Rawtenstall library

Brief description

Plans for the new library were drawn up in 1903, after the Carnegie grant was secured. The designers chosen were Messrs Crouch, Butler and Savage of Birmingham (who later won competitions to design Carnegie libraries in Worthing and Wednesbury). The foundation stone was laid on 15 September 1904.

Rawtenstall Library was opened in 1906 and the official opening in 1907 was attended by Andrew Carnegie. The library was designed as part of a larger civic complex for the town, including Town Hall and Assembly Room, but it was never completed. It was one of the first public libraries in the country to open with open-access to the books on the shelves.

It was extended in 1914, this was also paid for by Carnegie. The library was operated by Rawtenstall Borough until 1974. Refurbished in 2003.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1971

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

  • Year grant given (if known): 11 July 1902
  • Amount of grant: £6,000 (additional £921 awarded in 1908)
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1 June 1907, by Andrew Carnegie (nb this was the official opening ceremony – the library had opened to the public on 30 June 1906)

Photo of the library in 2020:

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

Photo of (back of) the library in 2010:


Photo credit: flickr user Tim Green (shared under cc licence)


Old photo of library (postcard):



Not yet

Web links:

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