Cardinal Newman’s personal library situated in the Oratory House in undergoing extensive refurbishment. The library roof has become extremely unsafe and has allowed rain to leak through, causing some of the books to become damp and mouldy. Now, extensive work has begun to save this most important collection, which represents Saint John Henry’s patrimony.

At present, conservators are professionally cleaning, cataloguing and packing the entire collection, which will then go into specialised storage. Then, scaffolding will have to be erected, both inside and outside the library, in order for the roof to be removed and reconstructed. Once a new roof has been put in place, the collection of books will be returned to the library, in the original order which the Cardinal himself arranged. The project will also include a new roof for the Cardinal’s Archives, which contains his letters, diaries, sermons and writings, and external repairs to the walls of the Cardinal’s room, which has been preserved as he left it when he died in 1890.

This work will take many months. Naturally, the cost of this most necessary work is phenomenal, but thanks to a benefactor, most of the £880,000 required has been donated. We are urgently appealing for funds to raise the remaining £380,000. Many people have enjoyed visiting the library, and we hope to continue to be able to share this wonderful heritage with generations to come.

If you are able to offer a financial contribution to help to pay for this vital work, we would be deeply grateful. Cheques can be made out to ‘The Oratory’ with the envelope clearly marked for the Cardinal’s library. Also, cash donations, however large or small, can be handed in to the Oratory House or given to one of the Fathers. It is also possible to donate online here.

For further details, please see Fr Anton, who is coordinating the work with the help of the archivist.