British Library Extension

Illustrative view of scheme from Midland Road

The British Library extension will create a new public space for London with around 10,000 sqm of new gallery, learning, business and events spaces, as well as new entrances to the Library from Midland Road and Ossulston Street. Above the Library around 60,000 sqm of commercial space will offer other organisations who share and advance knowledge a home in the Knowledge Quarter, alongside new headquarters for The Alan Turing Institute. Courtyards, walkways and a garden designed with the local community will provide locals with new green spaces to enjoy, while a £23 million investment will bring forward much-needed affordable homes close by in Somers Town.

We can now move forward with the project. We’re currently updating this website to share more information about the next stages of the project. Please watch this space for future updates or read on to find out more about the extension.

Illustrative view of British Library Foyer (looking south-west)


SMBL were selected by the British Library as their development partner to bring forward the plans for the site. SMBL have spent several years working with the British Library getting to know the Somers Town area and community leaders, resident groups, schools, and other organisations, and your views have helped inform our plans to make sure this project delivers for everyone in the .  This includes the important role that the Global Generation Story Garden has played in recent years.  

The British Library is home to one of the most important collections of books, manuscripts, newspapers, maps and sound recordings in the world, which it opens up to spark new ideas and realise new possibilities for everyone.

Now, this once-in-a-generation transformation will extend the Library’s St Pancras site to make space for new inspiration, enabling more people than ever before to use and enjoy its collection and buildings, and help bring to life the Library’s Knowledge Matters vision.

The project to take this vision forward is a partnership between the British Library and SMBL Developments (a joint venture between Stanhope Plc and Mitsui Fudosan UK Ltd). The project team includes architects RSHP, Arup, DSDHA (public realm) and planning consultants Gerald Eve.

Visualisation of the British Library extension

The British Library extension will provide a wide range of benefits for the local community. It will completely open up the British Library to the north-east and west. New publicly accessible spaces, squares and routes will be created to connect the Library to Somers Town and St Pancras.

The British Library extension will also become a meeting place where everyone can visit and enjoy the Library and the new opportunities created, and will provide a new headquarters for The Alan Turing institute, the UK national centre for data science and artificial intelligence.

There are three main aims to this project:

1. Creating new spaces for the Library

We’ll create more capacity for Camden residents, visitors, school children, students, researchers, workers and businesses, with new spaces for exhibitions and events, and additional facilities for learning and business support.

We’ll also improve public spaces and connections to Somers Town, opening up the Library to those on its doorstep with new entrances which will be accessible from both Midland Road and Ossulston Street, and new green spaces outdoors for locals to enjoy.

2. Growing the Knowledge Quarter

This site is located at the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, one of the greatest concentrations of knowledge-based cultural and scientific businesses anywhere in the world.

A significant part of the extension will include space to be leased to those who want to work and collaborate with businesses and communities in the Knowledge Quarter, joining other research-based institutions near the Library, such as the Francis Crick Institute and The Alan Turing Institute.

3. Unlocking London’s largest transport hub

The site will support the future creation of a new underground station for Crossrail 2 by connecting Euston and St Pancras. This will mean that the area is the most important transport interchange in the UK.

The Library’s new spaces and the Station Works infrastructure for Crossrail 2 beneath the site, as well as other benefits of the scheme, will be funded by new commercial space (c. 60,000 sqm). This will also create more job opportunities within the area.

Foyer view looking east towards Midland Road

Visualisation of the courtyard

benefits Of the Project

Approximately 10,000 sqm of new space for the British Library for culture, learning and business use

A new headquarters for The Alan Turing Institute

Opportunities for employment, training and skills development, both during construction and once the new spaces have opened

1,000 sqm of affordable workspaces, as well as incubator desks within the Library’s new business spaces with 10% available for free to local people

The establishment of the Somers Town Compact and appointment of a Compact manager to help create education and employment opportunities for local residents, as well as support for environmental projects

The Library will welcome more learners of all ages with new programmes and facilities to explore the collection, in particular increasing engagement with Camden schools

A £23 million payment to Camden Council to deliver a site in Somers Town for affordable housing (currently the site has permission for 35 private homes)



Payments towards pedestrian and environmental improvements including additional cycle docking and highways

A community garden on Ossulston Street co-designed and managed by the local community

New northern entrances to the Library on Midland Road and Ossulston Street

Better connections, creating new north-south and east-west routes through the British Library site

A series of new, large public and civic spaces for all to enjoy

A sustainable building designed to reflect the vision of the UN Sustainable Development goals

Get in Touch

Let us know any feedback or any questions and a member of the project team will get back to you:

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