Wednesbury Library is highly unusual and possibly unique as a Carnegie library in that Carnegie normally funded libraries where there wasn’t one already, but Wednesbury’s was to replace an existing one. According to their plaque this was out of gratitude because it was at Wednesbury that Andrew Carnegie first saw the iron-works process that he took to America to make his fortune.
Although funding was offered in 1904, it was difficult to find a site, and it was not until December 1906, when the Mayor and Mayoress, Mr. and Mrs. Handley, generously gave a suitable piece of land on the corner of Walsall Street, and Hollies Drive to the town, that construction could begin.
Several sets of plans were submitted by various architects, which were assessed by Mr. Guy Dawber, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The chosen design had been submitted by Crouch, Butler, & Savage of Birmingham, who became the architects for the new building. The contract for building the new library was given to Mr. T. Elvins of Hockley, Birmingham.
Awarded Grade II listing in 1987.
Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Sandwell libraries (2017)
- Year grant given (if known): 1904
- Amount of grant: £5,000
- Year opened (and by who – if known): 28 October 1908, by the Mayor, Alderman John Handley, almost a year to the day (22 October 1907) that he had laid the foundation stone.
Photo of library today (2013):
Old photo of library (postcard):
Nothing in my collection yet
- Entry on the listed buildings register
- A history of the library (on the history of Wednesbury website)