Building the Future

Building the Future will shape the development of the British Library’s campus in St Pancras, London – one of the great public buildings of the last century.

We're expanding the British Library’s campus in St Pancras, London

Published date:

What we will do

Our mission is to adapt and expand the St Pancras site, making it one of the UK’s most open, creative and innovative public spaces for the 21st century.  The objectives include:

  • more exhibition spaces, increasing public access to the Library's vast world-class collections
  • new facilities for learners of all ages, with expanded programmes for schools, colleges, families, adult learners and local communities
  • improved public areas and accessibility, with more places to sit and study
  • an enhanced offering for business users, building on the success of the Library's Business & IP Centre
  • a new northern entrance close to the Francis Crick Institute and the main St Pancras Station concourse
  • a permanent home for the Alan Turing Institute, the UK national centre for data science and artificial intelligence
  • flexible accommodation for third-party companies, institutions and research organisations seeking to work at the heart of the Knowledge Quarter.

Why we're doing this

  • The needs of the Library's cultural and learning audiences are rapidly outgrowing our current building's facilities including learning spaces and exhibition galleries
  • the nature of research has evolved very significantly since the Library was designed, with the revolution in digital content and the changing nature of digital research demanding new kinds of areas for collaborative, flexible and technologically-enabled spaces
  • the success of the Library's Business and IP Centre has created growing demand for new kinds of versatile start-up incubator spaces which cannot be met by the Library's current facilities.

How we do it

  • Appoint a commercial development partner (Stanhope plc) to develop the 2.8 acres of land to the north of the site creating new Gallery, Learning, Business & Commercial spaces and a new permanent home for the Alan Turing Institute.
  • Create new spaces in the current building including a new public restaurant, Members’ Room and an updated Knowledge Centre with new Members’ Bar, as well as refreshed Exhibition Galleries, Shop, Piazza, extended Learning spaces and new research spaces.
  • Contribute to the Library’s long term financial sustainability by way of a capital receipt and long term rental income share from the new development.

Key milestones

  • Continue engagement with external stakeholders, in particular the local community (2018 – 2025)
  • Planning Application process (2018 – 2020)
  • Design and construction of new building (2020 – 2025)
  • New Library spaces operational (2026).