The Old Library Building

This building “The Library” was built in 1916 by the Canterbury College. It is the Tudor Gothic style designed by Collins and Harman and was overseen by well-known architect Samuel Hurst Seager.


'From 1934 to the 1970s, under chief librarian Clifford Collins’ tenure, the library’s book collection grew from 15,000 to 300,000. The basement was full, and stacks were kept in forty different locations across the College buildings. Once described as an architectural gem but an impossible library, by the early 1950s only one student in seventy could be seated.' (Credit: the Arts Centre)


We feel privileged to extend the long history of this building with our gallery - The Central. Whether local, or a new visitor to this space we hope you find something that engages you and that extends your relationship with this site.


Click here to read more about the college Library on Canterbury University's Website.



The Old Library Building Timeline



Built as the Library building for the Canterbury College, designed by Collins and Harman with influence from architect Samuel Hurst Seager.



University of Canterbury expanded and moved to Ilam campus.


1988 - 2000

The Contemporary Art Annex (McDougal Annex) is established. The Annex is used to present work by emerging contemporary artists, particularly those in Canterbury.


2000 - 2011

SoFA (School of Fine Arts) Gallery run by Robert Hood. SoFA gallery continues to exhibit student work from the Fine Arts department at Canterbury University, Ilam.


2011 – 2013

The Arts Centre site closed after the 22 February 2011 earthquake. The Registry building was the first to reopen in 2013 after extensive strengthening.


2017 – Present

The Building is reopened stronger than ever as The Central Art Gallery, contemporary dealer gallery in March 2017.

Its stunning tudor gothic heritage features are highlighted in the new open plan and natural lit space.