Plumstead Library \

A new type of community building

A sensitive refurbishment of a Grade II Listed building and a new contemporary extension, that combines Library, Leisure and Cultural facilities all under one roof.

The Challenge

Plumstead Library was built in 1903, one of the first Carnegie funded Libraries, it sits as a prominent Civic building on Plumstead High Street. The library’s use has diminished throughout the past century, with only 2 rooms open to the public and a Seen as the first step in the regeneration of the High Street.

The Big Idea

Rather than closing down a key public asset, RBG saw the listing of the building in 2016 as an opportunity. Taking on the first phase of the Plumstead Urban Framework, the council chose to invest in the building, creating a new facility that combines a range of community aimed functions. Improved Library rooms, new Leisure facilities, reinstated flexible spaces, and a new café will create a new social destination for the residents and the High Street. Opening up more than 70% of the Listed Building to the public, providing a building for all in the community.

The Small Detail

As part of the refurbishment works to the Listed Building we are able to return spaces back to their former glory. One such space is the new multi-functional Vault. As part of the early design works the original vaulted ceiling was re-discovered, having been hidden away for over 70 years, and will be reveal the original ceiling with reinstated skylights, returning to the original 1903 design.

This is a substantial milestone for the project which is going to be at the heart of our longer-term aim of revitalising the High Street and regenerating the area under the Plumstead Urban Framework.

Danny Thorpe, Deputy Leader & Cabinet Member for Regeneration and Sustainability - RB Greenwich

Working from the Inside Out

The external design language is continued into the interiors of the project. The Individual Collection of Spaces are given respective identities, emphasising the dynamic range of facilities within the building.

The natural and welcoming Entrance is bookended by a sensitive and comforting touch to the Listed Building, and a robust and active design to the Leisure facilities.

Project Summary

Project Team

Structural Engineer: PBA
Project Management:
Quantity Surveyor:
Planning Consultant: BPTW

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