The IHR Publications team (now including IHR Digital) has never been located in one place. At our most dispersed we were divided over four floors, from the old IHR basement to the third floor. For all but the most health conscious this involved considerable use of the lift! More importantly, it meant that it wasn’t easy just to drop in on colleagues to ask them a quick question, or even for a chat.
With the relocation, however, the whole team is finally co-located in the lower mezzanine, between the north and south blocks of Senate House. The space is different to that elsewhere in the building, as it was originally intended for book storage rather than office use. Consequently the ceilings are quite low (in striking contrast to the rooms in the north block) and some of the larger offices have weight-bearing pillars rather awkwardly in the middle of the room. But we do have lovely views of Russell Square on the one side, and the London School of Hygiene and Tropical Medicine and the University sunken garden on the other.
For some members of the team it has also meant coming home. Until as recently as two years ago what was then called the e-publications office was based in the lower mezzanine. Over the past 24 months it has been refurbished and rewired, and four people have returned to exactly the same office as before – but with a new coat of paint, better carpet and, vitally for our digital projects, robust wiring.
Most people, even those who work in Senate House, don’t know that the mezzanine exists, and it’s involved quite a bit of explanation every time we have visitors. But new signage will be going up soon, and you can find us just to the right of the new IHR reception desk on the third floor of south block.
The 2011-2012 IHR research seminars are just around the corner. Last month I updated this site with a list of seminar groups who had already posted their new programme online and new locations due to the relocation of the IHR. It looks to be a fantastic and diverse programme yet again. So here is a quick update for the other seminar groups that have now released information about their 2011-2012 series:
The IHR is now relocated into its temporary space on 2nd and 3rd floors of the South Block of Senate House. The library can be found on floor 3 sharing a site with the Institute of Classical Studies Library. The Director, development office and administrative staff can also be found here. The Publications, IHR Digital and two research centres CMH and VCH are located across the upper and lower mezzanine areas which are accessible from the 3rd floor of Senate House.
We are currently setting up a new postgraduate area in the mezzanine.
The 'new' IHR library
For members with lockers these can be found in the basement of Senate House. Take the stairs or elevator to Senate House basement and turn right. The lockers are located along the corridors.
We are still waiting for our signage to be delivered. For the time being we have temporary signs posted.
We are very happy to receive comments on our new surroundings. Please let us know how we might improve them further.
Directions to the IHR: Enter the South Block of Senate House and take either the stairs or lifts to the third floor (to your left opposite the Senate House main reception). When you reach the third floor the IHR reception is directly in front of you as you exit the lifts.
The library is directly behind the reception desk. Please ask our receptionist for further directions if required.
We are rapidly approaching the start of a new academic year and therefore a new season for our research seminar programmes. Most of the seminars for the next year will still run in the Senate House building in which the IHR is located but will likely have a room change due to the temporary relocation.
Below are a list of seminar groups that have released details of their new programme and venue location.
The IHR Library reopened on the 3rd floor of the Senate House South Block on 3rd August, as planned. During the move process extra space for books became available. This meant that the Welsh, Byzantine and main Spanish collections were added to the material available on open access.
Books and journals are now held in three locations – open access, onsite store and offsite store. The online catalogue clearly indicates where individual items are held. An overview of which collections are located where can also be found here: http://www.history.ac.uk/library/collections/collection-locations and on noticeboards in the Library. Items marked onsite store can be requested in person, by phone or email. Request forms can be handed in at the library enquiry office or reception. Fetches will be carried out at 9am, 11am, 2pm, 4.30pm on weekdays and 2pm on Saturdays. Items marked offsite store will be available within 1-2 working days by pre-ordering in person, by phone or email.
As before, the Library has desks, computer, microform and printing facilities, and also now has the benefit of being located in an area which has been recently refurbished. IHR reception staff continue to be present at the entrance, which is now shared with the Institute of Classical Studies Library.
We expect to operate in this location for the next two academic years, during which time the IHR’s North Block home will undergo a long overdue full rewire and refurbishment.
Today will be the last time that I step into my 3rdfloor office in its current form. Soon I will be in new digs along with the
Crates in a third floor office
rest of the Institute elsewhere in Senate House. As I look at all the crates filled with IHR materials that currentlysurround me, the empty desks, and the echo of empty halls now that the library books have gone, I can’t help but feel a little sad. Yes, in two years time we will be returning to a brand new IHR (which is an exciting thought) but there are so many memories of the old (which I suppose it now is) that makes leaving a little difficult.
Personally, I’ve only worked at the IHR since 2010 but my relationship with the Institute begins some five or six years earlier. My introduction to the IHR occurred during a research training trip to London as part of my History MA course at the University of Hull. I clearly remember being led through the sliding glass doors at the Reception and walking up the marble staircase to the third floor. It was in the corridor behind
The Germany Room
a locked door that we were given a brief introduction to the IHR and VCH (Victoria County History). The same location where I currently sit, writing this post. Since then I have made extensive use of the England room and have enjoyed the occasional meal in the common room. The various seminars and conferences that I have attended have often been made all the better by being surrounded by shelves full of library books. Somehow it feels right that a seminar should take place in such a location.
Whilst the Institute has modernised and re-invented itself over the years it has also maintained its core purposes which are also reflected in the rooms and corridors in which it has lived and thrived. The reference library as a place for silent and serious study; the common room for relaxed discussion; the seminar rooms for presentations and more serious questioning all continue to this day. The temporary relocation will of course provide a challenge for us to maintain these characteristics that make the IHR what it is. I believe (and hope) that together we will rise to that challenge and when the IHR returns in two years time it will be even better prepared to carry out its mission. In the meantime I look forward to getting used to my new digs and rediscovering the IHR all over again.
The IHR library will be closing from Thursday 28th July 2011 until Wednesday 3rd of August when it will open in its new location in the south block. The opening hours remain the same as they are now. Both the new IHR reception area and the Library will be staffed from 3 August. The remainder of the staff will move in the weeks following.
The IHR North block will continue to be open with a staffed reception desk but without the library throughout this period. However, from Wednesday 3rd August and until we have moved all the remaining staff (which we estimate will be completed by August 19th), we will be open to the public at 9am and will close at 18.30 each evening.
Thank you for bearing with us during this turbulent period.
The move of the library collections going into closed access will start today. As this affects material on all floors there is likely to be alot of disruption and the lift will be difficult to access. The move of the collections remaining on open access is expected to begin from Tuesday 26th July and as previously announced the library will close completely between 28th July and 2nd August. Details of new locations of the collections are available here: http://www.history.ac.uk/library/collections/collection-locations.