The IHR Relocation Blog has moved

http://blog.history.ac.uk/

The IHR’s new blog has now been launched, covering news and activities from across the whole Institute. All of the old posts from the relocation blog can be found at the new location, and there will continue to be frequent updates covering news and developments.

The IHR Blog can be found here.

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IHR refurbishment project gets underway

SH frontISG Construction Ltd has been awarded the contract for the rewiring and refurbishment of the IHR wing of the Senate House north block.  They are carrying out some preliminary inspections and surveys at the moment but during the week commencing Monday 24th June they will be setting up their site compound.  This will be in the corner of the Russell Square car park, between the tower and the IHR wing.  The movement of materials and waste to and from the site compound will be governed by a traffic management plan which has been designed to make the process as safe as possible.

The Russell Square car park will be closed to all but service and delivery vehicles from Monday 24th June, but the Malet Street car park will be reopened and may be used from that date.  There will be occasions when the Malet Street car park has to be closed, but advance notice will be given and space will be made available elsewhere for disabled drivers.  Cyclists and pedestrians will still be able to use the Russell Square car park and safe access routes will be marked out.

The refurbishment will last until July next year and although the noisiest of the work has been scheduled to take place out of the University’s working hours, there will inevitably be some disturbance from time to time.  We will keep this to a minimum but it will generally not be possible to stop the work in response to complaints about noise.  Your understanding and patience is requested.

The completion of this project will allow IHR to return to fully refurbished library, seminar and office space in the north block in time for the start of the autumn term next year.  The rest of the empty space in the north block has been leased to SOAS and they are working on their own refurbishment plans.  We will give updates on the progress of the IHR and SOAS refurbishments from time to time but in the meantime, please direct any questions to the Estates projects office on extension 8224.

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Supporting the IHR in its re-development

Last year the IHR celebrated its 90th anniversary.  For much of that time, the IHR has occupied the North wing of Senate House without much in the way of renovation.  Those of you who have visited us over the last decade or so will have noticed how marvellous the South block of Senate House looks after its refurbishment.  Those of you who live too far away to visit us in person will be able to find glimpses of the South block in blockbuster films such as the upcoming Batman movie. 

Many of the costs associated with the refurbishment of the IHR have already been met or agreed upon within the University of London budgets but there is so much more that we would like to achieve.  To that end we have created a short video where our director, Professor Miles Taylor, explains a little of what we do and what we would like to achieve.  If you would like to help out please take a look at our ‘support us’ pages on the main IHR website

 

Video Text

Hello, my name is Miles Taylor and I am the Director of the Institute of Historical Research here in the heart of the University of London, in Bloomsbury. The Institute – or ‘IHR’ as everyone knows it – is a remarkable place. It was founded in 1921, arriving before the rest of the University and quickly becoming a key part of history in the UK. Nowadays, our library of printed primary sources has grown to almost 200,000 volumes. We host over 60 research seminars per fortnight. We provide a huge range of listings, guides, teaching and training materials and services for historians across the UK. Our junior fellowship programme is the largest in the country, and we are home to a number of research centres. The highlight of our year, the Anglo-American conference, draws together hundreds of scholars from around the world to debate and discuss the main historical topics of our time. In recent years we have become a digital operation as well. The principal collections of our Library have been digitised as British History Online, all our listings services are now on the web, and we run an innovative virtual programme of podcast and live-streamed events.

The Institute is now embarking on an exciting £3m modernisation of our Senate House headquarters. In the autumn of 2013 we shall move back into a refurbished building, equipped with new conference and research training suites, enhanced library and research facilities, and an expansion of room for our fellows and postgraduate students. It’s an exciting project. It preserves the original ethos and layout of the Institute, whilst expanding our capacity to deliver more events, training and teaching. Our new layout will be welcome news for the traditional library-user. A unique single-site history library will be created, with the University history borrowing collection housed at the top of the building.

The University expects the Institute to match their commitment to our future with some fundraising of our own. We are required to pay for the bespoke fitting out of the building. We need £0.5m for our new training and conference facilities, and for library fittings and furniture. But I want the IHR to go further than this. In addition to helping refurbish the building, I have set ourselves a target of c. £4m to reinvigorate and add to our range of academic activities: expanding our international fellowship and events programmes, establishing a new Chair in the History of London, and making a digital library of our unique holdings in colonial American history.  

I realise this is an ambitious shopping list. However, it is spending to grow and it is spending to achieve financial sustainability. And there is no better time for us to raise money, for we have been set a challenge grant target by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation. If we can reach $1m then the Foundation will match that with $1m of their own.

Please help us transform the Institute for the 21st century and put us on the road to financial self-reliance. Our Development Office staff can advise you on how to help if you want to take the next step.

With thanks to BDP for images and plans

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The new IHR (basement): The Exhibition Space

Did you see our exhibition on 90 years of the IHR at last year’s Anglo-American conference?  If not never fear as a ‘virtual’ version of that exhibition is still available on the IHR website.  It is well worth a look and makes for a fascinating read; however, that is not the central purpose of today’s post. What we would like to draw to your attention is the re-design of the IHR basement to incorporate a dedicated exhibition space. 

 

 

The ability to host a revolving exhibition is something that we are very excited about, with lots of plans in the works for what it might contain and naming opportunities for potential sponsors.

 

 

Although the 3D rendering above does not really do justice to the space we envisage it as a place members and visitors can wander around during their break from study in the library or, alternatively as a gathering area during conferences and other events held in our adjoining conference suite (see last week’s post). 

As you might have noticed the exhibition space in the corridor linking the main stairwell and lift to the conference suite is an innovative use of space and we think an improvement for a space formerly occupied by little more than ancient photocopiers and lacklustre tables and chairs.    

With thanks to BDP for images and plans

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The new IHR (basement): Conference and Lecture Theatres

The IHR has always prided itself on running events both large and small.  Our annual events programme includes conferences covering various historical topics and our premier event, the Anglo-American conference which continues to grow and improve every year.  However, with the old Wolfson and Pollard rooms being our largest space (able to hold 100 people) we were always forced to hold larger events elsewhere in Senate House which meant lots of walking to and fro or that the event was hosted outside of the IHR space itself.  An integrated conference space became one of the highest priorities for the re-development of the IHR.

 

 

So here is the proposed conference suite.  As you can see there are two rooms (one with a capacity for about 90 and the other for about  40).  However, just like the old Wolfson and Pollard rooms, these can be joined together to form one larger suite (see images below).  Of course, this poses difficulties of design to make sure that everyone can see the speaker and large screen projected image.  Much thought, therefore has been put into that issue to avoid any problems.  The suite will also be fitted with entirely new state-of-the-art AV (audio-visual) equipment including plasma screens, projectors, speakers and microphones.  We have several design drawings for the conference rooms which can be looked at below:

 

Next time we shall stay in the basement but move next door from the conference suite to another brand new addition to the IHR – a dedicated exhibition space.  

With thanks to BDP for images and plans

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IHR re-development update (May 2012)

 It’s been a while since our last post here but finally we have some exciting news to share concerning the renovation of the Institute of Historical Research.  The Senate House Phase 4 renovation is proceeding at pace and the designs and plans have now been developed and approved for the new IHR.  As the plan below shows we will be returning to an area covering the basement and the first three levels of the North Block.  Overall, the space envelope remains the same but the space use will be quite different and we will of course be modernised  whilst also maintaining the kind of atmosphere that you value.

 

Over the coming months we will look in-depth at various elements of the new IHR design including the new conference suite; research training room; common room and library layout.  This week we shall begin with the basement which, in its previous life, was the gloomy underbelly of the IHR holding some portions of the library and a line of rather ancient photocopiers, members’ lockers, and storage.

The image below shows the design layout for the new basement featuring a state of the art conference suite, exhibition space, and three rooms retained for the library.  Of all the re-design elements it is here that we are making some of the most significant improvements.

 

With thanks to BDP for images and plans

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Visit to University of London depository library

Michael Townsend (collections librarian) and I went to visit the University depository library in Egham, to meet the staff there and see where the IHR offsite store books are now located. The library is in a really nice location, on the edge of the Royal Holloway campus. The staff at the depository, Katriona and Pete, have done a fantastic job getting used to the IHR’s (often unlabelled) collections. We’ve been really impressed by how efficient the delivery service has been - we sometimes send an order first thing in the morning and unpack them a couple of hours later when the daily van arrives. It is best to give us 1-2 days notice, and items can be ordered in person, by phone or email. (020 7862 8760 or ihr.library@sas.ac.uk)

Kate Wilcox (Reader and Technical Services Librarian)

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