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The Shackleton Memorial Library

Opening of the Shackleton Memorial Library

This major enhancement of the Institute's Library and Archives was officially opened on Friday 20 November 1998 by the Honourable Alexandra Shackleton, daughter of Edward, Lord Shackleton, and grand-daughter of Sir Ernest Shackleton. The public were able to tour The Shackleton Memorial Library at the Scott Polar Research Institute the building on Saturday 21 November.

Shackleton Memorial Library wins RIBA award

The Royal Institute of British Architecture has announced its awards for 1999. Against stiff opposition, the Shackleton Memorial Library won one of four awards for the Eastern Region.

The judges comment read as follows: "This is a well-mannered and well-constructed building that adds significantly to the collection of spaces making up the Scott Polar Research Institute. The existing building consisted of a number of densely packed floors with lots of separate spaces. The new rotunda makes sense of all this. Various nicely handled touches have been added to the existing building in the form of ceiling lighting systems and areas of display. The most memorable visual idea in the interior is the glass lift, at the opposite end of the entrance lobby of the original shrine to polar exploration. It has the appearance of a shaft of ice that has plunged down through the building. The colour of the glass surround and the way daylight glows through it, deliberately evokes the painting of ice which has been hung opposite to it.


Progress reports by Captain Joe Wubbold

The Final Progress Report - 21 August 1998.
The Fifth Progress Report - 16 July 1998.
The Fourth Progress Report - 14 May 1998.
The Third Progress Report - 12 March 1998.
The Second Progress Report - 12 December 1997.
The First Progress Report - 7 November 1997.

Background Information

The new Shackleton Memorial Library, really an extension to the existing one, is to be named for the Shackletons, father and son. However, calling it an "extension" does not do the project justice, and because of the extensive work being done to the Lensfield Road complex, it is appropriate to now give the library its own name.

Those of you who have visited the Institute in recent years have noticed that there are two distinct periods of construction and architecture. The original building, dating from 1934, contains the lovely domes, with the paintings of the Arctic and Antarctic inside the domes. The newer building contains the library extension, an extensive basement with walk-in cold rooms, and a large lecture theatre. What follows will describe what is now being done, and the changes that have been and are being made to bring the Institute into the next century.

It has been clear for a number of years that it would soon be necessary to expand the library. Several years ago a decision was taken that now was the time to build this new structure, and a great deal of work was done to design a building that would fit into the existing structure, and fit into the site. John Miller and Partners architectural firm was selected to do the design work, and was subsequently selected as the architect to oversee the project. While the design work was underway, money was being raised, via an Appeal, to pay for the new library. The final cost of the building and related work will be about £1.5 million. The University contributed much, private donations from several individual donors covered more, the Friends of SPRI had a number of fund-raising activities, and the remainder came from such sources as school children holding special activities, and the Institute membership itself did its part.

On 1 September 1997, with funding in place, Haymills Builders were selected to build the Shackleton Memorial Library, and work started.

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