The Maughan Library
The Maughan Library

The Maughan Library and Information Services Centre (more commonly known as The Maughan Library) is a 19th-century neo-Gothic building located on Chancery Lane in the City of London. Since 2001 it has been in use as the main library of King's College London. It was formerly home to the Public Record Office, the so-called "strong-box of the empire" and is now the main library of the college, forming part of its Strand Campus. Designed by Sir James Pennethorne and built between 1851 and 1858, it is a Grade II* listed building. Inside the Library is the octagonal Round Reading Room, inspired by the reading room of the British Museum, and the former Rolls Chapel (medieval, but restored in the 1770s; renamed the Weston Room following a donation from the Garfield Weston Foundation) with its stained glass windows, huge mosaic floor and three monuments, including an important Renaissance terracotta figure by Pietro Torrigiano of John Yonge, Master of the Rolls, who died in 1516. The library was named after Sir Deryck Maughan, himself a King's alumnus, who together with Lady Maughan made a £4m donation towards the new College library.



The Domus Conversorum was established in the 13th century to provide a residence and chapel for converted Jews. In the 14th century the Master of the Rolls became warden, and since there were no longer Jews legally in England, the chapel became known as the Rolls Chapel and was also used for storing legal papers.[1][2] The chapel was rebuilt in 1617 and 1717-24 but the records were moved in 1856 and the chapel torn down in 1895.[3]

The earliest part of the modern building is the central wing, 1851-56. It was built with a view to minimising the risk from fire so the storerooms were individual closed cells and the building had no heating. Two search rooms were added in 1863 and a clock tower in 1865. In 1869-71 the building was extended along Fetter Lane and in the 1890s two more wings were added (the architect was John Taylor). At this time the medieval walls of the chapel were found to be unsound and so these had to be rebuilt. In 1902 the chapel became a museum for the Record Office.[4]


It holds more than 750,000 items including books, journals, CDs, records, DVDs, theses and exam papers. These items cover four of the college's Schools of Study: Arts and Humanities, Law, Natural & Mathematical Sciences and Social Science & Public Policy. This includes the collection of the Chartered Institute of Taxation and the post-1850 collection of Sion College. In addition to this, the library holds more than 150,000 78rpm records donated by the BBC in 2001 which span a wide range of genres.[5] Further to this, in 2007 the library acquired the historical collections of the British Foreign and Commonwealth Office, which includes Britain's 1812 declaration of war on the USA.

Foyle Special Collections Library

The building is also home to the Foyle Special Collections Library, "a collection of over 110,000 printed works as well as thousands of maps, slides, sound recordings and some manuscript material".[6] Amongst this manuscript material is the Carnegie Collection of British Music, a collection of original, signed manuscripts, many of them by notable composers, whose publication was funded by the philanthropist Andrew Carnegie via the Carnegie UK Trust.[7]


External links

Coordinates: 51°30′55″N 0°06′38″W / 51.5153°N 0.1106°W / 51.5153; -0.1106

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