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British Library

Status: Looks like were stuck with it.

2003 I say, its a really bad show, that what they went and done to the building of the new British Library, what with one of London's greatest triumphs in Victorian gothic sited next door, you mighten't have thought something more complementary would have been a more fitting addition to the Euston Road.

Unfortunately for all of us, the resultant monsterousity is that which we see before us. No effort has been spared in featuring every complacently dull design that could ever be imagined. Coming in over budget and years too late, we're lumbered with a frightening storehouse of treasures that we may not gaze upon.

After many a year being housed in tandem with the British Museum antiquities, the Brit Lib collection finds itself moved from the ultimate in grandiour to the odious in odour. To trot through the spendid display cases of the old book galleries was an event in itself even without reading a word. But now the governmental deathmospheric of the new place is want of emotion, inside and out.

To the visitor, some major works are on bullet proof display, but there's no general access to the main material, thanks to the cunning set of rules keeping out all but the privileged. Its like a private art collection, advertised, but jealously withheld in some miserably morbid fortress, where none but the few can enter. A successful repellant to the would-be studious.

The design-amateurs needed to emulate the powerlines of the British Museum or maybe the spire crazy tones of its new neighbour St Pancras. They followed their noses and brought us this sink estate sandwich. At least they got the main gate right, and the statue is a warm attribute, as is the choice of red brick. But then freeze in your tracks as you behold the rest. What have we got for our money? It looks so dreadful.

This mighty carbuncle was $Zillions$ over budget, went years over schedule to build, and is anaesthetic over aesthetic, creating a loathsome landscape. Hardly a greatly grand setting for the nation's library. Of course, you could always go in for a quick wander around this mound of morguedom, and make your own mind up about the interior. But then again, dont bother: The teams of heavy handed mobsters on the door will make sure that if you aint on the list; you aint gettin' any further in than the entrance.

Charles (of London Town)

The London Destruction Website.