Torquay library

Brief description

From the History of Torbay library services (linked below): “It was not until June 1903 that a reply was received from Carnegie’s Secretary offering £7,500 for the erection of a public library building providing the Act was adopted, and a site provided, the cost of which would not be a burden on the penny rate. The letter was read at the Council meeting of 29th June 1903 and accepted unanimously. The formal adoption of the 1892 Public Libraries Act was made on 1st September….. It was suggested that the library be incorporated with the Town Hall. “

After a competition which attracted 80 entries, the chosen architect was Thomas Davison, from London.

The firm of R.E. Narracott of Stoke Gabriel were appointed as builders. It soon became obvious the £7,500 was not going to be sufficient and another application was made to Andrew Carnegie who gave a further
£1,400. The foundation stone was laid on 14 February 1906 by the Mayor, John Smerdon.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1975 (note – the Town Hall listing specifically includes the former Carnegie library. The new library is also Grade II listed, and that listing also contains details of the Carnegie building.)

Current status: In 1933, the council decided to build a new library on a site closeby. It was opened in 1938. Council departments then expanded into the former library building. The Carnegie United Kingdom Trust donated £700 for books for the new library. Still open as a public library, run by xx (2021)

  • Year grant given (if known): June 1903
  • Amount of grant: £7,500, plus £1,400
  • Year opened: 2 October 1907, by F. Layland-Barratt, Member of Parliament for Torquay

Photo of library in 2020 :

Former library. Photo credit: Oriel Prizeman 2020. Image shared under CC license CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 Cardiff University AHRC Shelf Life project


Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet


Not yet

Web links:

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