Speech Marks: The things they say about . . . The British Library

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The Independent Culture
'The new library will be one of the wonders of the world.' BL Chairman Lord Eccles, Times, 4 12 1973.

'We all feel that this was a decision taken by planners and librarians rather than by readers. It will cost the nation well over pounds 200 million.' Professor Hugh Thomas, Daily Telegraph, 31 12 79.

'All the alternatives to building the British library are far more expensive than the present estimated total of pounds 300m.' BL Chairman Sir Frederick Danton, Times, 18 10 81.

'It looks like a stale sandwich in a station buffet.' Prof Hugh Thomas, Sunday Telegraph, 28 3 82.

'Prettiness is simply inappropriate to such a building.' BL Chairman Lord Quinton, Times, 4 7 87.

'The final cost, if building continued, might be as high as pounds 1 billion.' Arts Minister Richard Luce, Sunday Telegraph, 20 3 88.

'The library will be incomplete, like most human achievements.' BL Chairman Quinton, Sunday Telegraph, 20 3 88.

'There won't be a vestige of concrete to be seen.' BL Chairman Quinton, Observer 26 6 88.

'It provides proof that the Modern Movement can inflict terminal environmental damage even without concrete.' Mira Bar-Hillel, Evening Standard, 4 7 88.

'Your grandchildren will love it.' BL Chairman Quinton, Standard, 4 7 88.

'My grandchildren will hate it.' Mira Bar-Hillel, Standard, 4 7 88.

'It looks like the headquarters for the secret police.' Prince Charles, Financial Times, 5 1 89.

'A bombshell hit us when we realised that not everyone could fit into the St Pancras building.' BL spokesman, Observer, 26 2 89.

'In the early 1980s the project's steering committtee failed to meet for three years. This is indefensible.' House of Commons Public Accounts Committee spokesman, Independent, 13 6 91.

'The building will be marvellous. Just think of the delays on the Channel tunnel.' BL Chief Executive Brian Lang, Guardian, 6 11, 92.

'An appalling soap opera.' MP Terry Davis, Telegraph, 5 11 92.

'We cannot give a date for opening.' Brian Lang, Telegraph, 6 11 92.

'I was not aware of the extent of the mess.' Lord Quinton, BL Chairman, 1985-1990, Telegraph, 30 11 92.

'We will finally be open to the public in 1996.' BL Chief executive, Dr Brian Lang, Times, 4 4 93.

'Have you ever seen plaster better than that?' BL architect Colin St John Wilson, Telegraph, 14 6 93.

'The new British Library will be a world landmark. Who is going to remember these controversies which trouble us so now?' Brian Lang, Time magazine 28 6 93.

(Photograph omitted)