After five years of restorative work St Paul’s Cathedral Library is re-opening its doors to the public.
Located on the Triforium floor by the south-west tower the St Paul’s Library has been restored to its former glory and is now one of the best-preserved 18th century interiors in London.
The previous library was almost completely destroyed (bar 12 volumes) in 1666 during the Great Fire of London. After this the current library was rebuilt in 1709 and restocked with rare biblical and liturgical texts to allow future generations at the cathedral to enjoy.
The libraries’ catalogue contains mostly theological, London based and cathedral-based works dating back as old as 1313.
The process of restoring the St Paul’s Library was a labour of love with the smallest details and features being investigated and considered. As part of the conservation the 13,000 books and manuscripts were painfully removed in 900 boxes to an old RAF base where they sat throughout lockdown before being catalogued and restored.
Not only were the libraries’ contents restored but the library itself saw new paint, a new lighting scheme, a new display case featuring historic cathedral documents as well as desk for readers.
Members of the public can visit St Paul’s Library by booking the Triforium tour of the cathedral or by making an appointment to access the libraries’ collection.
Dean of St Paul’s Cathedral, the Very Revd Andrew Tremlett, commented: “The Cathedral Library is a remarkable room, and remains one of Sir Christopher Wren’s great achievements. It is fitting that, as we mark 300 years since his death, his Library is able to reopen after five years of painstaking restoration.”