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Demolition Day

Camley Street Natural Park

This gem of a place nestles just behind King's Cross and St Pancras' stations.  It's just a 10 minute walk away but.. don't go now because the reserve is temporarily closed.

It's been open for 30 years and provided a green haven for humans, birds, amphibians, butterflies and wild flowers.  Hundreds and thousands of school children have visited over the years.  Indeed, I remember taking primary school children pond dipping at Camley Street about 25 years ago!

The visitor centre, a pre-loved cricket pavillion installed in 1984, was long past it's use-by date!  London Wildlife Trust have been awarded a grant of £1,098,000 to redevelop the site by Heritage Lottery Fund.  This has been supported by a further £400,000 in section 106 funds from the King's Cross Central development.

Camley Street Natural Park will re-open in 2019.  I love working with London Wildlife Trust and I'm delighted to be documenting this massive transformation. The story of demolition day is an important part of the story.  It was one of those happy:sad days.  Karolina, the reserve's warden stood watching and photographing as the giant digger claw ripped the old, leaky building apart.

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I'll spare you the photos of the old toilets and the old kitchen but I spent some time looking at the 'Camley Street is changing' sign on one wall!  Crikey... it certainly is!  I spotted the sign on a wall inside and then watched as the outer walls were torn down and the wall and the sign were consigned to rubble.

The 'Wildlife sightings' board met a similar fate and again, fascinated me!  

The demolition began at 12noon, a really contrasty time of day and the tonal range was insane.  The photos aren't the best and the processing could be vastly improved but they mark a significant moment in time!

If you want to read more about this wonderful project, you'll find London Wildlife Trust's press release here.  Worth clicking just to look at the artist's impression of the new visitor centre.

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When the new visitor and learning centre opens in 2019 it will enable London Wildlife Trust to deliver an exciting activity programme that will reach almost 7,000 children and adults every year.

Each year, an estimated 40,000 visitors will explore the reserve and have the opportunity to learn about nature and wildlife conservation. Although surrounded by the city, the nature reserve, which is about the size of a football pitch, boasts a mosaic of thriving habitats including wetland, woodland, meadow and invertebrate ‘zones’.