Hammersmith library

Brief description

The architect was Henry Hare, who designed a building in the Baroque style. (Note, he also designed libraries in libraries in Wolverhampton, Harrogate, Southend, Islington, Shoreditch and Fulham.) Sculptural ornaments include figures of Shakespeare and Milton, and reliefs of literature and Art, Industry and Science. The sculptor was Frederick Schenk. There are many stained glass windows, of literary figures including Chaucer, Spenser, Bacon and Erasmus.  And a portrait of Carnegie hangs at the top of the stairs.

The library was refurbished and reopened in 2014.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1980

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (2021)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1905

Photo of library in 2014:

14377272768_2ebdedfe55_z

Photo credit: Hammersmith and Fulham council (shared via flickr under cc licence)

Details:

Plaque above the main entrance

Old photo of library (postcard):

hammersmith

Visited?

Yes, in 2018. There is some lovely stained glass, and a study room upstairs with free wifi, so I could work there all afternoon.

Web links:

Fulham library

Brief description

The architect was Henry T Hare. The foundation stone was laid by Councillor Easton, Mayor of Fulham on 21 October 1908.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1985

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by London Borough of Hammersmith and Fulham (2018)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1908

Photo of library today (2018):

P1160993forblog

Details:

P1160973-forblog

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, after work in May 2018. The library is open until 8pm, and at 5pm was packed – both in the reference room upstairs, and all the desks and public computers on the ground floor. Also upstairs is what is labelled the Exhibition Hall – a vaulted space which is now available to hire – and looking at the photos on their website, it makes a great venue for weddings.

Web links:

Cubitt Town library

Brief description

aka Isle of Dogs library. The mayor of Poplar heard a speech by Andrew Carnegie in 1902 at the Guildhall, which included his offer to finance public libraries. He responded quickly, and within a  month it had been agreed that £15,000 would be provided for the erection of libraries at Bromley and Cubitt Town. The architect was C Harrold Norton. The site in Cubitt Town was acquired from Lady Margaret Charteris in 1900 for £1,150. The builders were Messrs Watts, Johnson & Company. Library facilities were on the ground floor, with a caretaker’s flat above. Most of the ceiling in the lending department fell to the floor around 1912, and the building suffered some bomb damage during WWII. The newspaper room to the right was slightly altered and a community hall was added to this side in the 1962

Awarded Grade II listing in 2006

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Tower Hamlets (2017)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1902
  • Amount of grant: £15,000 for 2 libraries: this one and one in Bromley-by-Bow. This library cost £6,805 13s 10d in total
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 14 January 1905, by local politician Will Crooks MP

Photo of library today (2005):

geograph-080855-by-Philip-Talmage

Photo credit: Philip Talmage and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Enfield Highway library

Brief description

Architect was the local district surveyor, Richard Collins.

Extended in 1938.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Enfield Council (2017)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1910

Photo of library today (2016) :

geograph-5076180-by-Julian-Osley

Photo credit: Julian Osley and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Enfield central library

Brief description

Architect was Richard Collins.

Extended in 1963, and again in 2010 – the latter 2 storey glass extension winning ‘Best Built Project’ at the London Planning Awards in January 2011.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Enfield Council (2017)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1912

Photo of library today (2010) – showing mainly the huge extension):

enfield-central-flickr

Photo credit: flickr user Adam Bowle

Library entrance (2006):

geograph-306005-by-Christine-Matthews

Photo credit: Christine Matthews and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Old photo of library (postcard):

enfield

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Maidenhead library

Brief description

Local man William Nicholson donated £1000 to buy the land. The architects were Arthur Ernest McKewan & G.H.V. Cole.

The building also housed the Maidenhead museum for a time (apparently the Carnegie Trustees refused permission for this the first time they were asked, but agreed after a second request “provided that the items could be moved out if the space was needed for books.”)

Current status: Demolished in 1973

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1904

Old photo of library (postcard):

maidenhead

Web links:

Twickenham library

Brief description

The architect was Howard Goadby and the building contractor was BE Nightingale.

The foundation stone was laid 18 June 1906, by FW Allison JP

On either side of the door is a roundel with a carved stone bust. Each shows one of Twickenham’s famous literary residents: Alexander Pope and Alfred, Lord Tennyson. Over the first-floor window architrave is a large sculpted relief of female figures writing, reading and painting.

Twickenham Library underwent a £700,000 refurbishment  in 2005 that restored many of the original glorious original features of the Victorian building, including stained glass. It re-opened in January 2006.

Awarded Grade II listing in 2011.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by the London Borough of Richmond upon Thames (2016)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £6,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1907

Photo of library today (2016):

dsc_0060-small

Details:

dsc_0054

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Saw this library on a Sunday afternoon (16 October 2016) on our way back from a day in Kew Gardens.

Web links:

Bromley library

Brief description

The site used for the library was a house called Neelgherries (an alternative spelling for Nilgiris, in India) which had been named by George Sparkes, who had worked as a judge in India. When his widow died, she left the house to the town of Bromley “for education and learning” – so when they were awarded the grant from Carnegie, that is where they built the library. The architect was Evelyn Hellicar. The library was extended in 1912.

Current status: Demolished in 1969.

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £7,500
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): May 1906

Old photo of library (postcard):

bromley

Web and other links:

  • Blog post about some research sparked off by a postcard of Bromley library gardens
  • Details about this, and all libraries in Kent found in a 3 part article written by Martin Tapsell: The Hare and the Tortoise – some notable public library buildings in Kent. published in Bygone Kent 2001-02.

Erith library

Brief description

In 1903 active local Members of the Council privately approached Andrew Carnegie. They succeeded in securing from him a donation of £7,000 provided that the Council raised a 1d rate (the maximum local tax then permitted by law to be used for public libraries) which produced an operating budget of £610 per annum.

The architect was W Egerton, who designed a building in the ‘Free Renaissance’ style.

The new Erith Library was opened in 1906 at Walnut Tree Road, and an early local guide proudly states that it contained “lending and reference libraries, news, magazines and children’s rooms, and lecture, committee and filing rooms. The first librarian, who lived in accommodation on the top floor, was William Barton Young, who was killed in action in WWI.

The library has been re-modelled internally many times, with staircases blocked up and new ones inserted. A museum was created where the librarians rooms were – and remained until the library closed. The collection was distributed among museums in Bexley. The last complete re-fit was in 2000.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1996.

Current status: Closed in 2009. Remained empty until 2018, when the Erith Exchange project started (see link below). Many original features remain (and will be retained) including stained glass, mosaic, marble columns, the book lift, and amazing turquoise and white tiled toilets. (2018)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1903
  • Amount of grant: £7,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 7 April 1906, by Judge James Alexander Rentoul

Photo of library in 2006:

211028748_eed39d5bf5_z

Photo taken in 2018 – restoration and conversion underway:

P1200440-forblog

Details:

erith-plaque

There is a mosaic in the entrance hall, which portrays Erith’s coat of arms (in 1906) and reads: ‘Labour overcomes all things’. It also includes red pike (fish), inspired by the coat of arms of the De Luci family –  influential Norman landowners. It was covered over for protection during the restoration – so I’ll have to visit again!

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, in 2006 – before it closed completely, although it wasn’t open the day we visited. And again on Open House weekend, September 2018. Very interesting to see the building with restoration underway, and hear about the team’s plans. There will be a mixture of artists studios and community space, plus a cafe/bar. The focus will be on bringing people together and stimulating creativity – with community involvement at the heart.  I think Carnegie would have approved.

Web links and other references:

  • Entry on the listed buildings register
  • History of Erith museum
  • Details about this, and all libraries in Kent found in a 3 part article written by Martin Tapsell: The Hare and the Tortoise – some notable public library buildings in Kent,  published in Bygone Kent 2001-02.
  • A new phase of life – The Erith Exchange project (also includes a potted history of the library, and photos)

Deptford library

Brief description

On 27th October 1905 a Public Libraries Service was opened in the former borough of Deptford. Andrew Carnegie promised a sum of £9000 for a central library and £4,500 each for two branch libraries. The present site was purchased for the central library in October 1909 for £5,600. Originally three shops stood here. Andrew Carnegie was again approached in August 1910 with a request to increase the funding. The final figure for the central library amounted to £12,000.

The architect was Sir H (?) Brumwell Thomas, who also designed West Greenwich library.

The Deptford Central Library was closed down in June 1991. The vacant building suffered heavily from vandalism, attracted squatters and became a venue for illegal raves. The damage in the first year was estimated at £70,000. The local pressure group, the Friends of Deptford Library, convinced the local authority that the building not be sold for redevelopment but remain in community usage and in March 1994 Lewisham ARthouse moved in.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1973.

Current status: Now an arts centre (2016)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £12,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 18 July 1914

Photo of library today:

211028744_4886ce11cd_z

Details:

deptford2-crop

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, in 2006, but the building wasn’t open, so we only saw the outside.

Web links: