National Library of Wales fire: Damaged items taken to Oxford

Fire at National Library Senior library staff said it was not known how the fire started

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Pieces of an historic collection damaged in a fire at the National Library of Wales have been taken to Oxford by a team of salvage experts.

An investigation is under way after a section of roof on what is known as Building Two was destroyed on Friday.

Library officials in Aberystwyth said a small part of the collection would be dried by the salvage company after suffering water damage.

The library will reopen to the public on Tuesday.

It was closed on Saturday and Monday.

The fire affected an area largely used as office space and for new acquisitions.

Start Quote

We have every confidence the salvage experts will be successful and they will report back to later in the week”

End Quote Arwel Jones National Library of Wales

The salvage company arrived in Aberystwyth on Friday night and has been working over the weekend.

Arwel Jones, director of public services at the library, said: "They have done their work and taken some of the collection away to be dried and conserved.

"We have every confidence the salvage experts will be successful and they will report back to later in the week."

Mr Jones was not able to provide details about what specifically had been damaged or how many pieces of the collection had been removed and taken to Oxford.


  • The library has millions of books plus manuscripts, archives, maps, pictures, photographs, films and music
  • It was established by Royal Charter on 19 March, 1907, the same day as the National Museum in Cardiff
  • The building, which is on Penglais Hill overlooking Aberystwyth, was started in 1911, and first occupied in 1916
  • Several extensions have been added since

He said on Saturday that water used to fight the flames had leaked through five or six floors and a small part of the collection had been affected.

Mr Jones said: "We're keen to stress that it's business as usual at the library, for readers, users and visitors.

"On Friday, we took the precautionary measure of cancelling a few of this week's planned events, but apart from that, we're confident that we can provide a full and normal service to all our users."

Library president Sir Deian Hopkin called the blaze "the most difficult moment" in its 100-year history.

Up to 300 staff and 100 visitors were led to safety when the alarm was raised on Friday afternoon. It took 50 firefighters nearly four hours to bring it under control.

Workers had been repairing the roof near to where the fire started, but the library has said it is "not in a position to draw any conclusions from this".

Reports from the scene suggested a 100ft (30m) section of roof was destroyed.

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