A new pocket park has opened close to Euston station, as a temporary space while the HS2 station next door is being built, although, with the state of things, it might end up being as temporary as the unlamented green shed in front of King’s Cross station.
The new pocket park sits in a space that was occupied by the Maria Fidelis school, but as the school sits right next to the HS2 building site, it closed in 2019 and moved to another nearby location. Since then, one of the school buildings has been demolished and is now landscaped as the Starcross Yard pocket park.
Originally the school was an “industrial school” funded by charitable appeals and offered girls a basic education. The school evolved, from a convent boarding school for girls, to a fee-paying day school and then into a grammar school. In 1974 the school merged with St Vincent’s Secondary School and became Maria Fidelis Comprehensive School. In 2019 a new building for the school was opened in Drummond Crescent, and the current site closed.
Now that the former school yard has opened as a temporary pocket park, it’s been landscaped with a mix of planting around the edges, a small lawn, and a lot of paved areas and seating as a mix of benches and wooden raised areas.
A lot of what you see has been reused from local areas though, and there are some surprising bits of railway heritage here.
The cast iron pillars which form the pergola have been salvaged from the Kings Cross station development. The cobble setts, granite blocks and flagstones have also been reclaimed from previous highway schemes across the borough, including some of the original 19th-century cobbles from Cumberland Market. Finally, the granite kerbs on which the railings sit have been salvaged from Alfred Place as part of the West End Project works.
The railings and gates were refurbished from the former St James’s burial ground gardens, which were located just behind the old school building.
A bug garden sits in one corner, and while the planting is still new and rather thin on the ground, given time, it’ll fill the space to create a green wall around the north side closest to the old school building.
The park opened to the public earlier this month.