York library

Brief description

In 1913 the Library Committee had been considering that the building was inadequate and approaches were made to the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust. After preliminary negotiations, a formal request was made to the Trust in 1915, and following investigations, an offer of £12,000 was made on 29 February 1916. The Trust added, however, that any building work should not commence until after the war.

A site had been acquired in Museum Street, and the architects Brierley and Rutherford were employed to design the building. When work commenced after the war, the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust revised its offer to £13,200, however even then a loan was needed to complete the project. The first portion of the building, containing the central block and one wing, was officially opened by the Earl of Elgin, and the total cost was £24,500.

In 1934 a further portion of the building was erected, before the building was finally completed in 1938. The completed building was opened by Sir John A R Marriott MA on 26 October 1938.

Further extended in 2015 thanks to National Lottery funding, the building now also houses the city archives.

Current status? Still a public library, managed by York Explore (2017).

  • Year grant given (if known): 1916
  • Amount of grant: £13,200
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 23 September 1927, by the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, chair of the Carnegie UK Trust.

Photo of library today:




Plaque in the library entrance

Old photo of library (postcard):


I’ve visited this library several times: first while on holiday in 2011, then more recently a couple of times for Libraries Taskforce meetings.

Web links:

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