British Library signs Development Agreement with Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan

• The British Library has signed a development agreement with SMBL Developments Ltd, a consortium comprising Stanhope plc and Mitsui Fudosan UK Ltd, working with architects Rogers Stirk Harbour + Partners (RSHP) and engineers Arup

• Agreement is the next stage in Library’s plans to develop its 2.8 acre site to the north of the Library’s Grade I listed building at St Pancras, next door to the Francis Crick Institute

• New temporary community garden with Global Generation to be launched in Spring 2019

The British Library has signed a development agreement with Stanhope plc and Mitsui Fudosan UK Ltd to develop plans to build a 100,000 sq ft extension to the Grade I listed building, which will house state-of-the-art facilities for British Library learning, business and exhibition spaces, a new northern entrance to the Library and a new headquarters for the national institute for data science and artificial intelligence, The Alan Turing Institute.

The project will address the need for additional space at one of London’s most iconic buildings which is used by over 1.5 million people each year as a space for research, inspiration and enjoyment. 

King’s Cross, St Pancras has undergone significant development over the last twenty years. In 2014 the British Library co-founded the Knowledge Quarter, a collaboration of now over 90 knowledge, creative and research organisations all located within a one mile radius of the British Library. The new extension will progress its role as a centre for creativity, knowledge and innovation. This partnership between the British Library and SMBL will sustain the Library for future generations to enjoy.

This development will be facilitated by the construction of extensive commercial space for organisations and companies seeking to locate in the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, an area supported by MedCity and at the intersection of learning, data science and biomedical research.  

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library says: “We are delighted to have signed this landmark agreement with our partners, as we take a leading role in expanding the UK’s dynamic knowledge economy. This project ensures we continue to grow as an open, creative and innovative institution at the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, in service to our growing public audiences in London, the rest of the UK and around the world. We look forward to working with local and national stakeholders alike, as our shared vision takes shape over the coming months and years.”  

The British Library, Stanhope and Mitsui Fudosan UK will continue to work closely with the local Somers Town and wider Camden community to shape and guide the development. In partnership with Global Generation, they will open The Story Garden, a temporary community garden, this Spring. The garden will provide vital green space for the community and will stay on site until building work begins. 

Charles Walford, of SMBL Developments Limited says: “We are pleased to have reached this important milestone in the proposals to realise this exciting vision for the British Library. This is an innovative partnership that seeks to provide the Library with new cultural facilities whilst also providing commercial space to sustain the long-term future of the Knowledge Quarter. We look forward to concluding our agreements with TfL and thereafter engaging further with key stakeholders, including the London Borough of Camden and local communities.”

The British Library and SMBL are also working closely with Transport for London to ensure that infrastructure required for Crossrail 2 can be accommodated within the new development.  The proposed development is conditional on reaching this agreement, and securing planning consent. 

Jeremy Wright, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport, says: “The British Library is a world-class cultural and intellectual institution. From the Magna Carta to The Beatles’ manuscripts, it acts as a custodian of our written and spoken heritage, and showcases it to the world through its international programmes. 

“This agreement will help the British Library build on their existing world-class exhibitions, deliver more and better facilities for learners, and create some exciting new public spaces.”

Rajesh Agrawal, Deputy Mayor of London for Business, says: “This is fantastic news for London and will help cement the capital’s reputation as a leading centre for ground-breaking scientific research and innovation. 

“London’s Knowledge Quarter is going from strength to strength and our scientific institutions are the envy of the world. This scheme will deliver new jobs and demonstrate that London is Open to the world’s greatest scientific minds.”

More details can be found at: 


Notes to Editors


About the British Library

The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.

About SMBL Developments Limited 

Stanhope Plc creates new urban places, providing workspace, homes, hotel, leisure and retail uses, as well as cultural buildings. The company is known for the quality of its research, for driving excellent design and for innovative responses to occupier requirements. Stanhope has over 30 years’ experience working in partnership with communities, landowners, investors and occupiers and has delivered projects in excess of £26bn. Recent projects include White City Place and Television Centre, which have created over 4m sq ft contributing to the regeneration of White City including c.950 new homes, workspace, a hotel, studio space and leisure facilities. Other recent schemes include One Angel Court, 8 Finsbury Circus and Tate Modern 2. Stanhope recently delivered Bloomberg London, comprising over 1m sq ft of European HQ for Bloomberg in the City of London which won the RIBA Stirling Prize. 

The Mitsui Fudosan Group, headquartered in Tokyo and listed on the Tokyo Stock Exchange, is Japan’s leading property company. The company is renowned as a pioneer of innovative development schemes, and has delivered award-winning office, retail, residential and mixed-use schemes. Mitsui Fudosan established a London office in 1990 and has been developing significant mixed use and commercial projects in partnership with Stanhope since 2007, including most recently the redevelopment of the Grade II listed former BBC Television Centre in White City.

About The Knowledge Quarter

The Knowledge Quarter (KQ) is a partnership of over 90 academic, cultural, research, scientific and media organisations all located in a one-mile radius around King’s Cross, Euston Road and Bloomsbury. Possibly, the greatest cluster of knowledge-based institutions anywhere in the world.  The KQ’s partners range from internationally significant research institutes to emerging organisations in the creative industries. Partners include the British Museum, the University of the Arts London, Google, the Digital Catapult, Wellcome Trust and the British Library. All are involved in the creation or dissemination of knowledge. Its mission is to encourage openness, innovation, networking and opportunity by making the facilities, collections and expertise of our members understood, available and used as widely as possible for the benefit of researchers, creative people, students and the whole community.

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