Punch rises to a new station
Posted on January 03, 2008 by glyn
Three cheers for London’s St. Pancras station. The grand opening season of the new international Eurostar terminus included Punch and Judy. Three Profs performed on three different Saturdays as part of the upscale Victorian Christmas market and ‘place to be’ activities. Prof Eek, Prof David Wilde and myself did the honours and grand fun was had by all. The terminus is a showpiece, a grand refurbishment of a Victorian masterpiece once threatened with demolition – and now where the rail service from lands beyond the Channel Tunnel arrives in central London. (The temporary terminus prior to this was Waterloo Station – a galling destination for visitors from France, perpetually reminded of their defeat at the hands of the Brits in 1815). With all the national attention that was focussed on the opening of the new station it was grand to see that no-one thought that Mr. Punch was too outmoded or controversial to be part of the Xmas Festivities. It was an exciting venue to play, with the arrivals and departure boards showing services to Paris, Brussels and connections across Europe. The festive Londoners in the audience were joined by all manner of international Xmas travellers passing through in an excited holiday atmosphere. The picture above shows the official pitch in a quiet moment. That roped off area was the source of much to-ing and fro-ing between rival clipboard wielding functionaries in charge of respective aspects of public safety. It was positioned and re-positioned with all the concentration of a chess match. As one technician observed “You wouldn’t believe the Health & Safety implications here. We’re simultaneously a Grade 1 Listed Heritage Building, an international transport terminal and a building site”. Like Canute and the tide, however, the public ebbed and flowed where they chose. The clip-boards wielded no especial powers over them.
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