The architects were Hugh A. Gold & W. W. Newman. The original library outgrew its space, and plans were drawn up for a new building. From the news article linked below “Building work was halted by World War One and work on a new building in Hempstead Road did not begin until 1927. It was completed 12 months later at a cost of £20,000.”
Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Hertfordshire county council (2021)
Year grant given (if known):
Amount of grant: £5,000 was raised “by the Library Committee and a grant from the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust.”
Built in 1911, (foundation stone has the date October 1910) the building was designed by local architect F Guilford W Dudley, after a competition. It followed the typical Carnegie formula of a grand entrance accessed by a flight of steps. It is locally listed. The builder was Mr OP Drover of Kettering.
It continued to house the City’s public library until replaced in the 1980s by a new one in the Maltings development on the opposite side of Victoria Street. The library closed on 18 April 1988, and was sold. It is now an O’Neills Bar. You can still see the stained glass window which includes Andrew Carnegie holding the building in his hands.
Current status: Bar/restaurant (2018)
Year grant given (if known): Approach made in August 1909.
Amount of grant: £3,000. Building eventually cost £4,290. Carnegie was approached again in 1912, and he contributed a further £597 (see Talking Buildings report linked below)
Year opened (and by who – if known): 10 October 1911, by Andrew Carnegie
The architect was J Myrtle Smith, who designed the library in the Wren revival style. The building included a School of Art.
Every detail in the building was crafted with a meticulous eye for design; the banisters on the stairs, the handles to the doors, the stained glass windows, all were manufactured for this specific building and to the highest possible standard. The first Librarian was Oswald C Hudson. [from the caption to a photo on the Francis Frith site]
Wings were added, in the same style, to the left and right in 1956.
Awarded Grade II listing in 1983.
Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Hertfordshire county council (2016)