Gainsborough library

Brief description

In 1902 Councillor Joseph Barlow, Chairman of the Urban District Council, in wishing to commemorate the accession of Edward VII, wrote to Andrew Carnegie for assistance.

Carnegie offered £4,000 providing his usual conditions relating to the site and the Libraries’ Act were met. Sir Hickman Bacon offered a site and James Marshall approached employers in the town to raise the money to purchase it. Marshall’s own firm gave £200 and a promise to make up any shortfall. The architect was H G Gamble, of Lincoln.

The new library was opened in October 1905, was administered by the Urban District Council and initially held 1,800 books for lending with a further 80 on reference.

The building is still in use as a public library and stands opposite Gainsborough Old Hall. Although the exterior of the building has memorials to prominent people associated with the town over the centuries, there is no acknowledgement of Andrew Carnegie. He merely provided the money! Over the entrance are simply the words ‘Public Library’. [from the article by David Lambourne – see link below]

Awarded Grade II listing in 2015.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Better (Lincolnshire have contracted out their libraries and they are now run by the CIC formerly known as GLL) (2021)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1902
  • Amount of grant: £4,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): October 1905

Photo of library in 2011:




Plaque above the entrance (inside a porch, so quite dark and hard to photograph). Photo credit: Neil Stewart.

Old photo of library (postcard):



Visited during a holiday in 2011, and again in 2019.

Web links:

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