MP-0000.25.250 | Opening ceremony, Redpath Library, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 1893

Photograph, glass lantern slide
Opening ceremony, Redpath Library, McGill University, Montreal, QC, 1893
Anonyme - Anonymous
1893, 19th century
Silver salts on glass - Gelatin dry plate process
8 x 8 cm
Gift of Mr. Stanley G. Triggs
© McCord Museum
Keywords:  Architecture (8646) , educational (709) , Photograph (77678)
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Keys to History

McGill University expanded rapidly in the 1890s. Among the buildings constructed for the growing community was the Redpath Library, which was completed in 1893. Peter Redpath (1821-1894), president of the Redpath sugar refinery in Montreal, was a generous benefactor to the university, and he supplied the funds for the building.

This photograph shows the inauguration of the Redpath Library in 1893. The library had a separate wing for book stacks (the stacks are still in use today) and was designed with glass floors to make it fireproof. The interior was a large, dark reading-room filled with rows of long tables and green-shaded lamps. The beamed ceiling was high and arched; at the end of the beams, carved creatures protruded into the air.

The Redpath Library remained the sole library at McGill for 60 years. Now called Redpath Hall, the building serves the university as a ceremonial hall.

  • What

    The Redpath Library combines the Romanesque and Gothic styles of architecture. The three large stained-glass windows depict the themes of poetry, music and fine art.

  • Where

    The Redpath Library, now referred to as Redpath Hall, is located on the upper west side of McGill University's downtown campus.

  • When

    The opening ceremony for Redpath Library took place in the autumn of 1893.

  • Who

    The architect Sir Andrew Taylor (1850-1937), much in demand in the late 19th century, designed the Redpath Library and six other buildings for McGill University.