Community Cafe at the Carnegie

The Carnegie Library Hub (CLH) have some exciting information around our plans for a Community Cafe.

More communication will come later in the year once we have greater clarity on timelines.  In the meantime, some neighbours may be contacted about a recent application we put in for listed building consent and understandably may have questions.  There also seems to be some misinformation circulating around the proposals.  Therefore, before we are able to confirm all this exciting news later in the year, we would like to share a bit more about what we have developed.


The idea for a cafe is a popular one, scored well in a public consultation in 2015, and our local Carnegie Library Hub users and the community have shown enthusiasm for a cafe.  Our hope is that a cafe will offer more to local residents and increase visits to the library, hub, and gym as well as being a great local cafe in its own right.  All of which is aligned to our mission and vision.


The overall project is complex, and we’ve worked hard on securing the funding needed, sourcing café expertise, engaging multiple stakeholders and managing changes compatible with the Grade II listing.  This has all been planned in conjunction with the major Capital Works to undertake essential repairs and restoration throughout the building.

Planning permission has been granted for a cafe for some time.  Equipment installed will include a cafe servery, coffee and food storage, preparation and cleaning.  This will not result in any changes to the noise from outside of the building.

The Library

CLH have communicated throughout with Lambeth Libraries Service and have frequently benefitted from their feedback.  We invited Lambeth Council officers and the library staff to meet and listen to the proposals from potential operators.  Another Lambeth hub library, the Upper Norwood Library Hub an excellent community library hub, have a cafe and we were able to understand from the library staff what that experience was like.  CLH will not be permitting food or drinks into the library or other rooms and there will be no dogs allowed into the cafe other than guide dogs.  CLH will of course continue to work with the library staff to manage the holistic hub experience when the cafe is open.  Perhaps we could put some library books in the cafe too!

Listed Building Consent

Some neighbours may have received notice of the Listed Building Consent application.  Consent is required for changes to all listed buildings such as the wonderful Grade II Carnegie.  The architect firm Campbell Cadey have put together an excellent design for a cafe servery and provided a very clear heritage statement required for listed buildings. All cafe equipment and counters will be freestanding and all heritage elements will be preserved.  CLH will be enhancing heritage details during the latest Capital Works and the proposed cafe fit out.  In short it will look much better and emphasise heritage features for people to enjoy in this beautiful setting.


Our hope is that the Community Cafe will become central to the Carnegie Library Hub and will build on the strength of the library, hub and gym and drive-up community use of all of these excellent local resources.  We look forward to being able to circulate more updates in time.  Do get in touch if you have any questions on the listed building consent, we’d be happy to answer any questions you might have.