Women’s Library at LSE

Date posted: February 9, 2018

This week marked 100 years since the Representation of the People Act was passed, a first step towards universal suffrage in Britain. In 2013 we were privileged to help create a new home for the Women’s Library, and its suffrage collection which preserves the history of the campaign. The library holds the oldest and most extensive collection of women’s history in Europe, including over 212 designs for suffrage banners, badges and posters as well as personal papers, journals and pamphlets. In 2013 when LSE became the custodians of the Women’s Library, ArchitecturePLB were commissioned to create new reading room for the collection within their library building.

ArchitecturePLB designed the Reading Room in consultation with the LSE Library team, learning from the best practice at institutions such as the National Archives at Kew. The Reading Room incorporates display cases to allow exhibition of artefacts and interpretative information about the historic collections. A purple, white and green colour scheme was chosen to reflect the colours adopted by the suffrage movement.

The Reading Room is supported by a secure, climate-controlled archive store also designed by ArchitecturePLB, as part of an earlier phase of work involving refurbishment of a number of aspects of the Library. A publically accessible exhibition space to facilitate larger exhibitions of materials from the Library’s historic collections was also created on the ground floor.