Welcome from the Director

by Mark Hallett

  • 1 December 2014
Line drawing of two adjoining buildings with railings

Wright & Wright, Front Elevation of 16 and 15 Bedford Square,

The Paul Mellon Centre is getting ready for its temporary move out of 16 Bedford Square. Shelves have been stripped of books, and suddenly look forlorn in the winter light; archival materials have been carefully packed, lowered by crane from an upstairs window and sent out to storage; and day by day, ever-growing clusters of boxes, crammed with bulging files and ancient spreadsheets, colonise the corners of our offices. In less than a month, all the Centre’s staff will have decamped to offices in number 12 Bedford Square, just four doors away.

Unsettling; but thrilling, too. This short-lived exodus – we will be away for 10 months or so - will allow us to continue functioning while builders descend on our current building and connect it with our next door neighbour at number 15. Joining the two buildings, and then reorganising and redecorating their interiors, forms part of our ambitious plans to make the Centre an even more stimulating and well-resourced place in which to research the history of British art and architecture. We expect to return to our newly expanded premises in September next year, and look forward to welcoming all our friends and colleagues back to a Centre that we hope will feel both reassuringly familiar and refreshingly different.

During this interim period, we will continue to be extremely busy and have plenty of news to tell. For this reason, we have decided to set up a Paul Mellon Centre blog, of which this is the first instalment, and in which a number of us will report on (and sometimes take pictures of!) all the behind-the-scenes activities that will be taking place before our official re-opening in October 2015. This blog will also provide information about the many external events and programmes that will continue to receive our support during this period of transition. It will alert readers to the major books and catalogues that we will be publishing over the next year and report upon some very exciting online developments at the Centre. Finally, it will provide advance notice of all the events, projects and programmes that we are planning for our re-opening next autumn.

So, if you find yourself missing our seminars and research lunches, our lovely green study room or our boxes of art historians’ papers – or if you don’t know us yet, and want to find out more about what we do - please keep checking in. We will try to provide news that is lively, colourful and intriguing, and keep you in touch with all that is going on.

About the author

  • Director of Studies at the Paul Mellon Centre