The 20th Century Society waded into the debate about the future of Holborn Library this week. The Guardian featured the Library in a story about the destruction of ‘some of Britain’s most remarkable buildings [which] are in danger of being lost as a result of development, dwindling budgets and short-termism.”
Holborn Library is included on a list of the top ten buildings that are under threat, according to the Twentieth Century Society. The director of the Society, Catherine Croft, is quoted in the article as saying: “We are witnessing the death of idealism and public spiritedness which underpinned so much of the best architecture of the 20th century.” Holborn library, built in 1960, is described in the article as “a milestone in the history of the modern public library”.
Camden Council is planning a large-scale redevelopment of the Library site, Cockpit Yard and Johns Mews, which will involve more than 100 residential units for private sale and social housing being built on top of the Library building and behind it on the site of the Cockpit Yard workshops. The Library is planned to be totally rebuilt, creating a café and events spaces but possibly less space for book stacks and reading areas. The scheme has prompted opposition from residents in nearby Great James St.
In addition – as reported in the CNJ – there are fears that some of the extensive archives in the in the library, looked after by the Local Studies and Archives Centre, are to be moved off-site.