Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The People Who Built 21st Century St Pancras; Line Worker: Sandblaster Bob Colwell Is Proud to Have Helped Restore the Victorian Station Which Will Now Be St Pancras International. "It's Very Moving to See Such a Wonderful Building Returned to Its Former Glory," He Said

Newspaper article The Evening Standard (London, England)

The People Who Built 21st Century St Pancras; Line Worker: Sandblaster Bob Colwell Is Proud to Have Helped Restore the Victorian Station Which Will Now Be St Pancras International. "It's Very Moving to See Such a Wonderful Building Returned to Its Former Glory," He Said

Article excerpt

Byline: VALENTINE LOW

WHEN the new St Pancras International station opens next month peoplewill no doubt marvel at the feat of construction that has transformed a classicpiece of Victorian architecture into an icon for the 21st century.

Few will spare a thought for the workers who toiled for years building the newterminus and high-speed line connecting London with the Channel Tunnel.

But thanks to photographer Brian Griffin, they have been immortalised in a bookdedicated to all those involved.

Mr Griffin took the pictures over three years. He said: "It just explodedwhen one person was photographed, they went and talked about it and thensomeone else would want to be photographed.

"I had workers being almost fashion models, butch and very sexy against a plainbackground, and management being far more introspective, more EdwardHopper-like. Then there were the groupsthey were like paintings, like a Frans Hals portrait." For pictures of themanagers who had already left the project by the time he was on board, MrGriffin had to travel to the US. "They are more David Lynch-like in approach,much stranger," he said.

A favourite picture is of bearded steel fixer Liam McDonagh. Mr Griffin said:"He looks as if he belongs to the time of Brunel, but if you look closely thereare all the modern accoutrements of the modern workerthe safety gear, the mobile phone." Mr McDonagh, 53, from Camden, said: "I'veworked on big projects like the Royal Opera House, but this moved me the most.You grow very involved after all that timethere's a passion and emotion there." Sandblaster Bob Colwell, 46, fromChatham, said: "It's very moving to see such a wonderful building returned toits former glory." Lead architect Alastair Lansley designed the 13-platformextension deck and the reconstruction of the east side of the station in theneo-gothic style of Sir George Gilbert Scott, who designed the original. …

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