Pace Building, Durham University’s Palace Green Library

Work has begun to address Palace Green Library’s most urgent conservation requirements with the beginnings of the refurbishment of Bishop Cosin’s Library. Seventeenth-century panel paintings have been conserved, and repairs and restoration to the roof and decorative wood carvings are underway.This important space is being restored to its former glory in a manner which reflects the pre-eminence of Cosin’s splendid collection, allowing it to be reinstated from the strong room in which it is currently housed.

Necessary work includes: the installation of Necessary work includes: the installation of level heating and environmental controls to a standard recommended by the National Trust; the conservation of original library furniture, shelving, mouldings and flooring; complete electrical re-wiring and the installation of sympathetic, museum-standard lighting; and the purchase of interpretive technology such as the British Museum’s ‘Turning the Pages’ system to display interactive digital facsimiles of key elements of the collections to visitors. Renovation work on the Victorian parts of Palace Green Library concentrates on the creation, on the first floor, of a dedicated, flexible exhibition area, to be renamed the Wolfson Hall, which meets the strict standard required of the Government Indemnity Scheme (National HeritageAct 1980). The Wolfson Hall will also provide public lecture and performance facilities. The Wolfson Hall will be able to display Durham’s library treasures, as well as artefacts from Durham University’sOriental Museum’s Designated Chinese and Egyptian collections, and fine art.

The Pace Building refurbishment is part of Phase 2C, the largest yet of a phased programme of improvement works for Durham University. The refurbishment provides improved facilities and includes the re-opening of the notable ‘Barker Reading Room’, with its rare archives and reading collections, within the newly upgraded research library.

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