Renovation of Christopher Tower Reference Library

Official opening of the renovated Christopher Tower Reference Library

On Monday 8th November 2021, the New Forest Heritage Centre officially opened its renovated library in an event attended by volunteers, staff and trustees of the New Forest Heritage Trust, as well as key supporters of the renovation project.

In 2020, the Centre’s staff and trustees were delighted to receive local support for the modernisation of the Christopher Tower Reference Library from the LEADER programme and two local trusts. While the Centre was closed during lockdowns, bespoke roller racking was installed and staff used the time to reshelve the extensive collection of New Forest material. The new racking has quadrupled the former linear meterage of shelf space and allows the Library to display collections which were previously stored in other parts of the building.

Speaking at the opening ceremony, Chair of Trustees, Mary Montagu-Scott said, “We are delighted to see the new shelving in place, and very grateful to have received the funding to enable the project to happen. This new storage solution has not only enabled us to display previously unexhibited collections but also provides us with room to continue to expand the collection in the future.”

Gerald Lewis, Chair of the New Forest LEADER programme which supported the Library project, cut the ribbon. He said, “I am honoured to be asked to officially open the renovated Library. I am pleased we were able to support the project and it’s wonderful to see the new racking in place.”

The Library at the New Forest Heritage Centre was started by Jude James in the early days of the Trust. It was his vision that it should house a comprehensive collection of material about the New Forest. The collection includes great classical works, guidebooks, works on natural history as well as archives from notable New Forest figures and families, such as Félicité Hardcastle and the Crosthwaite-Eyre family.

The Library is situated on the upper floor of the New Forest Heritage Centre and it is open to the public from 10am to 4pm on Wednesdays, 10am to 12.30pm on Fridays and at other times by appointment.

For more information about the New Forest Heritage Centre and the Christopher Tower Reference Library, please visit the website or email to make an appointment.