7 Pages

Railway Lands

WithEmma Jackson

We set out for our first walk on a crisp winter’s day in north London with Emma Jackson, who has been walking King’s Cross as a sociologist for at least a decade. Her short chapter, ‘Railway Lands’, is an exploration of the dynamic and contested railway lands of Euston, King’s Cross and St Pancras, focusing in particular on the reordering of space by two waves of infrastructural and social change, the arrival of the railways in the late nineteenth century and of the Eurostar in 2007. Taking the form of a walk, the chapter reflects on sensory traces of these changes in order to explore how the circulation of bodies and capital, and attempts to control unruly public space, have shaped this urban landscape. The walk weaves through the railway stations and the places behind them – including parks, graveyards, canals – using the idea of ‘the gothic city’ to describe the resurfacing of the uncanny in the encounter between the legible and illegible city.