The library was originally constructed as a Vestry Hall in 1865. It was converted to a public library in 1905 when the Carnegie Room and Lecture Hall were added. The building was re-modelled and extended again in 1936, but few alterations or improvements have been made in the interim.
We were appointed in May 2009 to draw up a masterplan for the future redevelopment of the building as The Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives. We prepared an access strategy and a fire strategy and drew up proposals for phased conservation.

Phase 1 included asbestos removal, alterations to doors,  glazed screens and re-wiring to provide a protected means of escape, alterations to the timber panelled entrance lobby to allow wheelchair access, an accessible wc, and construction of a stone access ramp,.


Phase 2 included re-roofing, external repairs loft insulation and provision for maintenance access. The plaster and stonework were were beyond the scope of the budget but the plaster ceiling has since been repaired; the stonework requires further funding.

London Borough of Tower Hamlets

Local History Library, Bancroft Road

70 Cowcross Street, London EC1M 6EJ   T: 02072536600
RIBA Chartered Practice
Kennedy O'Callaghan Architects LLP