Construction work at Dr Williams’s Library during 2020 and 2021

Although the reading rooms are currently closed to readers and visitors, Friends events and Library seminars are still taking place in the Library building.

The Trustees agreed at a Special Meeting held in early March to a major scheme to reinforce the structure of the building and to improve the services (heating, lighting, and other mechanical and electrical facilities), subject to listed building planning consent. This will be first comprehensive repair and refurbishment of the Library building since it was built in 1848. As a consequence the work will probably take around fifteen months to complete.

The Trustees plan to use this opportunity to reorder the Library's use of the building, to add additional rolling stacks, to upgrade the environmental conditions under which the collections are kept, and to improve conditions for staff and readers using the public and office spaces. The work also involves the installation of a new kitchen and WCs on the ground floor, of a second lift and a new street-level entrance, making use of the loft-space, and replacing the roof.

This major project requires the building to be cleared of the collections before the end of 2019. The Trustees will endeavor to mitigate the disruption this will cause to readers and plans for the closed period are already at an advanced stage. An office will be established for staff and volunteers to continue work on the catalogue and collections, and possibly a reading room for visitors. It is intended to maintain the winter seminar series and annual conference. There are plans to provide access to the manuscript collections for a limited period before the construction work begins. Details will be provided when they are known. The printed collections will not be available during the closed period.

For further details please contact the Director, Dr David Wykes

14 Gordon Square, London, WC1H 0AR