Tracey Emin at St Pancras International

John Betjeman looks on as Tracey Emin’s new Terrace Wires artwork was unveiled at St Pancras International on 10 April.

Tracey Emin

I wonder what he’d make of it?

We’ll return to Betjeman shortly, but first, the artwork

Tracey Emin

Tracey Emin

The new artwork uses her statement handwriting in light, and is the largest she’s ever completed.

Emin – who isn’t usually a sentimental sort – seems to have been swept away with the romance of the station;

“I cannot think of anything more romantic than being met by someone I love at a train station and as they put their arms around me, I hear them say ‘I want my time with you’.”

I don’t dislike it as much as some critics (The Indy’s Michael Glover called it “The lastest example of dismal public art … lame and unlovely”) but I can’t help but think the phrasing is a bit clunky.

There’s also a political message too, Emin says it’s meant to be a warm welcome for everybody travelling into a post-Brexit London from Europe.

Tracey Emin

John Betjeman

A major figure in the 1960s campaign to save St Pancras from demolition, Betjeman described the idea like so;

“It would be a criminal folly to destroy a building whose name conjured up wondrous images of architecture and light in the mind of every Londoner”

As well as William Henry Barlow’s cavernous train shed. There’s something else that gets overlooked too.

Tracey Emin

The Clock

It’s a replica of the original platform clock which was sold to an America collector for £250,000 in the 1970s.

But, when they were taking down the clock it *gasp* smashed. The thousands of pieces were then sold to a Mr Roland Hoggard, retired train driver for £25!

Tracey Emin

Dent were commissioned to replace the clock, tracking down Hoggard to cats moulds of as many pieces as they could. Their £800 million refurbishment was finished in November 2007.

So, plenty of things to look up and admire when you’re sipping a glass of Champagne at Searcy’s! Do you like the new installation?

More London Inspiration

Tracey Emin

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