In 1916 the Carnegie Trust of Dunfermline offered Gateshead a grant of £15,000 for a new public library (John Johnstone’s library on Swinburne Street was by then too small). In 1918 Arthur Stockwell was appointed as architect. Initial designs were costed above the grant, even though it was raised to £16,500. Stockwell died. In 1925/6 a reduced design was executed by David Ditchburn with a top-up loan of £6,500 from the government.
The library echoes the design of its neighbour the Shipley Art Gallery. Ionic portico with two ranges capped with small domes and one-storey wings. It was operated on the open-access system. It was extended in red brick by Leslie Berry, Borough Architect in 1975/6 and remains the town’s main library (Taylor and Lovie, 2004).
Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Gateshead libraries (2018)
- Year grant given (if known): 1916
- Amount of grant: £16,500
- Year opened (and by who – if known): 31 March 1926, by the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine (chair of the Carnegie UK Trust)
Photo of library today (2018):
Old photo of library (postcard):
Nothing in my collection yet
Yes, for a workshop in January 2018.
- Entry on the local listed buildings register (Tyne and Wear’s Historic Environment Record)
- News: The first chapter of Gateshead Central Library proved revolutionary – and it’s still going strong– in 2016, on the 90th anniversary
- News: Sneak preview of Gateshead library revamp– after the “2.5m makeover – just before reopening in 2011