Major progress made in Library renovation
Throughout Michaelmas Term 2022 and Hilary Term 2023, restoration of the Exeter College Library has made steady progress. Since our last update, which covered the project’s dedication to preserving the College’s history, including any archaeological discoveries, the Library, though still clearly a construction site, has made significant aesthetic and structural progress.
Significant progress has been made in the main wing of the Library. The works on the roof have been largely completed and the stonemasons are working on restoring and repairing key elements of the stonework. Most of the windows have been put back following repairs and restorations. The underfloor heating installation is also nearing completion. Very importantly, the steel beams inserted in the early 1900s have been removed and the ground floor of the main wing has now been brought back to the form initially designed by Gilbert Scott. Where possible, stone salvaged from the initial stages of the project is being repurposed and used elsewhere in the building.
So far, the renovation has required that the Library be largely empty of furniture, but new samples of the desks, chairs, and bookshelves have arrived, giving a better indication of what the finished study areas will look like. The burgundy and navy coupled with the light wood will make for an elegant and open-looking study space.
There has been significant progress in the main hall of the Library
A sample desk and chair
The most dramatic changes are visible in the annexe. Where a few weeks ago the annexe looked like an empty chamber, the mezzanine has now been built and installed. Though aesthetically it is far from finished, the structure already gives a good idea of the intended experience of a light and airy workspace looking over the Rector’s Garden. Perpendicular to the mezzanine is a floor-to-ceiling arched window that has been hidden by bookcases since the 1950s. It will add to the natural light in the room, bolstered by skylights which will soon be installed. While there is much work ahead, we can start to appreciate just how transformative and beneficial the restoration work is and just how exceptional a study space the Library will be when it is revealed in Michaelmas Term 2023.
The mezzanine in the annexe has now been installed