Downing College Maitland Robinson Library, Cambridge

The library was built by R G Carter Thetford at Downing College, Cambridge, following a £2 million gift from benefactor, Maitland Robinson. Named after him, the foundation stone of the library was laid by his widow on 4 October 1990.

A plaque was also unveiled at the ceremony which paid tribute to her husband “whose generosity made this library possible.”

The ceremony was attended by around 130 people, including R G Carter representatives. It was an emotional occasion, particularly for Mrs Robinson.

The library was designed by architects Erith and Terry to blend in with the traditional college setting and the classical style structure features Greek Revival columns on the exterior and decorative fibrous plaster mouldings inside.

Built on three floors including a basement with a total floor area of 1,075 square metres, local Ketton stone was used for the exterior facade, with Totternhoe lime, as used in the restoration of old churches, specified for the internal brickwork.

Work on the 21-month contract began in earnest in March 1991. It included 220 cubic metres of ready mixed concrete, laid in one day, within the basement floor.

The library was officially opened on 22 November 1993 by HRH Prince Charles and the Duchess of Kent, Katharine.

Described as one of the principal features of the college, it has a convenient and prominent location with “freedom from visual and acoustic distraction”.