The Carnegie legacy in England and Wales

Its quite hard to find out exactly how many libraries in England were funded by Carnegie. There were around 660 libraries built in the United Kingdom and Ireland, and the ones in Scotland and Ireland are fairly well documented.

There were grants given to cities, who may have built several branches. There were grants given to places that have since changed their name or are now in different administrative areas (the county map in England has changed completely during the that 100 years – both the place I was born and the place I initially grew up in now have very different addresses).

During this phase of my research project I hope to fill in some gaps and produce a fairly complete list of what was funded in England.

The posts will include details, and at some point I’ll add a map here…….. (lots more prep needed for that though!)

Interesting to read how many Carnegie buildings have been given listed status. Historic England listed a couple more (in 2017) and this article references the ones in Stockport (with a photo of the wonderful glass dome), Darwen, and Nelson. The latter is no longer open as a library.

Update: In 2019, I visited a handful of Carnegie libraries in Wales, and after a bit of googling, when I found very little information collated online about the legacy in that country, I’ve decided to extend the scope of this site to include Wales. To find all the places I’ve recorded, select Wales in the location list.

Update 2 (Jan 2021): While working with the Libraries Taskforce, I came across Shelf-Life: Re-imagining the future of Carnegie Libraries. This is a research project funded by the Arts and Humanities Research Council and run by Cardiff University. Their website is now live “Carnegie Libraries of Britain“. I’ll work through as I think there is a lot I can cross-reference from pages on this site.

The team have visited many Carnegie libraries and created some great 360 tours of libraries, as well as a huge gallery of photos. The site also contains a detailed map, which also points to lots of information about the legacy – including references to communities where funding was rejected. Their research interest is in the architecture – and their aim is forĀ  to “enable better-informed, more sensitive and economic proposals for the rehabilitation and re-use of these buildings and set an example for others.”

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