« ElőzőTovább »
each of the others in the performance of his duties and occupations, owing chiefly to the narrow space in which they are confined.
On account of its locality, the Department of Manuscripts cannot derive any direct advantage from the removal of the Natural History Collections; no space which will thus become vacant can be rendered available for the purpose of remedying the inconveniences here stated. As, however, the Department of Printed Books obtains the additional accommodation before mentioned, a portion of the space now occupied by Printed Books, very conveniently situated to supply the wants of the Department of Manuscripts. ought to be transferred to this department.
It is, therefore, proposed that the study, marked No. 57 on the groundfloor plan, be removed to the north end of No.55, now occupied by Printed Books, and that the site of No. 55 be attached to the Department of Manuscripts. In that gallery, one hundred and fifteen by eighteen, excellent accommodation, with abundance of light, would be found for twenty thousand manuscript volumes—for fifteen students at least (this number is ample if admission be strictly and bond fule limited to the class of persons for whom it is intended) at separate seats, each having a table space of two feet and a half in depth and four in length,—and for ten assistants or more, admirably placed for superintendence. The area of the eastern recess of N o. 56 would then be quite clear, and available for the exhibition of manuscripts, like the western recess in the same room. And when as large an exhibition of manuscripts as the space permits is accessible to the public (and still more accommodation for this exhibition might be found in the present Department of Manuscripts), the samc restrictions as have been suggested with respect to coins and to prints ought to be imposed on the handling of select manuscripts. _
It now remains to find space wherein to provide proper accommodation for the binder, as well as for the Trustees’ offices, for the Collection of Prints and for the Collection of Coins.
On the east side of the roadway parallel to the Department of Manuscripts, thcre is a piece of ground extending to Montague Street on the east, to the house N o. 30, in that same street towards the north, and t0 the Principal-Librarian’s house on the south. On a portion of this ground stands an old building, now partly appropriated to the binder and partly used as a guard-house; the remainder forms the garden attached to the residence of the Principal-Librarian. It appears to your Committee that by substituting a. new building for the one existing, and by building on the greater part of the garden, ample accommodation will be found for what is wanted. Your Committee cannot abstain from mentioning that this great sacrifice of personal convenience on the part of the Principal-Librarian was suggested and brought under their notice by that ofiicer himself.
It was some years ago suggested by the Government that the military guard might be dispensed with at the Museum; at times when the services of the army were pressineg required, it was felt that soldiers might be more usefully employed than in being kept for mere show at the Museum. It was, however, thought that on removing the military guard, better provision should be made for the safety of the Museum.
Then follow various details of minor consequence; to which succeed an enumeration of the additional space gained for the Collections of Printed Books, Manuscripts, Prints and Drawings, Antiquities, Coins and Medals, as well as for offices, store-rooms, bookbinders’ shops, &c., by the proposed alterations, as respects each of the several Departments of Printed Books, Manuscripts, and Antiquities; and a summary of the whole, from which it appears that the additional space gained by the Department of Printed Books amounts to an area of seventeen thousand eight hundred and three square feet; that the additional space gained by the Department of Antiquities amounts to sixty-seven thousand six hundred and ninetytwo square feet; and, finally, that the additional space gained by the Department of Manuscripts amounts to three thousand four hundred and thirty square feet.
Your Committee, proceeds the Report, do not think it necessary to give the particulars of the accommodation which the unappropriated portions of the basement floor would afford for the preservation of moulds, as well as for the formatore, for making and preserving casts of statues and other large objects, as well as of gems and seals, and also for providing such decent and suitable conveniences as the health and comfort of the thousands who visit the Museum absolutely require.
It is, perhaps, unnecessary to do more than simply to remind the Trustees that the want of space at the Museum has been felt and has been urged on the Government for several years past, and that during the last four or five years the additions to the Collections of Antiquities have been so rapid and so numerous, as to render it impossible to do more than provide for them temporary shelter at a considerable expense: and to the great disfigurement of the noble facade which entitles the Museum to claim rank among the most classical buildings of modern times. Should the above proposals of your Committee meet with the approbation of the Trustees and the sanction of the Government, they ought to be carried into effect without delay. The Government would, doubtless, lose no time in providing a proper building for the reception of such collections as are to be removed from the Museum; until this removal has taken place, no re-distribution of the vacated space can be undertaken; but the new structures proposed to be erected on ground now unoccupied ought to he proceeded with at once, that they might be rendered available as speedily as possible.
Your Committee are of opinion that the new building facing Montague Street, the building for the bookbinder, the building intended to be erected on the ground now vacant between the Elgin Room and the Print Room, and the construction of the new principal staircases, should be commenced immediately. The building intended to be erected on the vacant ground on the west of the Trustees’ Room (No. 11 on the plan), must, necessarily, be postponed for awhile. The alterations which might and ought to be rapidly completed, are those which will be required on the east side of the King‘s Library (No. 55 and 57), to transfer the gallery to the Department of MSS. from that of Printed Books.
The Lords Commissioners of Her Majesty’s Treasury state that ‘ they will be prepared to enter upon the details of these questions in communication with the Trustees, and even, if it should be desired, to offer suggestions upon them.’ Your Committee are of opinion that the proffered assistance should be at once accepted; and that in order to derive all possible advantage from that assistance a small Committee of Trustees should be appointed to carry on the necessary communications with the Treasury, either verbally or otherwise, and to consider with their Lordships all suggestions that might be offered respecting the