Letter: Dignified exit for Reading Room

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The Independent Online
Dignified exit for Reading Room

Sir: Tony Garrett (letter, 4 December) advocates the dismantling of the British Museum Reading Room and re-erection alongside the new British Library.

This is an idea put forward by this society last summer, having in mind the basically cast-iron structure of the building. However we were assured that this was not a practical proposition. If this is so, and given that, apart from the dome, the exterior of the building (never intended for public view) is of little aesthetic interest, we would not suggest the erection of a slavish replica on the St Pancras site.

Nevertheless, if it is intended to go ahead with the present plans for the Reading Room, the interior furniture and fittings should be carefully removed and incorporated in a new structure forming an annexe to the British Library. Here they could continue to perform a useful function with a degree of dignity which we fear will be missing in the revamped original.

MALCOLM CAMPBELL

Chairman

Camden Civic Society

London NW1

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