08 Jan 2016

Leisure, Arts, Culture and Events

Central Library – Building Works

The Central Library will be closed on weekdays for four weeks in March to make some improvements to the historic building and allow construction work to be carried out safely.

The team will use this period to expose and restore the Hayward Lights in the library floor, which were an original feature of the Charles Holden designed building. These will be restored as a key part of the library space for the first time since the 1980s.

This time will also be used to redecorate parts of the first floor and make much needed improvements to the accessible toilet.

The Hayward Lights glass blocks are specifically designed to allow light to the basement area. English Heritage was keen to expose original features of the building, and this was made a planning condition when permission was granted to convert the basement to school use.

Work to convert the basement area into the new Cathedral Primary School will commence from January 2016, and the library will be closed on weekdays between February 29 and March 24.

The library service will be putting in a range of measures to help customers affected by the closure.

  • The Central Library will continue to open at weekends, with extra hours planned for Sundays.
  • There will be additional weekday hours at the three nearest branch libraries (Redland, Junction 3 and Bedminster) during this period
  • The library team will also be signposting customers to other known central Bristol locations for public access computers
  • The service hopes to be able to use other council buildings as book drop off points during this time.

Fi Hance, Assistant Mayor for Neighbourhoods, said: “This was not a decision that was taken lightly, but the safety of our staff and library users must come before anything else.

“Although inconvenient, this approach will mean the noisy intrusive work can be carried out more quickly, without compromising the comfortable environment we provide for library users.

“We will be taking a number of steps to try and minimise the disruption during this period, with extended opening hours at nearby libraries and additional access to the Central Library on a Sunday.

“We would like to thank everyone for their patience at this time.”

Note to Editors:

  • Bristol Central Library is a Grade 1 listed building and considered to be one of Bristol’s greatest architectural masterpieces designed by Charles Holden, architect of many of London’s underground stations and winner of the Royal Gold Medal in 1936. 
  • In December 2013, Bristol City Council’s Cabinet agreed to the proposal for the Bristol Cathedral Primary School to lease the basement levels of the Central Library.
  • Reference books previously held in this area have been relocated to B Bond, the home of the Create Centre, from which items can be requested to be transported back to the Central Library for reference from January 2016.
  • The Hayward Lights were named after the Hayward Brothers, leading manufacturers of the prismatic glass panels installed in pavement to provide light to spaces below.