Beginning of work to preserve the historic collection in Boston

Work is currently underway at St Botolph’s Library to ensure that the church’s historic and important collection of books can be preserved in Boston for future generations to enjoy.

The books, which number around 1,200 and date as far back as 1170, have been kept in St Botolph’s Library since its inception in 1634. However, building conditions, temperature and light posed a risk for the conservation of books in recent years.

But now substantial improvement work is underway, meaning the collection – which includes early editions of Foxe’s Book of Martyrs by Boston-born John Foxe – can remain at St Botolph’s.

The work, which will include wall repairs, new décor, UV filters, temperature control and new bookcases, is being done with respect for the building’s heritage.

Improvements to the library are complemented by the installation of a lighting system at St Botolph’s which will create a better lit space inside and provide new exterior lighting for the entire building, including for exhibitions .

With the new lighting installed, St Botolph’s will be able to be lit in different colors to mark special occasions and causes, impressively illuminating this part of town.

The library and lighting works, which have received £200,000 funding from the Boston Town Deal, will reinforce St Botolph as a major cultural asset in the city for local residents and boost the Boston’s tourism sector.

Chris Ladner, Reader and Parish Resource Officer for St Botolph’s, said, “This historic and significant collection of books is truly a jewel in the crown of Boston’s history, and a treasured gem that people have enjoyed for hundreds of years. years.

“It’s something we can all be proud of in Boston, but, as you’d expect with buildings of this age, improvements are needed to ensure we can provide the optimal conditions to preserve these beautiful books. In addition, improvements to the lighting will allow us to make better use of the building by opening it up to more flexible uses.

“We’re really excited to be working with the Boston Town Deal, which will future-proof the library and create a better-lit space that more people can use and enjoy.”

Neil Kempster, Chairman of Boston Town Deal, added, “St Botolph’s Library is an integral part of the historic fabric of our town, and it is a heritage asset of which we can all be proud.

“And, by improving interior and exterior lighting, we can reinforce the role of the building as a cultural asset, allowing the space to be opened up to different and flexible uses.

“Council have been keen to prioritize the lighting and library works as we know they will have a significant and lasting impact for the town, ensuring that St Botolph’s can be enjoyed by the people who live here and by those who visit from further afield.

“With Town Deal’s investment in Boston, one of our goals is to leverage the city’s unique heritage as we look to the future, and this project certainly achieves that goal.”

As well as ongoing construction work, the St Botolph team are also painstakingly scanning all the books to create an online archive. This will include the first book in the collection, St Augustine’s work on Genesis which was written in 1170.

It is expected that the library and lighting works will be completed by the end of the year.

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