This morning, St Pancras International unveiled its permanent war memorial, the first ever in the station, created by artist and writer Fabian Peake, to commemorate all those associated with the station who lost their lives during the two World Wars.
This year, on its 150th anniversary and the centenary of the end of World War I, St. Pancras International is dedicating the 4-metre high memorial as a poignant reminder of the fundamental role the railways played during the wars and conveying the deeper significance of and connection to those who were killed in conflict associated with the station; reflecting on the lives of those who fought and died serving in the armed forces as well as civilians.
The memorial sits on St Pancras International’s Grand Terrace, close to the location of bomb damage from two prominent air raids on the station in 1918 and 1941 – the first of which claimed the greatest number of casualties suffered in any air raid on a London station during the First World war. Going forward, the artwork will also mark the location of the annual Armistice memorial held at the station on 11th November.
Three artists were invited to take part in a competition to design the station’s permanent memorial. After presenting their proposals to a panel comprised of representatives from HS1 and industry partners, Fabian Peake was selected for demonstrating a clear engagement with the public and a creative approach to the brief.
Fabian studied painting at Chelsea College of Art and at The Royal College of Art. His work has largely diversified during the past ten years and incorporates cut-outs, photography, drawing, writing, poetry and tailored wall pieces.
Inspired by the roles of the men and women that worked at St Pancras (Station, Hotel & Goods Yard), the 4-metre tall memorial is comprised of a series of job titles that represent those who left their work to fight and die for their country. Fabian has used vitreous enamel which has historically been used for signage by railway companies and is still frequently used today.
Dyan Crowther, Chief Executive Officer HS1 Ltd (owners of St Pancras International) comments: “There were plans to erect a memorial at St Pancras following the First World War, but a lack of funding in 1921 meant this never happened. The centenary was the perfect moment for all of the station’s rail community to come together to ensure we pay fitting tribute to those who lost their lives in the conflict.”
Fabian Peake, memorial artist and poet, says “When I discovered the Midland Railway Book of Remembrance, I was fascinated with the list of occupations. It really brought home that these were ordinary people, just like you and me, doing jobs that we still do today but they went to war and did not return. I’m delighted to have been selected to design this important memorial and hope that the piece will show that one hundred years on, we are all still remembering those who fought in the World Wars.”