Book celebrates campaigners hailed for saving King’s Cross

A series of hard-fought community campaigns that saw the people of King’s Cross defend their neighbourhood against developers are celebrated in a new book.

King’s Cross: A Sense of Place charts the recent history of the area and picks out three key battles that saw residents successfully stand up for themselves and their homes.

It was put together by King’s Cross resident Angela Inglis, the former head of English at Acland Burghley School, Tufnell Park, where she taught for 32 years before retiring in 2002.

She said: “It’s quite an amazing story, there was one campaign after another from 1973 onwards, and they all succeeded.

“If it hadn’t been for these campaigns we would have had an office city in King’s Cross and the character of these areas would have been destroyed.”

The first campaign saw the residents of Balfe Street defend their homes from demolition. It was led by Norma Steel, who was interviewed in the recent BBC documentary about Caledonian Road, The Secret History of Our Streets.

The book also covers the campaign against siting an international railway terminal at King’s Cross station, and the more recent battle to save the buildings of the Regent Quarter.

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Ms Inglis has been photographing King’s Cross since the 1980s and her images help to bring the book’s narrative to life.

She added: “I’m very keen on people being able to live where they want and the idea that King’s Cross is an area where people live, not just where they pass through.

“The developers don’t consider the people who live there – but the people are what make the city work.”

n King’s Cross: A Sense of Place also features chapters on the award-winning Kings Place development, which houses The Guardian, and a history of the area, from the days when it was called Battle Bridge. It is released on September 1.