Last night I walked past Dick Whittington’s stone in Archway – the milestone, irretrievably tied in with its panto image of boy and cat, is framed inside a wrought-iron fence – and thought about the icons we pass every day that have no historical significance. One of these is the King’s Cross lighthouse, now sadly in disrepair and very soon to be pulled down. Everyone knows it, but nobody knows why it’s there – the most likely explanation is that it advertised a nearby fish restaurant.
King’s Cross once had a raffish carnival atmosphere – there was even a roller coaster in the middle of the road for a while around 1900 – and this adds to it. Perhaps the developers of the building it stands on will restore it, but I imagine that’s unlikely to happen. It wasn’t even attractive when it was still in one piece, but is one of the last reminders of the ‘old’ King’s Cross.
Still there, but for how long?