London is the starting point for a number of motorway routes. The M25 is an orbital motorway which enables vehicles to avoid travelling through central London and is one of the busiest motorways in Europe.
St Pancras is termed as the "Cathedral of the railways" and includes two of the most celebrated structures built in Britain in the Victorian era. The main trainshed (completed 1868), by the engineer William Henry Barlow, was the largest single-span structure built up to that time. In front of it is St Pancras Chambers, formerly the Midland Grand Hotel (1868-77), one of the most impressive examples of Victorian gothic architecture. Designed by architect George Gilbert Scott, the building initially appears to be in a polychromatic Italian Gothic style - inspired by John Ruskin's Stones of Venice - but on a closer viewing, it incorporates features from a variety of periods and countries. From such an eclectic approach Scott anticipated that a new genre would emerge. Access to the spectacular interiors of the former hotel is by tour only.
Recognising the growth in the outer suburbs of London and inner city congestion, he proposed the construction of an underground railway through the Fleet valley to Farringdon. His first proposal was that of an atmospheric railway, which was ridiculed, but he continued to campaign throughout the 1840s and 1850s. Various other schemes included a rejected plan for a central railway station to be shared by multiple railway companies. In 1854, a private bill for the Metropolitan Railway between Paddington and Farringdon received assent. Although not a director or shareholder, Pearson's publishing of a pamphlet and continued support eventually convinced the City of London to support for the project.
Pearson died of dropsy on 14 September 1862 at his home at West Hill, Wandsworth, and so was not alive to see the opening of the Metropolitan Railway on 10 January 1863. Pearson had refused the offer of a reward from the railway company, but, shortly after the railway's opening, his widow was granted an annuity of £250 per year.