Historic railway buildings to be converted to a new Waitrose

Posted: Monday 24th February 2014
  • Bennetts Associates reveals proposals for a sensitive heritage conversion to breathe new life into disused Victorian buildings
  • Restored buildings would house a new Waitrose supermarket and cookery school, as well as a new events and cultural space
  • Midland Goods Shed was once used by Queen Victoria to travel to Scotland and East Handyside Canopy once facilitated the storage and trade of potatoes and other perishables
  • Proposals form part of the ongoing transformation of King’s Cross, creating new jobs and providing new retail, cultural and education facilities

New designs have been revealed for the historic Midland Goods Shed and East Handyside Canopy in King’s Cross. Leading firm of architects, Bennetts Associates, has developed proposals that will see the two structures sensitively restored and converted into a new Waitrose supermarket and cookery school, as well as a separate events and cultural space.

Built in 1850, the Midland Goods Shed started life as a temporary passenger terminal, used while today’s King’s Cross station was being built. Queen Victoria departed from here on her way to Scotland in 1851. After the completion of King’s Cross station, the building was used for handling and storing goods that were brought into King’s Cross from across the country. The East Handyside Canopy was added in 1888 to provide a covered space for the transfer of potatoes and other perishable goods from rail to horse and cart.

This heritage of trade and food will be continued, through an imaginative conversion that will create space for a new 29,000sq ft Waitrose supermarket and 2,400 sq ft cookery school. Bennetts Associates, which has a reputation for its expertise in restoration and sustainability, has created designs that are intended to preserve the distinctive Victorian character of robust brickwork, sturdy cast iron structures and delicate roof trusses. Similarly, the design takes advantage of the grand spaces created by the original architecture of the Midland Goods Shed and the lofty height of the East Handyside Canopy.

Speaking about the new supermarket and cookery school, Waitrose Managing Director, Mark Price, commented:

“Our new King’s Cross store will contribute to the ongoing development of King’s Cross, creating up to 170 new jobs and building on the success of our cookery school in Finchley Road. The design is guided by sustainability, respect for heritage and will create an incredible shopping and inspirational learning experience.”

Speaking about the designs, Will Colthorpe of Argent, the Asset Manager for KCCLP, said:

“The transformation of King’s Cross, is all about blending the old with the new. The history and heritage of the site, adds character and roots the development and gives it a real sense of place.

Bennetts Associates have produced a superb design that will bring the Midland Goods Shed and East Handyside structures back to life, in a way that celebrates and preserves their Victorian identity.”

Speaking about the sensitive design approach, Julian Lipscombe, Director at Bennetts Associates, said:

“The two structures both have fascinating histories and stories to tell. Our scheme celebrates their gloriously idiosyncratic characters whilst introducing carefully considered but confident modern insertions to allow them to be brought back to life. The rich mix of proposed uses will allow the public to enjoy the dramatic range of spaces within for the very first time and will create a highly distinctive focal point within the heritage core of King’s Cross.”

The new designs form part of applications for reserved matters approval and listed building consent. Subject to approval, construction is anticipated to start later this year with the facilities due to open at King’s Cross in 2015.

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