainshed's paint scheme in 2000. [You may use this image without prior permission for any scholarly or educational purpose as long as you (1) credit the photographer and (2) link your document to this URL in a web document or cite the Victorian Web in a print one.]

The arch of the glass-and-iron train shed spans 240 feet and is over 100 feet high at its apex. This superb construction was an outstanding feat of Victorian engineering. When it was completed the massive roof, designed by William Henry Barlow, was the largest in the world. The roof is supported at ground-floor level by 690 cast-iron columns. This level was designed as a huge storage area for beer transported from Burton-on-Trent [""].

In what ways does this magnificent companion to William Henry Barlow's train shed follow on the Crystal Palace of 1851 or the structures at Kew, and in what ways does it represent a major departure?


Crook, J. Mordaunt. The Dilemma of Style: Architectural Ideas from the Picturesque to the Post-Modern. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1987.

Meeks, Carol L. V. The Victorian Railroad Station: An Architectural History. New Haven: Yale UP, 1956.

Last modified 17 August 2016