THE Mayor of Winchester, Cllr Chris Pines, and the Dean of Winchester Cathedral the Very Rev. James Atwell helped to open a new development that houses a new library, careers facility and ICT suite at St Swithun's School.

This new facility which is located in the heart of the School, has been formed by a creative conversion of the original school hall and has been named, as was the hall, in memory of the school's founder, Miss Anna Bramston.

Also helping to open the library, in front of more than 100 guests, were Miss Nancy Clayton, who lives in Winchester and left the school in 1935, and 11-year-old Flora Buer, from Alton, who is the youngest pupil at the school.

After a speech from the headmistress Dr Helen Harvey and pupils Emily Russell, Laura Plant and Georgia Arlott, the chairman of the School Council, Mr John Platt, pronounced the Bramston Library officially open and guests were given tours of the facility.

The St Swithun's Library began in 1887 at the school's original site in North Walls when it had eight members who also donated the stock. Not until 1900 was it large enough to merit a room of its own and in the 1930s it moved, with the school, to the site on Alresford Road.

Since then it has grown and moved location many times before coming to rest in what will be its permanent home for many years to come.

Dr Harvey said: "In recent years we have undertaken a considerable number of major building projects and this is only the second which has merited the formality of an official opening. The other was the Performing Arts Centre back in 2003 which was opened by the then Mayor of Winchester, reinforcing our intention that the facility should be an asset not only to the School but to the wider community, which I think it has proved itself to be.

"From what we know of Miss Bramston I think that she would have been entirely supportive of this new stage in the evolution of the school and that she, like us, would greatly value and appreciate the work of everyone who has contributed to the project in order to hold fast to that vision of excellence in the provision of education for girls that she set out."