New Cross library

Brief description

Designed by Gerald Warren and Stanley E Castle.

Current status: now a music studio [2016]

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 24 July 1911

Photo of library today:

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Old photo of library (postcard):

Not yet in my collection

Visited?

Drove past this former library, the carving above the door confirms it as a carnegie (just – its very faint!).

Web links:

West Greenwich library

Brief description

By the architect Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas, known for buildings in the baroque revival style, who also designed Deptford library. Given Grade II listing in 1973.

The library was refurbished in 2010 as part of a £1million programme.

Current status: Still a library, now managed by Better (formerly GLL) (2021)

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

Photo of library in 2014:

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Details:

Oval plaque on the front which reads:”The gift of Andrew Carnegie Esq”

Old photo of library (postcard):

Visited?

Passed by many times – and finally went inside in 2018. The library is beautiful inside, it has 3 sections, each with a domed ceiling. The photo above was taken in 2014.

Web links:

Walthamstow library

Brief description

The first public library opened in Walthamstow was in a house in the High Street, called Rosebank. The building was opened on 29 September 1894, by Passmore Edwards, who also paid for an extension. The library was designed by JW Dunford. Library use increased and in 1907 Rosebank was demolished, and a new library building was constructed on the same site. The extension remained however, and became a reading room, then the lending library. In 1935 a mezzanine floor was added.

An arson attack caused major damage in 1982, with most of the ground floor being gutted. It was refurbished and reopened in 1984. It was further modernised and extended in 2006-7; the extension was designed by Faulkner Browns, the same architects who designed The Word in South Shields, and Hebburn library.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1973.

Current status: Still a public library, managed by Waltham Forest council. [2018]

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £10,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 10 July 1909, by JA Simon esq. KC, MP.

Photo of library today [2014]:

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Details:

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Shiny copper plaque in the entrance
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Stained glass with owl
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Plaque in the 1894 Passmore Edwards funded extension

Old photo of library (postcard):

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Not sure when the baths were demolished, but that space on the far side of the library is now an open area, often occupied by market stalls.

Visited?

Visited in August 2014 – really liked the way the extension added bright space to the original building, and of course loved the stained glass which included an owl!

Visited a second time during Libraries Week, October 2018

Web links:

Sydenham library

Brief description

Opened in 1904, it was the first of 5 Carnegie libraries to be built in Lewisham. The architect was Albert L Guy (who also designed Crofton Park), and the builders were Perry Brothers.

It started with in controversy. The borough wanted to build Sydenham’s Library in Adamsrill Road. The people would have nothing of it and a petition of 1200 names insisted it was in a central prominent position. The council gave way and the present site was procured for £504 from the trustees of Sir George Grove (the famous musical publisher) adjoining the Home Park Recreation Ground and next to his former home.

The building was substantially refurbished and a new entrance built on the side in the 1960s.

Current status: Its status changed in 2010 when Lewisham Council handed several of their libraries over to community groups. It is now run by Eco Communities (like the libraries in Crofton Park.

  • Year grant given (if known): 1902
  • Amount of grant: £9,000 provided to build Sydenham and Crofton Park
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 24 September 1904, by the mayor: George S Warmington

Photo of library today:

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Details:

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Brass plaque in the library

Old photo of library (postcard):

Visited?

Visited on a very rainy day in August 2015.

Web links:

Herne Hill – the Carnegie library

Brief description

Built in 1905 – the architect was Wakeford and Son, the builders were Holliday and Greenwood.

The building was awarded Grade II listing in 1981.

Current status: The future of the library is uncertain. It was closed by Lambeth Council in 2016 – an act which caused great controversy and resulted in many local people occupying the library for over a week. The council have announced their intention to hand over the building to be turned into a health living centre, but exact plans are currently unknown (July 2016)

  • Year grant given (if known): application made directly to Carnegie in 1902
  • Amount of grant: £12,500
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): completed in 1905 and opened to the public on 9 July 1906

Photo of library today:

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Details:

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Bronze plaque in the entrance hall

Old photo of library (postcard):

Visited?

I’ve visited several times – once to take photos of the outside, and again, when the library took part in the Lambeth Fun Palaces event in 2015.

Web links:

Crofton Park library

Brief description

Crofton Park Library was originally known as Brockley Branch Library.
Its architect was Alfred L Guy, ARIBA, and it was constructed by F J Gortham of Greenwich. The building sustained damage when the neighbouring Crofton Park Station was bombed in 1940 and 1945, losing two glass dome skylights and the leaded glass in the ground floor windows. The library was refurbished in 1959-60. The library building has been given local listing by Lewisham Borough Council, which describes it as making “a handsome contribution towards the streetscape”. [wikipedia]

Current status: Since 2011 this library has been run by volunteers, and the building is run by Eco Communities (along with the libraries in Grove Park and Sydenham – the latter is also a carnegie library). Books and the library management system are provided by Lewisham Council.

  • Year grant given (if known): 1902
  • Amount of grant: £9,000 provided to build Sydenham and Crofton Park
  • Year opened:October 1905

Photo of library today:

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Visited?

Visited on Saturday 3 July 2016 – and had a cup of tea in their cafe.

Plumstead library

Brief description

This building, designed by Frank Sumner, borough engineer, is on Plumstead High Street.

Grade II Listing was awarded in 2016.

From the listing entry: “The library was originally laid out with the reading room in the very well-lit north-east room, the newspapers and magazines in the large north-west room, and the adult lending library was held in the south-west, with a book store, offices, and a ‘music, art and study room’ partitioned off opposite. The issue desk was positioned at the entrance to the lending library. Evidence exists to suggest the library may originally have operated on a closed access system. The first-floor museum was opened in 1919.”

Current status: Still operating as a public library. Although when it was opened it was in the London Borough of Woolwich, it is now situated in Greenwich, and run by GLL.

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £15,250
  • Year opened: Opened by the Right Honourable John Morley MP on 17 December 1904

Photo of library today:

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Details:

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Old photo of library (postcard):

[to be scanned]

Visited?

I visited on a Saturday (2 July 2016) and the library was open and fairly busy. Virtually all the public computer terminals were in use and there were a couple of families in the children’s section.

Web links: