It’s been revealed that an investigation in 2017 as to the feasibility of restoring the Euston Arch put the cost in excess of £50 million.

The figure came from a House of Commons written answer to Michael Fabricant MP, who asked what plans there are to restore the Euston Arch as part of the wider Euston station redevelopment.

In the answer, Andrew Stephenson MP, who is also the Minister of State overseeing HS2 noted that feasibility work in 2017 indicated that reconstruction of the Euston Arch would cost in excess of £50 million and there were also challenges in terms of recovering the original construction materials.

That review probably followed on from a speech given by the former Transport Minister, John Hayes in 2016 who vowed to restore the Euston Arch as part of the HS2 station development.

HS2 station proposal (c) Atkins

The arch is a totem for a lot of people, mainly it has to be said because it represents a moment where the heritage lobby lost a major battle to save a piece of heritage, and forgiveness is slow in coming.

Part of the reason seems to be that most people interested in the arch see it as it was when first built in 1838 — as a grand entrance to a station.

John Cooke Bourne’s lithograph of Euston Arch 1839

A century of development though saw the arch being slowly hidden from view surrounded on all sides by offices and a large hotel.

Euston Arch 1936

By the time it was torn down in the 1960s, it was more a dirty facade that was squashed in on a side road that hardly anyone could see.

Euston Arch 1961

Since its destruction, there’s been a long-simmering campaign to rebuild it.

Some of the stones have been recovered as part of the London 2012 clearance works, and some were put on display outside the station in 2015. More than half the arch is thought to exist, albeit often in the back gardens of people who worked on its demolition!

Candidly, the arch was interesting, but not that exciting. It could, and probably should, have been moved somewhere and saved, but these were still the early days of heritage conservation, and people didn’t readily think like that back then. Indeed, the destruction of the arch probably did more to trigger awareness in the wider public about what could be at risk, and indirectly, the loss of the arch probably saved vastly more buildings elsewhere thanks to a newly fired up conservation lobby.

If the Euston Arch is to have a legacy, it’s all around us, in all the other buildings across the UK that were saved from their own demolition in the 1960s and 1970s.

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11 comments on “Euston Arch reconstruction could cost £50 million
  1. “It could, and probably should, have been moved somewhere and saved” – see also Hammersmith Bridge, which would look terrific like that lost bridge over the Surry Canal does in Burges Park!

    • Melvyn says:

      Perhaps we could sell Hammersmith Bridge to some American and use money raised to build a bridge fit for the 21st Century!

      That image of Euston Arch just before redevelopment shows how it wasn’t then a major feature on a wide Euston Road as some people imagine today!

  2. Maurice Reed says:

    It was a pity that it wasn’t dismantled, cleaned and re-elected somewhere but, the are better things to spend £50 millions on.

  3. George says:

    Waste of money

  4. Ramon Prasad says:

    Surely the new Euston station should have a front entrance commensurate with it’s new importance as the most important railway station in the country. NOT the dirty old arch that used to disfigure Euston Sq.

    Try a magnificent new station entrance for trains to Scotland,Northern City, N Wales. Put your creative thinking caps on architects: Beautiful and Functional.

    • Melvyn says:

      Just like Wembley Stadium where the old stadium had its towers and tge new stadium has a modern feature to go with a new station.

      Euston Station is also likely to gain additional entrances from east and west and maybe even north sides !

      The size of HS2 trains suggests the station may need to become double ended and size of new stations could make the old arch look lost and not so grand

  5. John Ward says:

    The estimate of 50M Pounds to rebuild Euston Arch seems to be a cost to put off reconstruction, not so different to the thinking of c.1960 when crazy estimates of rebuilding led to the demolition of the arch.

    Given that the reported cost to deconstruct and rebuild Wren’s Temple Bar in Paternoster Square in c.2004 was just over 3M Pounds, it seems a little challenging to believe the stated estimate to reconstruct the Euston Arch. This is a relatively straight forward stone masonry structure with a timber framed roof. Allowing for inflation and a larger structure, a guestimate of the reconstruction cost may more likely be more in the region of 10M +/_ 5M Pounds to rebuild the arch in the 2020s rather than 50M Pounds as is claimed, unless there is some enormous and very deep foundation substructure to build. Given a cost of 0.5-1B pounds to rebuild the whole of Euston Station, 10M or so is small change to rebuild the Euston arch. Perhaps the reconstruction cost estimate should be double checked.

    • ianvisits says:

      The Euston Arch was huge compared to Temple Bar – about 10 times the size, so that alone would push the cost up to at least £25 million in 2004 prices.

  6. JP says:

    The plans by Grimshaw and Atkins show either a tent-like entrance à la Mound stand at Lord’s or some glass and steel or some concrete and trees.
    Nothing particularly inspiring or gateway to the Midlands (and onwards) there.
    I know that Saint Pancras has employed brick to a tee but there’s a fair bit of it about in Derby (and onwards) so why not something new using this and not too hideously fashionable please?

  7. Dave says:

    Couldn’t a replica be made? Be cheaper than £50 Mi££ion surely. I have fond memories of the arch, but spending that sort of money is a bit much.

  8. Heather Parry says:

    The sorrow about the loss of the Euston Arch is not just about the arch itself but that the new station is ugly and badly designed. Passengers wait on the unfriendly concourse until platforms are announced shortly before the trains are scheduled to leave whereupon there is a stampede down the slope and those least able to stand are at the back and fail to get a seat. No seating was provided to discourage those living in the patch of grass outside from entering the station (there are a few on the concourse now) and until recently the WCs were ridiculously expensive. It’s impossible to enjoy travelling to or from Euston.

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