Save the Inner Temple Library from the devastating effects of Option 2

The Inner Temple library, which has existed since 1440, is one of the finest law libraries in the world. It lies at the heart of the Inner Temple providing a free invaluable service to practitioners and students alike and serves a core charitable function of the Inn. Aesthetically, it is a masterpiece of library design with its double-height galleried rooms mentioned in Nikolaus Pevsner’s Buildings of England.

All of this is under threat. At a meeting on 21st July 2015, the Executive Committee of Inner Temple recommended a re-development of the Treasury Building to create additional space for Education and Training activities and for commercial hire. In doing so, they recommended the most radical and expensive option, namely Option 2. This recommendation will be considered at a Bench Table meeting on 1st October 2015 and at an extraordinary Bench Table meeting to be held on 21st October 2015 at 5pm in Hall.

If Option 2 is adopted, the effect on the library will be devastating

  • The library’s entire upper floor and gallery will be converted into meeting rooms, offices and an auditorium for education and training
  • Half of the Library’s main floor will be lost to storage, equipment, lifts and stairs to a new fourth floor extension
  • 58% of the floor space will be lost
  • 50% of reader spaces will be lost (leaving only 49 reader places)
  • 25,000 books from the main part of the Library and in every day use will be displaced.
  • The Library will be closed entirely for a year and a half for the works to be carried out.

There is no need for the above. There is a perfectly feasible alternative option (Option 1) which is significantly cheaper yet provides a whole new floor which includes a lecture theatre, training rooms and meeting rooms above the existing Treasury Building. This has minimal impact on the Library.

Please do not let this happen on your watch. We owe it to existing and future practitioners to safeguard the jewel in the Inner Temple crown. If you share our concern, please do the following

Sign up to this petition

Say whether you are an Inner Temple member or a user of the Inner Temple library

Voice your thoughts and comments. Do not be shy!

Update #56 years ago
Dear Supporter

Thanks for your support. Sadly, I regret to announce at a recent meeting of Inner Temple benchers, by a very narrow margin I am told (51%), Option 2 was selected. This is obviously devastating for the Inner Temple library. Option 2 will not be acted upon until the outcome of the current application to list the library has been resolved. Let us hope that succeeds.
Update #46 years ago
Following the Bench Table meeting yesterday, it has been agreed that there will be a poll of Governing Benchers whereby each bencher can select one of the following: do nothing, Option 1, Option 1.5 and Option 2. This will then lead to a further poll to select between the the first and second most popular options determined in the 1st poll. Please also read the impassioned plea from Mr Cole, an ex-surveyor of the Inner Temple recently posted.
Update #37 years ago
Thankyou for your support. We now have 1384 signatures. The Bench Table meeting is now 2 days away. There has been some suggestions that our facts on the effect of the library are wrong. They are not. We have checked carefully the proposals (we are the only ones who have done this) and we are confident of their accuracy. Please keep spreading the word.
Update #27 years ago
For those who wish to see in detail the detailed plans between Option 1, 1.5 and 2, please go to and select the button called Library Plans. This really brings it home!
Update #17 years ago
Dear All
We now have 327 signatories and momentum is building up. The petition has been in the legal press and indeed even in Private Eye (!) about the proposals. Please "share" it via social media eg Facebook but also via emails etc. You have seen how one photograph and an online petition is forcing the government to change its policy on its Syrian refugee policy. Rest assured that publicity and petitions really do change people's minds

Many thanks

Guy Tritton
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