Spaceship sculpture at St Pancras Station called HMS Alice Liddell

A spaceship pulls in at St Pancras Station

Artist Shezad Dawood's head-turning HMS Alice Liddell now hovers above the concourse

St Pancras International has long been a physical junction where a broad mix of peoples, products and cultural influences intersect. It’s a daily melting pot of commerce and commuting if you will, and a place with which the locally born-and-raised artist Shezad Dawood feels a natural affinity. It’s only fitting that his vision of a spaceship sculpture at St Pancras Station would become real.

How the artist found his spot at St Pancras Station

When he won the recent contest to become the latest artist to showcase work against the splendour of this gothic-meets-modern-day rail interchange, his imagination conjured up a gleaming spaceship, where the Victorian station meets steampunk, Star Wars and Alice in Wonderland on a psychedelic journey into our uncharted collective futures. 

Named HMS Alice Liddell, after the women’s rights campaigner thought to have inspired Lewis Caroll’s Alice,  Shazad’s spaceship sculpture offers a fantastical vision where the iconic spires of St Pancras form part of a sci-fi vehicle – very much as the sleek functionality of the Eurostar terminal grows out of the historic, Grade I-listed Barlow shed arches.

When art intersects transportation

“I wanted the work to speak to both St Pancras’s history and also to its dynamic future,” says Dawood. “With everything that is going on, it’s important to celebrate London’s diversity and big heart, and I hope this project, with its meeting of past and future, allows us all to imagine alternative pathways, and how we might collectively work together to travel in new directions.” 

His piece is the latest in a long line of acclaimed public artwork to have riffed on the unique setting of St Pancras, including Ron Arad’s gleaming, rotating blade Thought of Train of Thought, and Tracey Emin’s long-standing neon Brexit commentary I Want My Time With You.

Adding an immersive layer

To really go through the looking glass, there’s a whole augmented reality layer to HMS Alice Liddell available on your phone by scanning a QR code, which you can see a taste of it here. The Instagram filter can be accessed via the St Pancras Instagram account. Pointing your phone at the sculpture generates a number of moving images on the screen.

Accompanying the animations is a series of podcasts and sound immersions that respond to the themes within Dawood’s artwork from the musician JayaHADadream, who is part of the Nottingham-based all-female WondHERland Collective. The collective is attached to New Art Exchange, a contemporary art space in Nottingham, with which Dawood has established an ongoing relationship.

HMS Alice Liddell can also be seen in AR when you visit

With the original Alice in Wonderland manuscript located just over the road in the British Library, Dawood seems to have neatly tied the multiple influences of his piece – and its setting – into an exciting new highlight of the neighbourhood that you should go and check out.

Discover more of the places to eat, drink, socialise and shop under one roof in Camdenist’s Local Guide to St Pancras Station

JOURNEYS

You can see HMS Alice Linnell suspended above the escalators near the German Gymnasium restaurant (over the road) and opposite the jukebox at St Pancras International. More info here.

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