Hornsey Library – official celebration

Official Celebration

As locals will know, the £3m Hornsey Library restoration project completed during Covid and the building quietly reopened around a year ago. So we’re happy to report a grand opening is belatedly arranged, this –

23rd November 2021 from 17:30pm – 19:30pm. All welcome.

Expect a plaque unveiling and music from the Haringey Youth Symphony Orchestra. Is it too late to invite Princess Alexandra back again?

      *Image credit: Curl la Tourelle Head


There’s much to admire in the renovation and the sensitive manner in which the project handled the grade II listed 1965 building. The greater part of the budget was directed at improving performance with new glazing, heating systems and roofing, whilst the entrance area is remodelled, the children’s library expanded, and a new lift installed. Meanwhile, original features are preserved and apparently the most difficult part was the protection of Fred Mitchell’s etched window map of Hornsey on the staircase, which had to be delicately removed before reinstatement into the new curtain walling. The main space retains its Scandinavian air, now with improved lighting in the form of pendant globes – though we’re not sure they ought to have removed the main desk. We’ll see how it works. A full account of the works is available via the RIBA Journal.

The library was the final, progressive, commission of the old Hornsey Borough and has long occupied a special place in local affections. Let’s hope it will offer a growing contribution to community events.

Friends of Hornsey Library

Library Services have noticed the absence of a Friends group and aim to put things right. If you’d like to be involved stay tuned we imagine.

Library concourse

One element was sadly overlooked by the project, the external concourse. Already in disrepair things were made worse by the contractors and the fountain square remains forlorn and fenced off, the weeds growing. However, we hear things are looking up funding-wise and remedial works may be expected in the new year. Not before time really. Hopefully this includes repairing the fountain, improved planting, and original paving retained. Also worth noting that Hornsey Town Hall re-opens in the summer, including the rear ‘Town Hall Gardens’, accessed through a new gate behind the fountain. So the area really should be fully repaired in advance.


  1. Adrian Essex

    The RIBA article offers these statistics:

    £2.7m total contract cost
    1,265m2 GIFA
    £2,000 GIFA cost per m²
    35.9 (116tCO²) predicted kgCO²/m³ in use
    29kWp rooftop PV array installed
    4,780 linear metres bookshelf capacity (including basement)

  2. Amanda E Carrara

    Good opening ceremony, would love to hear more detail about the project from the architects, maybe an illustrated talk is needed. The new space(s) great for all sorts of uses including the Festival (and books), T&Cs for use are needed. Am signed up as an official Friend


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