Architectural Drawings for a Library Reading Room
1923 This is one of a series of architectural plans by Sir Thomas Manly Deane (1851-1933) for the 1937 Reading Room, the Library building standing between the Old Library and the Examination Hall in Trinity College Dublin. In 1919 the College invited design submissions for a war memorial dedicated to the staff and students who died in the First World War. Deane's designs placed a Hall of Honour at the entrance to an octagonal building that would accommodate a new Library reading room.
The Hall of Honour, which opened in 1928, housed the Roll of Honour commemorating the 471 Trinity students, staff and alumni who lost their lives in the war. It was not until almost a decade later, with the construction of the Reading Room, that the hybrid building was complete. The Reading Room, surrounded by a raised gallery, contained 160 seats. A perimeter room below the gallery was reserved for academic staff and women readers. On 2 July 1937, twenty years after he had fought with the Irish Volunteers in the Easter Rising of 1916 (against which Trinity College had vigorously defended itself), Éamon de Valera, President of the Executive Council of the Irish Free State, was invited to open this new Library Reading Room. The irony cannot have been lost on either party. Deane's beautifully detailed designs are held in the Library's College Archives collection, along with hundreds of other plans (executed and otherwise) for College buildings.
Shelfmark: TCD MUN/MC/42
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