Society of Genealogists to vacate Islington headquarters – with developer hoping to turn it into offices

The Society of Genealogists library, pictured in 2015. Photograph: Chris Reynolds / Geograph

For over a century, the Society of Genealogists has helped people trace their family history and discover more about their ancestors’ lives.

The digital revolution means the Society, founded in 1911, no longer needs its old headquarters, which has been the scene of many a revelation for its clients.

It is now moving its genealogy library out of its three-storey 1960s home in Charterhouse Buildings, a short street off Goswell Road in Clerkenwell.

The “stub end” street is close to the William Harvey Heart Centre, which  tackles heart disease and strokes. and the Queen Mary University Charterhouse Square Campus.

The society moved its headquarters there in 1985 but, according to a planning report, advances in digitisation means it no longer needs the building.

The report said: “Their work has become digitalised and thus they no longer have a requirement to physically store data and records.”

Developers want to refurbish the building and create a five-storey extension and change the use of the space taken up by the library into offices.

One whole floor will be offered to small and medium-sized businesses.

It is just 50 metres from the Charterhouse Square and Hat and Feathers conservation areas.

In their report, council planning officers said the proposal “would not adversely affect the character nor appearance of the area”.

Applicant S Berg also wants to create a terrace for the office workers to use and reclad the building and put in a new entrance and machinery on the roof.

Planning officers have recommended that next Thursday’s planning committee greenlights the scheme.