Seeley Historical Library
The Seeley Historical Library is the history library of the University of Cambridge, England. It is housed within the History Faculty building on the Sidgwick Site off West Road, Cambridge. Since October 2003, incoming books have been classified according to the Library of Congress scheme; before that a unique system was used. The library is open to university students only, seven days a week in term between 9am and 7.15pm (9am–6pm on Saturday, 1pm–6pm on Sunday).
The history library was established in 1807 with a collection of a thousand books donated by the will of John Symonds, professor of modern history. After some years of neglect, the library again became a priority in 1884, on the behest of Oscar Browning. It was moved from the gallery of the Philosophical Library to King's College in 1890. In 1897, it was renamed in honour of the historian Sir John Seeley. After a few more moves, the library finally ended up on the Sidgwick site in 1968, in the new History Faculty building designed by James Stirling. Today it accommodates over 300 students and houses more than 95,000 volumes. The skylight over the reading room is a crucial part of the design, although it is difficult to see from outside the building and contributes nothing to its silhouette.
Although the building was admired by students of architecture it is less well regarded by those who have to work in it. A 1968 review noted that environmental controls might be difficult to operate by humanities-oriented occupants. Expensive modifications were necessary to render it usable, and in 1984 the university came close to pulling the whole building down. The remodelling of Stirling's attempt to create an environmentally sustainable structure was announced in 2004. The project was headed by John McAslan, who said that "The main problem with the building is that it leaks, it’s too bright, too hot in summer and too cold in winter.”
Drainage problems and leaks have persisted in the Seeley Library, and a further attempt to remedy the issue will be made in the Summer of 2015, when an entirely new roof surface will be built.
- "Locating material in the library". Seeley Historical Library. Archived from the original on 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- "Opening Hours". Seeley Historical Library. Retrieved 2 April 2012.
- Endowments of the University of Cambridge. Cambridge University Press Archive. p. 184.
- "History of the Library". Seeley Historical Library. Archived from the original on 2012-06-21. Retrieved 2 April 2010.
- Banham, Reyner (November 1968). "The History Faculty, Cambridge". The Architectural Review. Archived from the original on 2015-05-03.
- Oxford Dictionary of National Biography, entry on Sir Geoffrey Elton
- "McAslan to remodel Stirling library". Building Design. 23 April 2004. Retrieved 24 March 2014.(registration required)
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