The Story Garden - temporary community garden to open on British Library site

Design for The Story Garden by Jan Kattein Architects

The British Library to open the Story Garden, a temporary community garden in partnership with Global Generation and Stanhope

This spring, the British Library, Stanhope and the educational charity, Global Generation, will work together to open a temporary community garden on the land to the north of the British Library’s building and in the heart of the Somers Town community. 

The Story Garden has its roots in the local community – this urban oasis is a response to the community’s wishes for more green space, and local people, along with British Library staff, will be involved in planting the garden during the community build phase this March. 

The British Library and Stanhope are delighted to be working with Global Generation, a charity specialising in Ecological Education and urban food growing as a foundation for connecting people to nature. In doing so they nurture the physical and mental wellbeing of children, young people and adults living in urban environments. 

Once the garden opens in May, it will be somewhere for people to come and plant and cook together, a space for growing community between people and the natural world. The site is 1 acre and will include growing space in planters, an orchard, a community kitchen and office in converted containers, a supported community allotment, a straw bale roundhouse and a MAKE space in partnership with UAL Central St Martins and Somers Town Community Association. The space will enable both Global Generation and teams within the British Library to deliver specific projects for the local community of Somers Town.

This project is part of the British Library’s wider work with the local community, with the aim of making the British Library accessible to everyone and reflecting the needs of the Library’s neighbours. The British Library’s community engagement team leads a programme of work which includes participation in neighbourhood forums and festivals, working with local schools, hosting curator led Show and Tells with the local community and volunteering at the C4WS homeless project in King’s Cross. 

The Story Garden forms part of the British Library’s plans to develop the 2.8 acre site to the north of the St Pancras building, in partnership with Stanhope. This new development will include an additional 100,000 sq feet for use by the British Library and the Alan Turing Institute, including space for exhibitions, business and learning facilities. The development will also include commercial space at the heart of the Knowledge Quarter, at the intersection of life sciences, research and innovation.  

Planning for the extension is in its early stages, and the community’s feedback is vital – this garden reflects the community’s desire to see more green space. The Story Garden is a space shaped by and for the local community.

The Story Garden has received planning permission from Camden Council – it will officially launch in May 2019 and will stay on site until the end of 2020, before building work begins. Further consultation led by the Library and Stanhope on the overall extension will be taking place during this year. 

Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library says 
“We are delighted to be opening the Story Garden, in collaboration with Global Generation and supported by Stanhope. The British Library is open to everyone, and we are committed to engaging with our local neighbours in King’s Cross, who are helping us shape the British Library of the future. We want to continue to make a positive impact within the community and this project will deliver green space as well as opportunities for coming together and learning from each other.”

Nicole Van den Eijnde, Director of Global Generation says 
“We are so excited to be working in partnership with the local Somers Town community and the British Library to set up the Story Garden, a new community garden in the heart of Somers Town for people of all ages to come together to learn from each other and to learn from nature. As with the creation of the Skip Garden, the Story Garden will be a garden of a thousand hands, involving school children, young people, residents and employees in the build and planting of the garden and we hope will offer a safe and green space for people to enjoy, learn new skills and share experiences.”

Slaney Devlin of the Somers Town Neighbourhood Forum says
“The Somers Town Neighbourhood Forum is aware of the importance of green and open spaces in improving the health and wellbeing of those living, studying and working in Somers Town.  We hope that the planned community garden will be a new green resource in the area and will catalyse a growth in planting and gardening in the wider community."

For more information:

Stephanie Knox
The British Library
t: +44 (0)20 7412 7329
e: stephanie.knox@bl.uk

Evenings and weekends:
+44 (0) 20 7412 7150

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