Recognition at last

Delighted that the British Library has been given a Grade 1 listing, but sad that architect Colin St John Wilson is not alive to see his visionary design finally recognised.

The British Library is one of the finest public buildings of the twentieth century and has a quality that will endure long after lesser buildings have faded. The courtyard in front of the main entrance has matured into one of London’s most successful new public spaces and the building’s dramatic yet graceful interiors inspire those who enter. The graceful way in which the British Library steps back from the frontage of St. Pancras railway station provides both respect and exciting contrast to its exuberant Victorian neighbour.

It often takes time for great works to be recognised, and it has been a long time coming for the British Library. At a time when so much of little quality is being constructed across London, it is reassuring to know that a great modern building is now protected for future generations.


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