Merthyr Tydfil library

Brief description

The architect was Cllr T Edmund of Messrs Johnson, Richards and Rees of Merthyr. The builder was Enoch Williams and sons of Dowlais.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1988

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Merthyr Libraries, the public library service of Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council. (2021)

  • Year grant given: 1902
  • Amount of grant: £1,500, later increased to £2,500, then to £12,000 to cover the central library and its six branch libraries. Central library cost £8,500
  • Year opened (and by who): 7 November 1935, by the Honourable Seymour Berry. The lending library and children’s library were opened on 9 March 1936

Photo of library in 2012 :

Central library and statue, Merthyr Tydfil
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Jaggery – geograph.org.uk/p/3001975

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

One in my collection – awaiting scan

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Lowestoft library

Brief description

The architect was George W. Leighton of Ipswich. From the entry linked below from today’s library “The building was extremely impressive, and very different to todays library. Books were not immediately accessible to readers, but had to be chosen from  a printed catalogue. The open access system was put in place in 1923. Sadly, in 1941 the library was destroyed by a bomb, although much of the stock was saved.”

Current status: Destroyed by a bomb in 1941

  • Year grant given (if known): 1902
  • Amount of grant: £6,000
  • Year opened (and by who): 25 November 1905, Mrs E Tuttle, mayoress

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet. The library fb link includes a photo gallery.

Web links:

Llantwit Fardre library

Brief description

The architect was Arthur Lloyd Thomas of Pontypridd. The builders were the Price brothers of Cardiff. In the pediment is a scrolled ribbon reading ‘Coreu Arf – Arf Dysc’ (the best tools are the tools for learning), and a clock. 

Awarded Grade II listing in 2000

Current status: It converted into a community hall in 1964 when a new library was built behind it (2021)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £1,500
  • Year opened (and by who): 2 September 1906, Sir D Alfred Thomas

Photo of library in 2020 :


Photo credit: Oriel Prizeman 2020. Image shared under CC license CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 Cardiff University AHRC Shelf Life project

Details:

A brass plaque records the opening of the library. “It was erected through the generosity of Andrew Carnegie who presented £1,500 for the purpose, and it was opened on September 1st 1906 by the parish councillors and the Rev John Jenkins.”

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Llandudno library

Brief description

Located on Mostyn Street, the site was given by Lord Mostyn. The new library was built on the site of a former, single storey library which had opened in 1873. The architect was George A Humphreys, architect of the Mostyn estate, who designed it in the baroque style, with a dome. The builder was Edward Owen.

It ws extended in 1939 and again in 1994, when the Victoria Centre was built – retaining lobbies and reference library.  

Awarded Grade II listing in 2001.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Conwy borough council (2022)

  • Year grant given: 1907
  • Amount of grant: £4,000
  • Year opened (and by who): 15 September 1910, by Lord Mostyn

Photo of library in 2009:

Llandudno library, Mostyn Street
© Copyright David Dixon and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence
From our visit in 2022 – when the trees were in leaf, so only the main door was really visible.

Details:

Mosaic of the town crest in the entrance hall

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, during a holiday in North Wales in August 2022. The library is on the first floor, and was light and airey inside, with modern furniture and classic library quotes on the walls. The original features of dome and double staircase are impressive.

Web links:

Llandrindod Wells library

Brief description

The architect was Alec W. Millward, and the library was built in 1911. The museum room opened in 1930. 

Current status: The library relocated in 1971 to a former hotel (which also contains council offices). The building is now home to the Radnorshire museum (2022)

  • Year grant given: 1906
  • Amount of grant: £1,500
  • Year opened: Saturday 27 July, 1912 by J Luther Greenway, former High Sheriff of Radnorshire. [The same day as the Grand Pavillion nearby was opened] 

Photo of library in 2022:

Former library – now the Radnorshire museum.

Details:

Brochure of the opening ceremony (seen in the Radnorshire museum)

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, as we drove home after a holiday in North Wales. The museum is worth a visit, and still retains some of the original features from the library – a stained glass fanlight above the main door and mosaic tiles in the entrance lobby. The words “Free Library” which used to be abov ethe door have been replaced by a board saying “Amgueddfa – Museum”.  It contains information about the founding of the library, and a copy of the brochure for the opening ceremony (above).

Web links:

Dowlais library

Brief description

Designed by EA Johnson of Abergavenny. The builder was TA Jones of Cardiff. From the pdf linked below, MT Heritage plaques: “Built on land donated by Guest, Keen and Nettlefolds, the new library at Dowlais was opened, with a flourish and a key made of gold, on the morning of 11 January 1907 by D.A. Thomas MP, The Mayor and Corporation of the new County Borough and distinguished visitors.”

Awarded Grade II listing in 2002.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Merthyr Tydfil County Borough Council (2021)

  • Year grant given: 1902
  • Amount of grant: £1,500
  • Year opened (and by who): 11 January 1907, by Sir D Alfred Thomas MP

Photo of library in 2011:

Dowlais Library  © Copyright John Lord and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Details:

The pdf linked below includes a photo of the heritage plaque on the library.

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Dolgellau library

Brief description

The architect was Edward A Fermaud of London. The builder was Edward Evans. The site was paid for by public subscription, and the foundation stone was laid on 30 May 1911. A plaque on the front of the building commemorating this has 3 names: Mrs Davies, Dolrhyd; Mrs Roberts, Clodwyn; Col GF Scott, Penmaen UCHA. A large stucco frieze along the top of the building says: Darllenfa Rydd Dolgellau (Dolgellau Free Library). This had been lost, but was restored when the building was fully restored in 2014.

Current status: No longer the public library – Current use uncertain, maybe community centre. Maybe known as the Dolgellau Institute. (2021)

  • Year grant given: 1910
  • Amount of grant: £1,000
  • Year opened: May 1913, by Dr J Myles Esq

Photo of library in 2014 and in 2022:

 © Copyright Jeff Buck and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence geograph.org.uk/p/4448343
Building in 2022.

Details:

One of a pair of plaques under the windows – the one the other side is in welsh.

Old photo of library (postcard):

The Institute: Dolgelley (with thanks to John Ellis for the image)

Visited?

Yes, during a holiday in North Wales in 2022. Still no wiser about the current use of this building, although it still looks very smart. And as it is very hard to take photos of, being down a narrow lane, I’ve added my photo to the one I found on geograph, which was taken in 2014 (with sun on the front, and no cars!).

Web links:

Deiniolen library

Brief description

The architect was Albert H. Fennell. The left hand of the building was used as a library and the right hand as a snooker hall. The village war memorial stands in front of the building.

The library looks very different to the usual brick, or brick and stone buildings. But as the paper on Deniolen by Richard Hayman states: “Brick is rarely seen in Deiniolen. …. Pebble-dash, often used in combination with roughcast, became a signature feature of Deiniolen in the twentieth century, applied to older terraced houses, but also public buildings such as the library…”

Current status: No longer a public library (2021)

  • Year grant given: 1910
  • Amount of grant: £1,500
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1913

Photo of library in 2006:

Yr Hen Lyfrgell – The Old Library
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Eric Jones – geograph.org.uk/p/246458

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Colwyn Bay library

Brief description

The architects were Messrs Porter and Hunter of Chadwick, and Booth of Manchester. The builders were Robert Evans and sons of Old Colwyn.

The library was built to commemorate the coronation of Edward VII in 1902, and when it was opened, it became known as the Coronation Free library. It still contains the original stained glass windows, and a detailed mosaic of an oak tree in the entrance lobby.

The children’s library was opened in 1933 and the Welsh reference library in 1949, having received a donation from the profits of the 1947 National Eisteddfod held in the town.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Conwy council. According to articles linked below, it is under threat of closure. Plans are to relocate library services to a new location, however there has been strong opposition. (2021)

  • Year grant given: 1902
  • Amount of grant: Carnegie originally agreed to provide £1,000 and to match a sum raised by public subscription, up to £1,500. In December 1903 he raised his grant to £3,000  (total given was £3,800 according to the plaque).
  • Year opened (and by who): 25 April 1905, by the Rev Thomas Parry, JPCC. And the brass plaque was unveiled by the Rev JG Haworth.

Photos of the library in 2016 and 2022:

Jaggery / Colwyn Bay Library / CC BY-SA 2.0 (from wikimedia, source geograph)
Library in 2022 (I’ve cropped off the modern extensions)

Details:

Brass plaque in the entrance hall

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, during a holiday in North Wales in August 2022. We met a long time member of staff, who showed us lots of the original details and paintings.

Web links:

Coedpoeth library

Brief description

The local MP, Samuel Moss, was intrumental in obtaining the grant from Carnegie. The Parish Council led the process and appointed William Moss as architect. Four builders tendered for the work, and in April 1904 it was given to Mr Samuel Moss. 

When opened, the ground floor featured a billiard table in a games room, as well as a refreshments room, with the rear of the building used for meetings of the local parish government.

Current status: Now used by the local council and as a community space. (2021)

  • Year grant given: 1904
  • Amount of grant: £1,500
  • Year opened (and by who): 10 December 1904, by Samuel Moss MP

Photo of library in 2007:

Coedpoeth Library
cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Eirian Evans – geograph.org.uk/p/606241

Details:

A report of the opening ceremony states a plaque was fixed to the wall, reading: “Bersham Parish Council. This Library was erected with a gift of £1,500 given by Andrew Carnegie, Esquire, Skibo Castle, and opened this day by Samuel Moss, Esquire, M.P.” 

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links: