Essential maintenance works to the Radcliffe Science Library basement

Oxford University is seeking planning permission to carry out essential maintenance works to the basement of the Radcliffe Science Library, off Parks Road.

The remedial works include the installation of a new external waterproofing system and repairs to the insulation. The basement, which extends across two underground floors of the building, was originally used for book storage and provided reading room facilities for the library. It was subsequently assigned to the University’s four museums to store objects from the collections.

All the museum collections housed in the basement were removed earlier this year as soon as the issues with the existing waterproofing system became apparent. No loss to the collections occurred and none of the objects stored in the basement sustained any damage. The basement is currently empty.

The University takes its responsibility towards conserving the collections extremely seriously. The four museums collectively hold over 8.5 million objects and specimens, and great care is taken to ensure that they are properly protected and cared for.

The remedial works will enable the basement to be redeveloped as a collections centre for the four University museums. The centre, which is expected to open in late 2021, will include high-quality storage facilities for objects not currently on public display, and will enable the University to offer much greater access to its internationally significant collections for researchers, students and members of the public.

The museum collections centre will form part of the redeveloped Radcliffe Science Library site, which will house a new college for graduate students and a refurbished science library. Read further information about the Radcliffe Science Library redevelopment.