The success of the 2019/20 Library Fund appeal has enabled the much-needed refurbishment of the mens’ and ladies’ toilets on the Red Stairs to become reality and we are pleased to announce that work is about to start on this important project. Once complete it will significantly improve the facilities for members.

Initial work will need to take place next week before the main refurbishment can begin in earnest, and shortly we expect to erect scaffolding and other layers of protection across the Lightwell roof and will also disconnect the toilets themselves. At some stage over the next fortnight, therefore, the Lightwell reading room will be closed for a few days and the Red Stairs toilets will then remain closed for approximately two months until the refurbishment is complete – alternative toilets in TS Eliot House and in the basement adjacent to the Lightwell will remain open throughout and will be clearly signposted.

Inevitably, some of the refurbishment will be noisy, especially in its main stages in November where drilling and stripping out of worn out fittings is required. To mitigate this we will be looking to carry out as much of the most disruptive work before 10am where we can, but around the Red Stairs there may be periods of higher levels of daytime noise than usual. During the works, protective coverings will be in place in parts of the Red Stairs and at times it may be necessary to restrict access to the Reading Room to the entrance next to the Writers Room only.

We expect refurbishment and decoration to be completed by mid-December and will be updating members over coming weeks on the project’s progress and the stages of work involved. In the meantime we’d like to thank our members for their generosity in supporting the Appeal that has enabled this project to take place and that will transform an important part of the building. The work will involve short term disruption over the next couple of months but we are confident that the end result will be well worth it!