George Peacock.

Observations on the plans for the new library, etc. online

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Printed by J. SMITH, Printer to the University;



I AM fortunately enabled, to distribute along with the
following remarks, lithograph copies of the Ground and
Library Plans in Mr. Cockerell's design and etchings, of
the same in Mr. Rickman's : and I trust that by their aid,
my readers will possess the power of estimating the validity
of most of the arguments which I have ventured to advance.
It may be proper to add a few words of explanation con-
cerning them.

The Ground Plan of Mr. Cockerell's design exhibits the
portion of the Building, which is proposed to be executed
immediately, in a pink tint, the present Library or Buildings,
which will remain untouched, in shade, and the rest in outline.
The stoae, which are not considered essential to the design,
are given in outline only. The same observations may be ex-
tended to the Library plan which accompanies it. The neigh-
bouring buildings and boundaries are also marked in shade or
outline, for the purpose of exhibiting the position of the New
Buildings with respect to them. It will thus be seen, that the
front line of columns in the double colonnade is immediately in
advance of the arcades of the present Library, and that the
elevation of the new will coincide with that of the old Library :
the passage through the whole building will lead to the south
side of Clare Hall Chapel which may thus be seen from
St. Mary's Church : the space in front of Clare Hall will be
considerably enlarged; and the Senate House Passage will be
widened to the extent of half its present width, by a sunken
area, for the purpose of lighting the basement story.

The positions and boundaries of the neighbouring build-
ings are not given in Mr. Rickman's Ground Plan, but it
may be adjusted to that of Mr. Cockerell, by attending to
the following observations. The centres of the columns of


the advanced portico arc 16 or 17 feet in advance of those
in Mr. Cockercll's colonnade, and are in the same line with
the end of the Senate House. The great jlight of steps extends
9 or 10 feet in advance of the portico: the retired jlanks of
the front are 5 or 6 feet in advance of the corresponding jlanks
in Mr. Cockerell's plan and therefore in advance of those
of the front of the present Library. The northern wall of
the principal Building, coincides very nearly with the northern
wall of the present Library, falling slightly within it. The
front towards Clare Hall is very nearly in the same line
with that in Mr. Cockerell's plan. If the dimensions of the
interior Court be correct, the south side of the basement of
the Building intrudes 5 feet upon the ground belonging to
King's College: if not, the dimensions of the interior Court
must be reduced accordingly. A line in the plan marks the
termination of the present cross Library.

G. P.

January 1, 1831.



ON the 3d of May, 1829, a Syndicate was appointed
by a Grace of the Senate, for the purpose of considering
the proper steps to be taken for enlarging the Public Library
and building new Schools, Museums, and Lecture Rooms.
The Members of this Syndicate were the Vice- Chancellor, the
Bishop of Lincoln, the Master of Catharine Hall, Dr. Havi-
land, Mr. Carrighan, Mr. Hustler, Mr. Lodge, Professor
Whewell, Mr. Shelford, Mr. Peacock, and Mr. King.

On the 2d of July, the Syndicate made the following
Report to the Senate:

" The Syndicate consider it necessary that provision
should be made, not merely for a large increase of the
accommodation of the Public Library, but likewise for four
additional Lecture Rooms, for Museums of Geology, Mine-
ralogy, Botany, and, if practicable, of Zoology; for a new
Office for the Registrary; for an additional School for the
Professor of Physic; and for other purposes connected with
the dispatch of the ordinary business of the University.

"They consider the extent of ground now the property
of the University, including the site of the present Library,
as amply sufficient for all those objects.

"They consider it expedient that application should be
made to four architects for complete plans, specifications, and
estimates, to be forwarded to the Vice- Chancellor on or
before the 1st of November next; that they should be


authorized to give the necessary instructions ; to offer the
sum of 100 guineas to each of the three architects, whose
plans shall not be adopted; and to make a further Report
to the Senate before the end of the next Term."

This Report was signed by the Vice-Chancellor, Dr. Havi-
land, Professor Whewell, Mr. Carrighan, Mr. Hustler, Mr.
Peacock, Mr. Shelford, and Mr. Lodge ; and the authority
which was asked for in the last paragraph of the Report,
was granted by a Grace of the Senate on the 6th of July.

Applications were immediately addressed to Mr. Wilkins,
Mr. Cockerell, Mr. Rickman, and Mr. Burton, who severally
accepted the terms of the competition, as proposed in the
preceding Report; and the following Instructions, with
ground plans of the existing buildings, were forwarded to


"Instructions for Architects respecting the building of
Museums, Lecture Rooms, Schools, &c. and additions to the
Public Library."

" It is required to provide for four Schools of Divinity,
Law, Physic, and Arts, for an Office for the Registrary,
for Museums of Geology, Mineralogy, Zoology, and Botany,
for three or four Lecture Rooms, for Workshops and
Unpacking Rooms, connected with the several Museums, for
a Model Room for the Jacksonian Professor, and also for
the Apparatus of the Plumian Professor, for a very large
increase of accommodation for Books for the Public Library,
including a Room for the Librarian and Syndics, a Reading
Room," &c.

" It is proposed to place the four Schools en suite on the
side * next to King's Chapel. They are to be so constructed
as to communicate with each other, when required, by large
double folding doors, and thus to form a series of Examination
or Lecture Rooms : the Professors' Pulpits to be moveable,
or so constructed as not to interfere with those latter objects :
the Law Schools to be placed at the east end, the Divinity
Schools at the west, and to be somewhat longer than the

* In the original Instructions more particular references were made
by letters to the corresponding parts of the Ground Plan which accom-
panied them.


other two : Galleries to be placed at the east end of the Law
Schools, and at the west end of the Divinity Schools, for
the accommodation of the Heads, Professors, Doctors, &c."

" At the eastern end of the Law School, it is proposed, if
practicable, to place the Registrary's Office and Record Room,
the first about 20 feet by 15, communicating with the Law
School and Record Room; the Record Room about 30 feet
by 20 feet, to be fire proof, and to admit of being perfectly
ventilated and warmed."

" On the north and western sides are to be placed en suite,
the series of Museums of Geology, Mineralogy, Zoology, and
Botany, and in that order : the first being upon the site of
the present Divinity Schools, about 70 feet in length : the
second about 30 feet, and the last 20 feet. The rest of the
space to be allotted for the Zoological Museum. They
must all of them admit of communication when required, by
sliding double doors. No provision is to be made by the
architects for the fittings of these rooms. With each Museum
there must be connected a workshop or unpacking room,
the two longest for the Geological and Zoological Museums."

" All these Schools and Museums must be well lighted, and
admit, as much as possible, of perfect ventilation : the airing
and warming of them, by heated air, to be provided for
according to the most approved plans, and to serve likewise
for the Library above."

" On the space between this range of Museums and Senate
House Passage, it is proposed to place two Theatres for Lec-
ture Rooms, one capable of containing from 4 to 500 people, the
other from 250 to 300 : also a smaller Lecture Room, capable
of containing about 100 people. They must admit of com-
munication with the Museums, and also with a Model Room
for the Jacksonian Professor (about 40 feet by 30) and the
small Lecture Room with the room for the apparatus of the
Plumian Professor. The entrances to the Theatres and Work-
shops to be from the Senate House Passage. The Lecture
Room for the Plumian Professor must be so placed, as to
admit of the introduction of the sun's light for two or three
hours in the middle of the day. The Lecture Rooms to be
provided with desks. Any of these rooms may be placed

A 2

on the first floor, if such a plan be more convenient, and
do not interfere with the arrangements of the Library."

''The Library is to occupy the whole of the first floor,
above the Registrary's Office, Schools, and Museums, so as
to complete the rectangle. The front of the present Library
(that is, the first floor) to be extended towards King's Chapel
and Caius College, over the Schools and Museum : a pro-
jecting room towards Caius College on the first floor op-
posite the west end of the Senate House, for the use of
the Librarian and Syndics : the present Cross Library to
be retained, either supported entirely on arcades or with
a passage through the centre : this may be extended also
towards Senate House Passage, if practicable and consistent
with the other objects described above, so as to form a
Reading Room : the books to be placed on projecting cases
as in the Library of Trinity College, which must be so
constructed as to admit hereafter of the addition of Gal-

"In case it is found that there is not on the south side
sufficient space for the four Schools and the Registrary's
Office and Record Room, a portion of the west side may
be taken, and in that case, the Divinity School would be
upon the west side opposite to Clare Hall : to supply the
space thus taken from the Museums, the Geological Museum
may be placed on the east side, reaching from the Senate
House passage to the south side of the North Library."

"The Syndics in proposing the above arrangements,
beg to be understood as merely suggesting such plans as
appear to them to be most convenient ; but leave it to the
Architects to make what alterations or modifications they
may think right."

"The several fronts to be of stone."
"No particular style of architecture is prescribed."
" The plans and estimates to be sent to the Vice-Chancellor,
on or before the first of November next ; the plans to be
drawn to a scale of eight feet to an inch; there must be
four elevations in outline of the several fronts, and two
perspective views, namely, south east and south west;
to be drawn and tinted in Indian ink."

The Members of the Syndicate who assisted in drawing
up the preceding instructions, were the Vice- Chancellor
(Dr. Ainslie), Dr. Haviland, Professor Whewell, Mr. Carri-
ghan, Mr. Hustler, Mr. Lodge, Mr. Peacock, Mr. Shelford,
and Mr. King: they were considered to be such as em-
bodied most completely, the great objects which the
University had in view and the opinions entertained by
the different Members of the Syndicate of the best mode
of effecting them : they suggested a precise arrangement
of the succession and position of the several rooms, chiefly
for the purpose of making their views more intelligible
to the Architects, than could have been done by any
more general statement of the wants of the University;
but it was mentioned in the instructions themselves, and
more expressly afterwards in private communications to
the Architects, that they were perfectly at liberty to make
such an arrangement and combination of the parts of the
building as in their judgment would most completely
satisfy the various purposes for which it was intended,
and would be best adapted to all the circumstances of the

The Architects were referred to different Members of
the Syndicate for further information connected with the
instructions, and for the purpose of supplying any omissions
in them: and it was through such channels that an enquiry
was made whether any of the present buildings could be
retained with advantager

No sum was mentioned as the limit of the expense
for which funds could be provided by the University, either
now or hereafter: but it was signified to the Architects,
that no part of the present Library or Schools could be
removed, before provision had been made in the new build-
ings for the reception of the books and for carrying on
the ordinary business of the University; it was therefore
perfectly understood that the two parts of the buildings
must be completed at different and probably distant periods
of time; and it was merely considered necessary to have a
complete plan in the first instance, with a view to its
ultimate completion as one great and uniform design.

The question of the expediency of retaining any part
of the present buildings was decided in the negative by
the several Architects, in the reports which accompanied
their first plans; and though the Syndicate considered it to
be their duty to submit the decision of it to their judgment,
in order to satisfy the scruples of many members of the
University, yet they had anticipated, from their own obser-
vation, the conclusion to which they came: for the present
Schools are dark, damp, crowded with pillars, and therefore
not convertible into Lecture Rooms and hardly to any
useful purpose. The Woodwardian Museum is a very
wretched room, quite inadequate to hold, much less to
exhibit, even a small part of the noble collection which
has been formed by the exertions of the present Professor
of Geology. The Registrary's Office is badly lighted, and
so damp and imperfectly ventilated, that a great part of
the most valuable records of the University are now rotting
in its closets. The south and west parts of the Library
above, are narrow, low and extremely mean in character
and appearance; whilst the clunch walls, of which all but
the front Library is built, make it hazardous to attempt
to increase their height, or to alter very materially the
size and distribution of the lower windows.

The same observations apply with still greater force to
the Old Buildings of Kings : for the rooms are considerably
narrower than the present Public Library ; and the position
of all the floors, and therefore of all the windows, would
require alteration before the upper part could be appro-
priated to the reception of books, or the lower part of
them for Lecture Rooms or any other uses. And though
a very general feeling exists in the University in favour
of preserving the beautiful old gate way and the adjoin-
ing front, yet it is very obvious, that their existence in
their original and unaltered form, would be quite incon-
sistent with even their partial adaptation to any purposes
useful to the University, whilst any material alteration of
them would destroy altogether the antiquarian character
upon which their historical interest as monuments of a
style of architecture may be said to depend.

In addition to the preceding reasons, it was further con-
sidered that the great expense of any adaptation of these
ruinous and dilapidated buildings, to answer the wants of
the University, would require a very considerable immediate
outlay of money ; whilst the constant and heavy charge of
keeping them in repair, would make it extremely doubtful
whether such a scheme would be advisable, when considered
merely as a measure of economy.

Presuming therefore that every plan which the Univer-
sity could venture prudently to adopt, would lead to the
ultimate removal of all the existing buildings, the Syndicate
next proceeded to consider what would, in such a case, be
the distribution and nature of the rooms, which were best cal-
culated to satisfy the various objects which they had in view.

They placed the Record Room in the south-east angle
of the building, in immediate connection with the office
of the Registrary and the Law School: for a room in such
a situation would admit of perfect ventilation, a consi-
deration of first rate importance for the preservation
of the University Records ; it was considered convenient
likewise to place the Office of the Registrary near the
Senate House, whether used for consulting records, or for
affixing the University seal, or for receiving fees; and the
Law School, if placed in communication with it, could be
used as a waiting room, when any considerable number of
persons were required to be in attendance.

They placed the Schools of Law, Physic, Arts and
Divinity, on the south side of the building, next to King's
College : the first and last were required to be larger than
the two others, with galleries at one end, for the reception
of the Vice-Chancellor, Heads, and Doctors, when used for
municipal purposes, or on occasions of ceremony : a School
of Physic was added to those existing, partly as a com-
pliment to that faculty, and partly in consequence of the
occasional interference with each* other of the Professors
of Law and Physic in the use of the same school. It was
proposed also to make all these Schools communicate with
each other by folding doors, when required, so that they
might be convertible immediately into a noble range of


Examination Rooms, for which the Senate House, as not
admitting of being warmed, or as being wanted for other
purposes, cannot always be applied; they considered that
they might likewise be used for Lecture Rooms by those
Professors who had no apparatus to prepare or no speci-
mens to exhibit : such as the Regius and Norrisian Pro-
fessors of Divinity, the Professors of Law and Physic, the
Professors of Greek, Hebrew and Arabic, and the Pro-
fessors of History and of Political Economy.

It was considered that a portion extending in length 1JO
feet on the side next to King's Chapel, would afford a
space sufficient for those Schools, inasmuch as it would allow
50 feet in length for the Law and Divinity Schools, and
35 feet for each of the others: the least of these rooms
if 30 feet wide, would hold conveniently 80 people, and
the largest 130: if their width was 35 feet, they would
hold 110 and 180 respectively, a number exceeding that
of the largest class which has ever yet assembled in the
University ; and as more than two of these Professors would
not give Lectures at the same hour, and as all the Schools
would be unoccupied until one o'clock in each day, and
two of them at least, upon an average, afterwards, they
would furnish ample accommodation for all the Professors
above mentioned, or for any other literary Professors, who
might afterwards be added to their number.

There are at this time seven Professors in this Univer-
sity, whose lectures require the exhibition of specimens
or of apparatus : these are the Plumian Professor, the
Jacksonian Professor, and the Professors of Chemistry,
Anatomy, Botany, Mineralogy, and Geology : of these,
the Professors of Botany, Mineralogy, and Geology, would
probably lecture in their own Museums, if such rooms
were sufficiently well lighted and sufficiently wide for
that purpose: the Plumian Professor, whose Optical Lec-
turas require the frequent use of the sun's light, would
require a room so situated as to admit of the introduction
of it for two or three hours during the middle of the day :
the Jacksonian Professor has an excellent Lecture Room
in the Botanic Garden, which he might continue to use, but


the situation of which is perhaps too remote from the centre *
of our academical population. The Professor of Chemistry
has a room near Queen's College, now used by the Professor
of Modern History, which is miserably dark and confined,
and totally unfitted for the preparation and exhibition of his
experiments. The Professor of Anatomy has a room in the
same buildings, which, though sufficiently convenient for
his purpose, is much too small for the accommodation of
his class. It was considered expedient therefore to provide
Lecture Rooms for as many of these Professors as possible,
the nature of whose apparatus or experiments was not likely
to interfere with the other objects of the building. Of this
kind were anatomical dissections, to the neighbourhood of
which many persons might object ; or any experiments which
might create a risk of fire, or the noise of which might dis-
turb the repose of an establishment applied to so many uses.
Upon these subjects however the Syndics felt considerable
difficulties in coming to any determination, and, to a certain
extent, it must be necessarily left to time and experience to
decide the nature of the Lectures of experiment or exhibition
which may be safely or conveniently given, in the places
provided for them. It is true indeed that they gave instruc-
tions to provide an apparatus room for the Jacksonian Pro-
fessor, though some doubts might be entertained whether
the noise of a water-wheel or steam engine, when in opera-
tion, even upon the small scale of a working model, could
be safely or properly tolerated in such a situation.

The Architects were directed to provide three Lecture
Rooms, one to hold 100, the other 250 or 300, and the third
500 people. The last was proposed by some Members of the
Syndicate to meet the wants of some great and extraordinary
occasion : but it would clearly be much larger than can be
necessary for any continuous Course of Lectures, and its size
would therefore more frequently be a nuisance than a benefit :

* The Public Library is nearly the centre of our academical population,
determined as the centre of position of the several Colleges, whose moments
may be considered as the products of the numbers of their students and
their distances from it.


and the enormous space which it must necessarily occupy,
makes it an awkward and embarrassing member of every plan
which has been hitherto proposed.

These three Lecture Rooms, the last being reduced to
a more commodious and more manageable size, would be
generally sufficient for those Professors whose experiments
could be performed or specimens exhibited in them: for
they would form, with the Museums, six Lecture Rooms for
the scientific Professors : and if a Museum of Zoology, or
more properly of Comparative Anatomy, could be added,
there would be seven such rooms : these, combined with
the Schools, would form a provision for a most noble series
of public Lectures, in every branch of science, and in every
department of literature, such as would be worthy of the
University. And, inasmuch as they would all of them take
place in the same building, and in the most central part of the
University, it would become possible for the audience of one
Lecture Room to pass immediately to another, without the
serious loss of time which is now occasioned by the necessity
of passing from one part of the town to the other.

The Museums of Geology, Mineralogy, Botany, and of
Zoology, were directed to be placed en suite, and to com-
municate with each other by folding doors, or otherwise.
They were required likewise to have distinct entrances,
and also communications with their respective unpacking
rooms or workshops. The Museum of Geology was
directed to be made of very large dimensions (70 feet long)
in order to accommodate the magnificent collection, which
at present belongs to it and which is accumulating every
year : the Museums of Botany and of Mineralogy were not
required to exceed 30 feet square each, a size which was
considered to be fully adequate to the collections which they
would at any time be required to contain : the remaining
space was directed to be appropriated to Zoology or to any
other purpose which the University might prefer.

The want of such Museums had long been the reproach of
the University, and lias formed a subject of wonder and asto-
nishment to foreigners visiting the University, with whom
they constitute the very essence of an academical establish-


ment It was true that very considerable collections of every
kind existed in the University, but they could neither be
shewn, nor easily used. The Woodwardian Professor of
Geology has converted his own private rooms into a re-
ceptacle for a great part of his collections, where, in any
other hands than his own, they would be altogether lost
to the public and the students. The Professor of Mineralogy

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