Walthamstow library

Brief description

The first public library opened in Walthamstow was in a house in the High Street, called Rosebank. The building was opened on 29 September 1894, by Passmore Edwards, who also paid for an extension. The library was designed by JW Dunford. Library use increased and in 1907 Rosebank was demolished, and a new library building was constructed on the same site. The extension remained however, and became a reading room, then the lending library. In 1935 a mezzanine floor was added.

An arson attack caused major damage in 1982, with most of the ground floor being gutted. It was refurbished and reopened in 1984. It was further modernised and extended in 2006-7; the extension was designed by Faulkner Browns, the same architects who designed The Word in South Shields, and Hebburn library.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1973.

Current status: Still a public library, managed by Waltham Forest council. [2018]

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £10,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 10 July 1909, by JA Simon esq. KC, MP.

Photo of library today [2014]:



Shiny copper plaque in the entrance
Stained glass with owl
Plaque in the 1894 Passmore Edwards funded extension

Old photo of library (postcard):


Not sure when the baths were demolished, but that space on the far side of the library is now an open area, often occupied by market stalls.


Visited in August 2014 – really liked the way the extension added bright space to the original building, and of course loved the stained glass which included an owl!

Visited a second time during Libraries Week, October 2018

Web links:

One thought on “Walthamstow library”

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s