Is it art? One of the controversial images from the clay sculpted frieze, which will complete St Pancras International Station's Meeting Place statue
Welcome to Britain? The shocking frieze which will greet visitors to London's Eurostar terminal
By BETH HALE
11th October 2008
From next summer, travellers stepping off the train at St Pancras International will be greeted with an artwork that sums up modern Britain. But it might not be the Britain we'd like them to see.
A copulating couple. A vagabond carrying a bottle. And a hoodie expressing himself with his middle finger.
All these are 'concept' designs for the bronze frieze which is to be installed in the station.
The frieze will sit around the base of the towering Meeting Place statue of an embracing couple, which was unveiled last year.
Designs in clay by the sculptor, Paul Day, were unveiled on Friday at the station.
London and Continental Railways, which commissioned the piece - thought to have cost half a million pounds - admits that the images will be 'bold and edgy'.
However, a spokesman for the company said the image of a man 'giving the finger' was an early concept and would not be in the final work.
The frieze will wrap right around the plinth at the base of the existing statue and will depict different journeys on a railway theme.
The images of contemporary life will be punctuated by historical flashbacks, some that echo the station's past and others that reflect how railways have defined modern society.
Artist Paul Day said the art work was ultimately upbeat and he did not think it would be a negative welcome to those arriving in Britain from abroad.
'It represents the richness and diversity of our lives.'