Granary Square and The House of Illustration

The Discovery of Granary Square, King's Cross

Granary Square - King's Cross - London

I recently booked a ticket to hear the illustrator Laura Carlin give a talk about her work at the new House of Illustration, near King's Cross. What I didn't realise, until I got there, is how great the redevelopment of the area behind the railway stations is. There's still lots to do, but the post-industrial spruce up that's happened so far is exciting to me. If you've not been there, it feels a bit like bits of the Canary Wharf area but I have a feeling it's going to have a lot more soul and far fewer branches of Pret. It also reminded me of round the Albert Dock in Liverpool. The main piazza, on a sunny day, now feels hot and feisty like a square in Barcelona, not waste ground near some gas tanks.

Granary Square - King's Cross - London

It's great that there is also the Grand Union Canal running round and through the site. When I see these watercourses in London, there is definitely something a bit quaint and old fashioned about them (but that's no bad thing).

Grand Union Canal - King's Cross - London

This rural scene of a father fishing with his kids, near some barges, surely is something you might see in the Midlands countryside - not 10 minutes walk from where you can catch a train to Paris.

Granary Square - King's Cross - London

If you get there soon, you can still see bits of the industrial architecture that has yet to be completely refurbished. I imagine most of the area was like this until a few years ago. Shame I missed seeing it, as I love progress but you've got to enjoy a bit of dereliction too, haven't you.

House of Illustration - King's Cross - London

The House of Illustration itself seems to be have been carefully ring fenced amongst all the building work. I took this shot as I left the talk later in the evening, and it reminds me of some of the scenes from that great film 'The Ladykillers' which was set in this area during the 1950s, I think. The trailer gives a little flavour of the film, if you don't know it.

The House of Illustration had put on a series of talks by current illustrators, and I'd definitely take another trip up in the future to any other events they might arrange. The purpose of the whole trip was to listen to Laura Carlin, an illustrator whose work I'd not seen before, but she/it was great. The talk was very interesting and inspiring. Her style is so free and not over-considered which was very liberating to see.

Illustration of a bus by Laura Carlin

Here is only one example of her style, but I urge you to investigate her output more, through her agents Heart Agency.