King's Cross Voices

Memories (Helen Elster-Jones)

Helen moved to London from Cardiff as an art student.  She purchased a narrow boat and moved into the Goods Way Moorings in 1993. She recalls her first impressions of life on Regent’s Canal. She was interviewed in 2005.

“I was quite shocked about how quiet it was because you are in the middle of a City and King's Cross itself was quite quiet then although there were lots more prostitutes around but it was really quiet and we came down off the mooring and it was just like another little world and walking along the pontoon.  That was my first impression and then when I moved here it was very different because it was in the middle of winter … a bit of a baptism of fire with the boat because we had no electricity on the mooring then and my boat wasn't wired up for 12 Volts so I just had paraffin lamps and I was chopping wood and had a little tin bath and heated water up on the stove and stuff.

Until very recently King's Cross looked exactly the same as that. The Gasholders and everything and it just looked the same and it still had a really Dickensian feel which I have always really loved about this area. I think there's something really beautiful about it.  There is something really lovely about King's Cross … that mixture of form and function. Now it has really changed! Because we've had mass demolishing of buildings and new buildings springing up and it will change an awful lot more with the new development in the Goods Yards but it's quite sad to see all the funny old little … I feel sad that the peculiarity of King's Cross is disappearing because everywhere nowadays that you go is so … a kind of homogenous look to everywhere with every High Street looks the same. King's Cross had kind of resisted that and still had very peculiar little shops and it had a really funny little feel even though that feel was quite rundown.”

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