200km of books successfully moved to high-tech home

  • British Library and Premier Moves relocate over 200 kilometres of collection items
  • Largest book UK move since 1998 move to St Pancras

The UK national library and a major moves contractor, Premier Moves, have just completed a massive project to migrate over 200 linear kilometres of library materials from London to a high-tech archival storage facility in West Yorkshire.

The British Library’s Collection Moves programme – the largest of its kind since the Library moved into its flagship St Pancras building in 1998 – saw some seven million books, journal parts, magazines and sound recordings move from a variety of sites in London to a purpose-built long term storage facility at the Library’s Boston Spa site, near Wetherby. The items involved are mainly ‘lower use’ material which is part of the Library’s wider collection of some 150 million separate items.

Leading single-source relocation company Premier Moves managed and implemented this vast move, in partnership with the British Library over a 36-month period. The project required tremendously careful planning and co-ordination to deliver the relocation of such large quantities of often unique material from the three storage sites in London and some local facilities in Boston Spa. The sheer volume of material to be relocated filled in excess of 200 000 crates; stacked vertically, this material would be as tall as 580 Big Ben Towers.

The British Library holds a copy of every publication produced in the UK and Ireland, adding over three million items every year. It has been one of the Library’s strategy priorities to move material held in off-site stores to purpose-built facilities which feature full temperature and humidity control to maintain collection items in archival standard conditions and therefore drastically increase the life span of the physical items.

The move to Boston Spa, one of the largest and most technologically advanced library repositories in the world, allowed the British Library to rationalise its collection storage and provide future growth space so it can continue to act as guardian of our national collections.

All items were packed in specialist crates secured with two seals to protect the contents. A highly skilled, dedicated and carefully vetted team was established by Premier Moves, who also invested in specialist new plant and equipment to enable the relocation of the 205 linear kilometres of material, weighing the equivalent of 900 elephants.

The collection items held at Boston Spa continue to be available in the British Library’s St Pancras Reading Rooms, which are used by around half a million researchers every year. Readers order items 48 hours in advance through the Library’s automated book retrieval system

“We were delighted to be trusted by the British Library to work with the team on this hugely significant and prestigious project. We have extensive experience in specialist moves but this was by far the largest project of this size in the UK, if all the crates were placed end to end the filing on its own would have stretched two thirds of the way from London to its final destination in Yorkshire. It was a privilege to be involved in delivering this important relocation project”, said Dave Russinger, Sales Director of Premier Moves.

”This was an ambitious and complex undertaking and we are delighted that the project has reached a successful conclusion,” said Chris Fletcher, Project Manager of the British Library’s Additional Storage Programme. “Thanks to the very detailed work by colleagues across the Library and from Premier, a greater proportion than ever of the UK national collection is now held in the kind of archival conditions best suited to prolonging the lifespan of printed material.”


For more information contact:

  • Ben Sanderson
  • The British Library
  • t:+44 (0) 1937 546 126
  • m:+44 (0) 7810 056848
  • f:+44 (0) 20 7412 7168
  • e: ben.sanderson@bl.uk


The British Library is the national library of the United Kingdom and one of the world's greatest research libraries. It provides world class information services to the academic, business, research and scientific communities and offers unparalleled access to the world's largest and most comprehensive research collection. The Library's collection has developed over 250 years and exceeds 150 million separate items representing every age of written civilisation and includes books, journals, manuscripts, maps, stamps, music, patents, photographs, newspapers and sound recordings in all written and spoken languages. Up to 10 million people visit the British Library website - www.bl.uk - every year where they can view up to 4 million digitised collection items and over 40 million pages.  

The Premier Group of companies provide at single source a comprehensive and cost effective range of office and IT relocation, churn, support, sustainable clearance and interior refurbishment services.

The first division of the Premier Group, Premier Moves, was established in September 1996 by its two co-owners and subsequent directors, David Russinger and Jerry Marks. With Operations Director Phil Oram, David and Jerry have developed Premier Moves into a major Business Relocation provider. The company has grown substantially, resulting in four divisions – Premier Moves, Premier Systems IT, Premier Interiors and Premier Sustain – which operate to provide bespoke solutions on an individual basis or as part of a fully comprehensive and integrated solution. The Group’s client base includes legal and financial institutions, retail and manufacturing companies, government and the public sector, museums, hospitals and libraries. The Premier Group has a turnover of £20million and employs 190 staff across the country.

For more information about The Premier Group, visit www.premiermoves.co.uk



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