Conserving architectural books for the future

With 150,000 books in its collections, and some volumes dating back to 15th century, conservation is of paramount importance. 


Examples of Egyptian architecture (left) and Roman architecture (centre) from 'The grammar of ornament' and St John The Baptist Church Kenstone from 'The spires and towers of England'. © Wilson Yau / RIBA, British Architectural Library Cover to 'The grammar of ornament' (right) with a bookplate (left) revealing that this copy was donated in 1953 by Sir Banister Flight Fletcher, former president of the RIBA. © Wilson Yau / RIBA, British Architectural Library


With the support of the rest of the RIBA and its members, the  British Architectural Library  is able to conduct vital work to safeguard part of the history of architecture.

In April 2012 in the Library’s Reading Room at 66 Portland Place, several illustrated books dating from the 19th century in the RIBA’s collections were carefully wrapped for protection. These books include ‘The spires and towers of England’ and the seminal ‘The grammar of ornament . Once safely packed, they were sent away to undergo conservation. These beautiful items were then returned to the Library several months later, once again being available to any member of the public visiting the Reading Room.

More images of the illustrated plates from Owen Jones’s ‘The grammar of ornament’  can be seen on  RIBApix . 

Support our work

We are extremely mindful of the need to preserve and safeguard our collections for future generations. As a registered charity, we rely on the support of individuals, companies and trusts to continue this vital work. By making a donation today, you can help us conserve and further enrich the collections for many years to come.