185R. Harrod to Henry Miers, 26 November 1930 [a]

Replies to 184 R, answered by 187 R. Harrod reminds Miers that he was prepared to abandon his own suggestion of a new library and to support the Broad Street scheme only provided that certain conditions were met. In particular, Harrod submitted that the Broad Street centre of works should be regarded as of equal importance as the old building, and firmly rejected the proposal of dividing the books into the 100,000 best to be located in the reading room and the others to be placed in Broad Street. Since the conciliatory step implied a very big sacrifice of what he regarded as the proper solution of the Library problem, and since the other commissioners rejected the conditions he posed in order to take this step, Harrod judges the Broad Street scheme as completely failing to satisfy present and future requirements and therefore thinks it is useless to endeavour to co-operate any longer with the other members of the Commission. [1]

  1. 1. This letter was drafted after the meeting, held on the same day, of the Bodleian Library Commission (Harrod's memoranda were on the agenda: Sisam, circular letter to the commissioners, 25 November 1930, in HP VI-9/20).

    In the refutation of Harrod's proposal, different estimates of the stacking capacity of the Broad Street building probably played a part. Chambers, in a memo on "The use of central sites" (copy in HP VI-48), challenged Harrod's estimates, suggesting that it would be possible to dig deeper than Harrod had suggested, and to use the space that planning restrictions required to leave free above. This would enable to house about 6.16 million books; allowing for contingencies, show rooms, and so on, in Chambers's opinion this would make in practice for 5.5 million books. Kenyon, in a memo on "The Capacity of the Bodleian and the Broad St. Sites" (copy in HP VI-48), used the figures of Harrod's estimate, added some extra space, and concluded that Broad Street could accommodate a total of 5.4 million books, which would be sufficient--using the rate of growth on which Harrod's estimate was based--for 60 to 70 years.

    1. a. From Christ Church, Oxford # , four pages ALS, in HP VI-56 (incomplete draft).


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