British Library and Global Generation ‘Story Garden’ Given a Very Green Light
The British Library has received planning permission to open a temporary community garden in Somers Town, in partnership with Global Generation.
From March, Somers Town residents and British Library staff will sow the first seeds on the land between the British Library and the Francis Crick institute in the creation of a temporary community garden. Camden Council approved the plans drawn up by the Library’s Community Engagement team to make use of the land while the British Library develops its expansion into the 2.8 acre site. Conceived in partnership with fellow Knowledge Quarter Partner Global Generation, an ecological education charity specialising in commandeering development sites for pop-up gardens, the new ‘Story Garden’ will be a space shaped by and for the local community, and will include an orchard, a community allotment and kitchen, a straw bale roundhouse and a MAKE space in partnership with Central Saint Martins and Somers Town Community Association.
Once the garden opens in May, it will be a place for people to come and plant and cook together. Both Global Generation and teams within the British Library will use the Story Garden to deliver specific projects for the local community. Nicole Van den Eijnde, Director of Global Generation said: “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.”
The urban oasis arrives as a response to the community’s wishes for more green space, and is part of the British Library’s wider work with the local community. In the dynamic and hyper-urban setting of King’s Cross, Slaney Devlin of the Somers Town Neighbourhood Forum hopes that new green and open spaces will improve the health and wellbeing of those living, studying and working in Somers Town.
The British Library has a dedicated team, led by Emma Morgan, whose remit is to further the British Library’s aims to be accessible to everyone and reflect the needs of its neighbours. Roly Keating, Chief Executive of the British Library said: “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.”
The Story Garden will remain on site until the end of 2020, when building work begins on the expansion of the British Library.