Euston, We Have Lift-Off!


This Greek Revival propylaeum, or monumental gateway, the Euston Arch, was designed by Philip Hardwick, architect of Birmingham Cathedral, and erected in 1838. Its wilful demolition, approved by PM Harold Macmillan, Greek scholar, has been described as the greatest single act of civic and cultural barbarism in postwar Britain. The replacement, an ugly European glass stump, is one of the most hated buildings in the capital.

But now the Doric arch may be returning. Architect Terry Farrell, recently appointed architectural advisor to the mayor of London, has been drawing up a plan to turn London’s dismal Euston Road into a handsome avenue. Under this plan the arch would be rebuilt at an estimated cost of £10m, with rooms in its attic and basement to become bars and galleries. Lifts in the end walls will carry visitors up and down Hardwick’s tour-de-force. Here’s hoping.