King’s Cross gets its name from a monument built to honour King George IV which is situated at a junction known as the king’s crossroads. The monument didn’t last long, but the name stuck.
One of the most famous Britons of all time is rumoured to be buried in the King’s Cross area. The legendary Boudica, Queen of the British Celtic Iceni tribe, a genuine British folk hero, is said to be buried… wait for it… underneath platforms 9 and 10 at King’s Cross Station.
Slightly disappointing end to that rumour, but she was involved in a battle on this spot in AD60, back when King’s Cross was a village called Battle Bridge. The Queen of the Iceni tribe is reported to have had a significant battle with the Roman army in her quest to repel the invaders. There is still a small area named Battle Bridge Place between King’s Cross and St Pancras stations to this day.
Roman monks eventually built a church on the site where St Pancras Old Church stands today, their ambition being to convert the population to Christianity (something common throughout London as churches were built on old sites of worship to supplant previous religions). St Pancras Old Church, dedicated to the martyr saint St Pancras, is one of the oldest Christian worship sites in Europe.
The arrival of the Regent’s Canal heralded the arrival of industry, and the rolling fields and orchards once populated with small villages, made way for factories and gasworks, which quickly changed our country’s landscape and its fortunes.