Battle library

Brief description

Reading corporation had applied to Carnegie to build 2 branches, one in the east and one in the west. They received a promise of £8,000, but internal wranglings meant that ultimately the offer could not be taken up. An enthusiastic voluntary committee though persevered, as they wrote to Carnegie in 1906 and asked if he would be prepared to make a grant just for one branch. They were successful in raising the running costs,  and the building initially known as West End branch, became Battle library.

The foundation stone was laid by the Mayor, Edward Jackson and JB Hurry on 16 October 1907. The design was decided by competition, and the winner was the Reading architect, FW Albury. The 3 carved heads above the entrance are said to represent Newton (although some say its Milton), Shakespeare and Darwin.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Reading Borough Council (2016)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1906
  • Amount of grant: £4,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 3 June 1908, by the Rt Hon GW Palmer

Photo of library today (2008):

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, in 2008

Web links and further reading:

  • Roots and branches: the centenary history of Battle and Caversham libraries, Reading‘ by David Cliffe. ISBN: 9781901677546

Caversham library

Brief description

The library committee wrote to Carnegie in June 1905 and received a promise of £2,500 (an overspend was covered by a further grant).  Following a competition judged by the Reading architects Charles Smith and Son, the local architect WG Lewton was chosen. Described as being in the ‘free renaissance style’ (possibly meaning that it is not symmetrical, and borrows elements from a range of styles, include Arts and Crafts, and classical). The foundation stone was laid 23 March 1907 by William Bullivant Williams, who had donated the site.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1978.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by  Reading Borough Council (2016)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1905
  • Amount of grant: £2,575
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 11 December 1907, by Viscount Valentia (Chairman of Oxfordshire County Council).

Photo of library today (2008):

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, in 2008

Web links and further reading:

  • Entry on the listed buildings register
  • Roots and branches: the centenary history of Battle and Caversham libraries, Reading‘ by David Cliffe. ISBN: 9781901677546