Tangled yarns from London's passers-through

008 : Zoonie (or Cait for short) in Kings Cross Station, Kings Cross
Born in 1970 in London. Zoonie (or Cait for short) currently works as an internet manager. Why London? Because it’s diverse, complicated, outrageous, confusing, enlightening, shocking, huge, unknowable. She digs the following London bits: It’s a pepperpot of people from all around the world, my infant children could crawl the floors of the greatest museums in the world when they were teeny, it is the home of Greenwich and the Royal Society (and all that implies), there is the most incredible food from everywhere, always within easy distance and the south bank promenade is beautiful on a summer Sunday. She is, however, a bit miffed by knives, guns and muggings, that it can’t deal with the elderly, Marble Arch on a bicycle, the poverty endured by illegal immigrants who serve us, clean up after us and make London tolerable and the stress of lack of community. For more info on Zoonie (or Cait for short) you should send an email or visit Moolies.

image: Preshaa

“A hollow understanding of togetherness wrapped around everyone.”


At Kings Cross tube, coming up to town to spend time with my Dad over Christmas, I flowed with the people crowding towards the escalator, but as they approached, the shuffling slowed, and conversation stopped. It was a few moments before I could see why. Thick black soot spread across the ceiling, like inverse flames. It was still only a few weeks since the fire. London Transport had to use the escalator, it couldn’t be avoided. People had to be able to leave the station. The fire had taken hold underneath it, red cigarette flares landing amongst the debris, dust, grease and oil. The escalator tunnel sucked air from below and belched fire and toxic smoke into the ticket hall above, killing 31 people.[1]

The escalator drew me up, inexorably, through the charred ruination of the roof and to the top. A hollow understanding of togetherness wrapped around everyone in transit: a moment, thick with horror and relief that it was not I that had been there, randomly, weeks before. A ‘chunk, chunk’ sound the only noise, growing louder. As the escalator dispensed its load, there was a woman standing, holding a bucket, clinking the coins inside, collecting for the victims’ families. She wore an air of shock as she stood there facing the escalator – the funnel - still bearing the vivid scars of its brief existence as a bringer of death, breathing it into the faces of people. Just…people.

…and every person stopped to give. And no one spoke.

referenced works

  1. The Kings Cross Underground fire of 18 November 1987 was the biggest fatal accident in the history of the London Underground. 31 people died when a wooden escalator caught fire, most probably due to a dropped match or cigarette, filling the ticket hall above with smoke and flame. Ref: Wikipedia

location information

  • Name: Kings Cross Station
  • Address: Kings Cross Station, London, N1 9AL
  • Time of story: Evening
  • Latitude: 51.53053285458183
  • Longitude: -0.12383222579956055
  • Map: Google Maps



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