Designed by S D Adshead, following a competition judged by Henry Hare, the library was his first major commission. Pevsner described it as being in “refined, scholarly neo-Georgian” style.
Just before its centenary celebration, fire destroyed the building on 13 August 2004. It was however rebuilt, retaining the facade, but with a new building behind on the original footprint. It reopened in 2009.
Awarded Grade II listing in 1988, before the fire.
Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Kent county council (2016)
- Year grant given (if known):
- Amount of grant: £7,000
- Year opened (and by who – if known): October 1904
Photo of library today (2009):
Stained glass window, installed to commemorate the fire. Previously the circular space had contained a window with the town’s coat of arms.
Old photo of library (postcard):
Yes, in 2009, after it reopened.
Web links and other references:
- Entry on the listed buildings register (nb, not sure what happens to a listing after such a destructive fire? The front has been retained, but the building behind is completely different)
- Article celebrating the reopening of the library (contains a photo of it ablaze)
- Details about this, and all libraries in Kent found in a 3 part article written by Martin Tapsell: The Hare and the Tortoise – some notable public library buildings in Kent, published in Bygone Kent 2001-02.