A state-of-the art research library created as part of the transformation of a much-loved St Andrews church has been named in honour of former University Principal, Professor Louise Richardson.
The University of St Andrews bought the vacant Martyrs Kirk from the Church of Scotland in 2012 and preserved and re-fitted the iconic building as a Research Library and Special Collections Reading Room.
Professor Richardson, now Vice-Chancellor at the University of Oxford, was the driving force behind the acquisition of Martyrs, its transformation to postgraduate research library and the successful appeal to donors and friends of the University to fund the ambitious project.
The building now offers two reading rooms, a seminar room, over 5000 volumes of research materials and 68 study seats, as well as a number of informal seats made out of re-used former pews from the church. Other original features which have been retained are the pulpit and the magnificent organ pipes.
The Martyrs project was commended in the Scottish Civic Trust My Place Awards 2015 for its “sensitivity and respect” to the architecture and the building’s former purpose and traditions. The Trust said Martyrs had been transformed to “a sanctuary for learning and research”.
The development was named in honour of the former Principal at the request of the Carnegie Corporation which made major donations to the project in support of Special Collections.
Other major benefactors who made the project possible were The Northwood Charitable Trust, Michael Buchanan, Wendy and George David, Louise Richardson and Thomas Jevon, Sir Ewan and Lady Brown, Ian, Catherine and Lucy Ferguson, the Dunhill Links Foundation and The Binks Trust.
The Richardson Research Library at Martyrs Kirk was formally dedicated in a ceremony attended by Professor Richardson and her husband, Dr Thomas Jevon, in St Andrews today (23 June).
Professor Richardson said she was proud and honoured to be associated with the Martyrs project.
“St Andrews is more than capable of attracting the very best graduate students in the world, and there is no greater demonstration of its commitment to graduate study than this wonderful building,” she said.
As a former Principal, Professor Richardson was also bestowed with an honorary degree during graduation in Younger Hall.
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