The Story of the British Museum, £8.99
The Prints and Drawings Students' Room, a photograph
The British Museum, London, England, around AD 1913
Building the new study room
In 1914 the Department of Prints and Drawings moved from the White Wing to improved space in the King Edward VII's Galleries, the new extension to the Museum building. It had the latest services, and hydraulic lifts were fitted in the Department to help move the collections from storage areas.
This photograph shows the new Students' Room: the room used by people studying the Museum objects that are held in storage. The exhibition gallery can be seen in the distance. With construction work finished, workmen begin to fit-out the rooms. Seen here in 1913, there was still much work to do before the Royal Opening in May 1914.
The British Museum has a tradition of re-using building materials, fixtures and fittings. Here, one hundred and fifty mahogany storage presses were transferred from the old Prints and Drawings accommodation. Some presses had been in use since the late eighteenth century. A team of carpenters are seen here fitting the old presses to the walls and making many new presses to match. Today, the Prints and Drawings Students' Room looks much the same as it did back in 1913.