St Pancras, London

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{area, part, region}
{city, large, area}
{church, century, christian}
{line, north, south}
{build, building, house}
{land, century, early}
{language, word, form}
{rate, high, increase}
{borough, population, unit_pref}

Coordinates: 51°31′34″N 0°07′04″W / 51.5262°N 0.1178°W / 51.5262; -0.1178

St Pancras is an area of London. For many centuries the name has been used for various officially designated areas, but today it is only an informal term and is rarely used, having been largely superseded by several other terms for overlapping districts.[1]



Ancient parish

St Pancras was originally a medieval parish which ran from close to what is now Oxford Street north as far as Highgate, and from what is now Regent's Park in the west to the road now known as York Way in the east, boundaries which take in much of the current London Borough of Camden, including the central part of it. However, as the choice of name for the borough suggests, St Pancras has lost its status as the central settlement in the area. The district now encompassed by the term St Pancras is not easy to define, and usage of St Pancras as a place name is fairly limited.

The original focus of St Pancras was St Pancras Old Church, which is in the southern half of the parish, and is believed to be one of the oldest sites of Christian worship in Great Britain. However in the 14th century the population abandoned the site and moved to Kentish Town. The reasons for this were probably the vulnerability of the plain around the church to flooding (the River Fleet, which is now underground, runs through it) and the availability of better wells at Kentish Town, where there is less clay in the soil. The old settlement was abandoned and the church fell into disrepair. However, some residence continued near the old church as is shown on the 1801 map of the area and in an 18th century landscape that turned up in 2007.

In the 1790s Earl Camden began to develop some fields to the north and west of the Old Church as Camden Town, which has become a better known place name than St Pancras.[2] In the mid 19th century two major railway stations were built to the south of the Old Church, one of them called St Pancras and the other King's Cross.[3] A residential district was built to the south and east of the church, but it is usually known as Somers Town. The term St Pancras is sometimes applied to the immediate vicinity of St Pancras Station, but King's Cross is the usual name for the area around the two mainline stations as a whole.

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