King's Cross Voices

Argyle Square Sound Trail

This special sound trail was produced  by King's Cross Voices in 2006, as part of the London Architectural Biennial.

Argyle Square, the centrepiece of the trail, is typical of the topsy-turvy life and times of King’s Cross. Until very recently, its smart sounding name was tarnished by seediness and sleaze. The square and its housing was originally built in the 1830s, on the projected site of the Royal London Panarmonion, a wondrous flop of a scheme that imagined a botanical bazaar, suspension railway, music academy and art galleries set in ornate pleasure gardens. Instead Argyle Square houses, with their round-arched doorways and ground-floor windows, became home to the middle classes, artists and professionals. By the turn of the 20th century the square slowly began to give way to the lure of hotels for the visitors pouring out of the railway stations. Today, the gardens offer a rare local space to lounge in the summer sun, have a kick about or to shoot the hoops.

The trail is dedicated to the memory of Paul Collett, Camden's Senior Arts and Tourism Officer, whose support, expertise and enthusiasm were instrumental in setting up this project.

Listening to the sound trail

Each track denotes a separate stop on the trail. The musical prompt to move on to the next stop (except for stops 10 and 11) is a short extract from Luigi Boccherini’s Minuet from String Quintet in E, Op11 no 5 which you will first hear at the end of stop 1. It is an appropriate choice, as this piece of music is heard throughout the celebrated film 'The Ladykillers' (1955), filmed on location in King’s Cross.

PDF Documents to accompany the trail

Track list

Click on link below to listen to the track or to save to your computer and then save to your MP3 player:

  1. listen: Opening montage – "I wouldn’t live anywhere else" (MP3 2.6MB)
  2. listen: "The history of anything that could be seen from the front door or the back door" (3.3MB)
  3. listen: "When I first walked in there…"(MP3 3.8MB) 
  4. listen: "We lost a wonderful playground when they built the Town Hall" (MP3 2.8MB)
  5. listen: "The courtyard culture was very big" (MP3 3.3MB) 
  6. listen: "This church has a great tradition of working with the poor" (MP3 2.9MB)
  7. listen: "Heart and soul was in the community" (MP3 7.4MB)
  8. listen: "In those dark and lonely fields" (MP3 2.1MB)
  9. listen: "We’re here every single day" (MP3 4.5MB)
  10. listen: "I woke up blue screaming, but you were dreaming" (MP3 3.4MB)
  11. listen: "We were all knitting, then I think I must have lost consciousness" (MP3 2.4MB)
  12. listen: "Home-made toffee, ha’penny an ounce" (MP3 1.8MB) 
  13. "A copper would want to know what you was doing in Argyle Square (MP3 1.6MB
  14. listen: ""Bra, knickers, and high heel shoes" MP3 (9.2MB)
  15. listen: "I have the most lovely memory…" Closing montage (MP3 1.6MB)


Thank you to all the interviewees on this recording:
Pipz Ali, Harvey Bass, Queenie Chapman, Charles Chilton , Sioned Churchill, Thelma Dowsett, Henry Fitzhugh, Silvio Giovanelli, Sheila Hibbert, Reg Hopkins, Barbara Hughes, Packie Hughes, George Howarth, Barbara Jacobson, Jeana, Bill Jones, Karen, Cy Kirkman, Ray Knight, Jessica Mackenzie, Pamela Mansi, Jessica Marsh, Meg and Manu, Michelle, Jean Moakes, John Northeast, Catherine Packard, David Palmer, Simon Pearce, David Peers, Ash Rahman, Eleanor Spittle, David Starkey, Jacqueline Stillman, Robert Thorne, Lydia Vernet, Edith Watson and Lorna Whitehorn.


Alan Dein and Leslie McCartney with King’s Cross Voices volunteers - Bill Barker, Verusca Calabria, Sarah Friday, Barbara Prynn and Kim Ward.

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