Leading Museums, Museum Leaders

British Library £500m community-focused extn

Making plans … the British Library. Photograph: Roberto Herrett/Alamy.

Sarah Shaffi, Green light given for huge British Library extension, The Guardian, 4 February 2023

Community-focused £500m scheme will build new galleries, a learning centre, green spaces and a home for the Alan Turing Institute of data science.

An extension of the British Library’s St Pancras site, to include new galleries and event spaces as well as a community garden, has been greenlit.

The extension, costing £500m according to Construction News, will create a “brand new public space for London that’s connected to our local community and open to the world”, said Roly Keating, the chief executive of the library.

Camden council’s planning committee approved the plans, which will add approximately 100,000 sq ft of new space to the library, at a meeting at the end of January. However, the plans still have to go before the Greater London Assembly to finalise legal agreements.

The interior of the British Library … Courtyards and event spaces will enhance its use. Photograph: Jo Chambers/Alamy.

As well as galleries, the extension would include a bespoke new learning centre and additional event spaces, with new, “more informal” entrances to the library site on roads at its sides. At the heart of the extension, said the library, would be a “new foyer to host events with local communities and businesses”.

Green courtyards and walkways “for everyone to enjoy” would be complemented by a community garden at Ossulston Street. The library will also establish a permanent home for the Alan Turing Institute, the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence.

The extension, said the library, would give the venue the chance to welcome more learners of all ages with new programmes and facilities, increase the “range of services for people starting or growing small businesses, including, for the first time, dedicated maker spaces” and offer more opportunities for “skills and career development, and new jobs, particularly for people living locally and for Camden’s young people”.

It would also allow it to “celebrate local culture and heritage and develop events, exhibitions and opportunities for and with the local community”.

The “long-planned extension will make it possible for even more people to access and enjoy the library”, Keating said. “Working with our partners, we look forward to collaborating with our neighbours in Camden and beyond as we develop our site for everyone,” he added.

The library’s expansion is being done with development partners Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan UK, and involved an “extensive consultation process”. David Camp, chief executive of Stanhope, said the plans delivered “much needed new space for the British Library” and would “also provide a significant number of benefits and opportunities for the local community”.

Council of Australasian Museum Directors c/o Lynley Crosswell, Museums Victoria, GPO Box 666, Melbourne VIC 3001, © CAMD 2023
Disclaimer: The content of this website is provided for information purposes only and is not intended as a substitute for professional advice. No claim is made as to the accuracy or authenticity of the content of the website. The Council of Australasian Museum Directors does not accept any liability to any person for the information or advice (or the use of such information or advice) which is provided on this website. The information on our website is provided on the basis that all persons accessing the site undertake responsibility for assessing the relevance and accuracy of its content. No responsibility is taken for any information or services which may appear on any linked web sites. Hostgator.