Founders Reading Room
CLIENT: Royal Holloway University of London
DATE: February 2019
The original construction of the Founders building began in 1874, and was completed in 1881. The building and the college were a £600,000 “gift to the nation” by the entrepreneur and
philanthropist Thomas Holloway. The building was designed by the architect William Henry Crossland, and inspired by the Château de Chambord in the Loire Valley, France.
Quinn London’s Heritage division were contracted to complete the internal refurbishment of the Founder’s reading rooms, and to return the rooms to its orignal setting. These works included the creation of new staff, and post graduate facilities.
The project included cleaning and repairs to the ornate stonework, stone cornices, stone feature
mouldings, and stone window surrounds. All the stone cleaning and repairs were sympathetic to the heritage of the building, and non-aggressive to ensure that the original patina of the stone was retained.
The ornate ceilings, and walls, were cleaned back to their original finishes removing the build up of dust and soot accumulated over the 137 years of the building. The room was sympathetically redecorated to restore the Reading Rooms back to their original interior design.
We worked closely with our scaffolding partners to erect a carefully designed bird cage scaffold. to provide access, and a safe platform to work from during the cleaning process. Due to the restrictive access into the building , all scaffolding materials needed to be brought into the site through existing protected windows on the ground floor.
Following the removal of an existing non heritage
staircase, the stairwell was infilled to match the adjacent Greek Key style Oak Heritage flooring.
The Mechanical & Electrical services were all up- graded to modern standards. All redundant services were stripped out, and replaced with period style sockets and lighting, designed to enhance the unique features of the rooms.
The cabinetry of the Reading rooms, both fixed and freestanding were cleaned and restored.
Extensive repairs were carried out to the original flooring, and the floors were completely refinished throughout the four Reading Rooms.
Throughout the works we worked extremely closely with the RHUL, to ensure the careful protection of the building, the students studying therein, and general public. We communicated closely with the team to ensure that the day to day workings of the University remained unaffected during the course of the project