Charing Cross station, in Victorian times, built with LEGO bricks

Seattle builder Dave Sterling has built a LEGO version of London’s Charing Cross Railway Station as it appeared in the late-Victorian period. Dave’s creation formed part of an international collaboration entitled Around the World in 80 days which was displayed at Brickworld Chigaco. Dave has really captured the intricate details and elaborate exterior features representative of Victorian architecture.

Charing Cross

A replica of the 70ft high Eleanor Cross was built in the forecourt of the station in 1865, and this is very nicely depicted in Dave’s build by the ornate tall ‘cross’ complete with tan microfigs, masonry bricks and arches.

The Charing Cross Railway Station that can be seen in London today is quite different from the way it appeared in the time of Jules Verne in 1872. The elegant curved glass roof actually collapsed in 1905 while the glazing was being repaired so it is great to see the curved glass structure represented in all its glory.  In addition, bomb damage in World War II destroyed the elaborate Mansard roof and chimney stacks but Dave has captured the original steep sloping roof and tall chimneys perfectly.

Charing Cross Station

TBB took this opportunity to ask Dave a few questions about the build:

TBB: Charing Cross Railway Station is a real London landmark, can you tell us a little bit about why you chose to build it with these particular features as it appeared in the late-Victorian period?

DS: The MOC isn’t a direct recreation, but my own interpretation based on reference photos and space constraints. Because of the collaborative display aspect for Brickworld, I had to narrow the build from my original plan of 64 studs wide down to 48. In doing this, I had to make some changes to the look and feel to keep everything (mostly) in scale.

Over the years, the building has changed quite a bit but since the book was set in 1872, I had to find pictures and build the station as it was in that time period. A tall order seeing as cameras were a rarity back then. Luckily it was mainly the roof that changed and I was able to find enough pictures of the old roof combined with detail pictures of the building today to make the whole thing work.

TBB: What is your favorite part of the build?

DS: The curved glass roof is one of my favorite elements of the build and I’m really happy the way it turned out. The shape/sweep and rigidity is just perfect and it’s fairly easy to set up and tear-down for transport. I let the test build sit on my table for a week to satisfy myself that it wasn’t going to blow apart on me due to the stresses from the bend. It’s amazing how strong the roof really is and it will hold a couple of pints sitting on top of it quite easily (we did some testing both during the build and at Brickworld).

I also am really happy with how the Eleanor Cross came out since it’s an iconic part of the station forecourt. Getting this to look right was a real challenge. Initially I was thinking of skipping it, but many thanks to my “brother from another mother” Heath Flor, for pushing me to add this in as it really completes the MOC.

TBB: Do you know who many pieces your completed build has? How long did it take to complete?

DS: Honestly have no idea how many pieces are in it, but the MOC stands at 48 studs wide by 128 studs long and is around 24″ tall. It took me about 4 1/2 months to build. I estimate that total build time was somewhere around 80-120 hours but it’s a really rough guess. Time flies when you’re having fun!

TBB: Overall being part of the this year’s most ambitious and massive feat of LEGO engineering sounds like an amazing experience…

DS: I’d like to thank my wife, Stacy, for helping keep me focused while working on this build and for being an amazing source of ideas and feedback on this and all my other LEGO creations. Also, many thanks to my fellow VirtuaLUG members for their support, encouragement, and being the vehicle that made me want to pursue this creation. Finally, thanks to all my fellow builder friends and other LEGO geeks out there for being a constant source of inspiration and building knowledge.

The LEGO community is unlike any other and you all inspire me to keep building.