Libraries win Oxford Preservation Trust award

1 November 2010

OxUni_TCW_groesques2-12_webThe Bodleian Libraries have won a Small Projects award from the Oxford Preservation Trust (OPT) for the newly-replaced grotesques on the north-west wall of the Old Library.

The nine badly eroded stone grotesques and associated stone work needed repair and replacement. The Bodleian Libraries in partnership with the University Estates Directorate and the OPT launched a competition, 'Millennium Myths and Monsters', inviting children to submit their ideas for replacement of the grotesques, because the originals had crumbled away over many years with no historical record of what they had once looked like.

The winning designs were selected from hundreds of competition entries. Children’s books provided inspiration, with designs for the new grotesques including Tweedledum and Tweedledee from Lewis Carroll’s Through the Looking Glass and the lion Aslan from CS Lewis’s The Chronicles of Narnia. Oxfordshire stone carvers Alec and Fiona Peever interpreted and transformed the winners’ designs into the finished grotesques. The new grotesques were unveiled in a special ceremony by children’s author Phillip Pullman in September 2009.

The University Estates Directorate has also received a Letter of Commendation for the restoration of the railings, the historic gates and associated masonry around the Bodleian Library and Clarendon Quadrangle. The railings around the Bodleian central site surround some of the oldest buildings in the University. Conserving the railings involved their temporary removal to facilitate essential maintenance and repairs to both the metalwork and surrounding masonry. The gates and railings were transported to a controlled environment for treatment. The masonry was cleaned and repaired on site. When the masonry repairs were complete, the metalwork was replaced in its original position.

Sarah Thomas, Bodley’s Librarian, said: ‘The Bodleian Libraries have an ongoing commitment to conserve and preserve their unique and historic buildings. We are pleased that our efforts have been recognized by the Oxford Preservation Trust. ’

Last year, the Oxford Preservation Trust presented the Radcliffe Science Library with the Environmental Award from for the new glazed link between the two halves of its building. The glazed element between the Jackson and Worthington wings replaced a 1930s extension.

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