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Old 14th Dec 11, 07:26
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Default St. Pancras Hotel, London. Dec 2011.

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This is a bit of an unusual one, it’s not derelict but…is probably the most famous derelict building in London. That was all the persuasion I needed to swap my exploring fatigues for a shirt, and jump on a train down to London to see if I could have a wander round.
Here it is depicted in the 1890's:
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In the 1860’s a competition was set to design a hotel for St. Pancras. 10 Architects entered, all sticking to the budget, and the brief of 150 rooms. Then after the deadline George Gilbert Scott entered a design for a 300 bed hotel, which came in over double the budget - and instantly won.
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The East wing was complete and accepting customers by 1873, and the remainder of the hotel was open by 1876. The hotel was the most hi-tech building in the UK, possibly even the world. It boasted two water powered lifts (although these were infamously dangerous, killing several passengers). It boasted fireproof ceilings which was handy as the building was heated by coal and lit by gas. It was so hi-tech it even had electricity before the light bulb was invented! There were electric call bells in every room which guests would continually press as they didn’t understand the concept.
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Unfortunately all this technology, luxury and opulence was the hotels ultimate downfall; literally armies of staff* were needed to attend to the guests, and eventually the hotel was just too expensive to run. It closed its doors in 1935.
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Derelict Corridor: (Image: Getty 2002)

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Renovated Corridors:

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It became offices for British Rail staff just out of convenience. Who used it for fifty odd years…without ever replacing carpets or re-painting. And by the 80’s it was so threadbare they decided to move out.
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It lay derelict for twenty years.
(Photo during renovation, not mine unfortunately)

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Eventually the cost of lawsuits incurred by people and cars being hit by bits of falling building was getting too high, and it was considered cheaper in the long run to properly renovate the exterior at a cost of 9m.
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A planning application was approved in 2004 for it to be returned to a hotel and renovated to its former glory.

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6 years, and a 150m lick of paint later, it re-opened on 6th May 2011 - on the 138th anniversary of the day it opened. The top couple of floors have been converted to apartments as the Building Regulations are a little laxer with private dwellings than hotels. The penthouse sold for 10m off-plan, and is now estimated to be worth 16m.
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The hotel has been re-jigged about a fair bit to make larger, more luxurious rooms. It’s also been extended out the back to make up for the lost rooms. A weeknight single in the newer, uglier bit starts at 245 per night...
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A weekday single in the original part starts at 345 per night. Yet the average room price is an impressive 800 per night. It’s staggering to think they run at 96% capacity all year round.
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I’d love to stay the night here, if only I were a better blagger or if urbex paid a little better...
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This price rises all the way up to 10,000 for the Royal Suite. This is considered off limits to any visitors to the hotel, as well as 99% of staff. Although when I slunk up to the grand doors and tried the handle I was surprised to find it unlocked…
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The lounge is impressive, and much like the original hotel is packed with technology. A quick Google on my iPhone prices the Bose TV at over 7k, on the side sit’s a B&O iPod Dock at nearly a grand, although I later discovered that this wasn’t anything to get excited about, every roof here has one… The dining table seats 20 guests, and has 42” plasmas which pop out of the table if your guests are too boring.
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I didn’t push my luck and after taking a few photos and video clips, made my exit. Whilst feeling confident I took to the terraces and roof tops. Later that day I discovered the Royal Suite had been left open for a Mr Kanye West.
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There are over 3,000 Fleur de Leys around this stairwell, all hand painted by a father / son team:

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This portion was still used as a road by taxis right into the 21st century, the main company being Hansum Taxi’s. It’s now been converted into the reception area, and a function room, fittingly called ‘Hansum Hall’.* The roof is actually original.
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The base of the stairs, you'll recognise this from the famous Spice Girls “Wannabe” video

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The carpets were reproduced to exact replicas of the originals in Kidderminster. Well they were actually finished on site to ensure that the whole stairs are finished in a single piece of carpet!
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All of the materials used in the building are from what is loosely considered ‘the midlands’. The granite used for these columns was mined from Swithlands quarry in Leicester. I visited the resulting underground reservoir only last month, (Report here: www.urbanxphotography.co.uk/switherlands)
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Video: Dereliction Addiction 8:
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I have managed to amass over 100 architects drawings from the 2004 renovation, ranging from CGI's, to technical layouts, from to hand drawn sketches to survey photos. I've not included them here for copyright infringement reasons, however if anyone is genuinely interested in viewing them, do contact me.
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Thanks for looking.
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