Results of monitoring at the British library excavation

Brian Simpson, Paul J. Vardanega

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle (Academic Journal)peer-review

34 Citations (Scopus)
791 Downloads (Pure)


The main phase of excavation for the basements of the British Library at St Pancras, London, was completed in 1987. The project included basements extending up to 25 m deep, through the London Clay and into the Lambeth Group. The excavations were formed using both the top-down method and open excavation with ground anchors. Existing major buildings lie within 25 m of the site and London Underground tunnels lie below and adjacent to the site. The purpose of this paper is to present the results of displacement monitoring; they are summarised in the paper and presented in more detail in online supplementary data files. The retaining walls advanced towards the site by up to about 32 mm and the clays expanded rapidly on unloading beneath the excavations, causing the Victoria Line tunnels to heave by up to 22 mm. The slow progress of the project provided an unusual opportunity to monitor ground and structure movements in the surroundings before site activity began. Ironically, it was found that the largest settlements of adjacent buildings were caused by the installation of equipment intended to measure the settlements. Extensive condition surveys were carried out, but no damage to adjacent structures or tunnels has been recorded.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)99-116
Number of pages18
JournalProceedings of the ICE - Geotechnical Engineering
Issue number2
Early online date7 Feb 2014
Publication statusPublished - Apr 2014


  • field testing & monitoring
  • retaining walls
  • tunnels & tunelling


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