Skewan library

Brief description

The architect was J Rees Cook. The book “Books, Buildings and Social Engineering: Early Public Libraries in Britain” includes the date 1905, while the stone over the door has the date 1904. More research needed!

Current status: Currently a community centre, owned by Coedffranc Town council. News items (linked below) indicate that the library service may relocate back to the building! (2019)

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

Photo of library today (2019):

Red brick building with yellow stone details

Old photo of library (postcard):

Visited?

Yes, on our way back from a week in Pembrokeshire.

Web links:

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Penarth library

Brief description

The library was built 1904-6 by H Snell, architect to the Windsor estate, in the Free Jacobean style. The contractor was Mr Bond. The site was donated by Lord Windsor. The foundation stone was laid by Samuel Thomas, chairman of the library committee, on 10 September 1904.

While the library was opened in 1905, it was not until 1909 that the council could afford the additional £350 to build the planned caretakers cottage alongside.

The original entrance was through an arched doorway on Stanwell Road (the left of the photo below, and shown in the old postcard). This doorway is now closed, but the painted stained glass is still in place (see photo below). The new entrance is approached by steps or a ramp.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1990

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Vale of Glamorgan council (2019)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1904
  • Amount of grant: £4,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 30 August 1905 by Lord Windsor.

Photo of library today (2019):

Two storey stone building on a corner site,
Penarth library

Details:

Arched doorway with ornate stone surround, stained glass and green painted wood
Original doorway to Penarth library
Bronze plaque commemorating Lord Windsor who gave the site, and Andrew Carnegie who provided £4,000 for construction of the library
Bronze plaque in Penarth library

Old photo of library (postcard):

old postcard showing Penarth library

Visited?

Yes, during our holiday in South Wales in June 2019.

Web links:

Canton library

Brief description

Designed by R M Bruce Vaughan, architect of Cardiff. The building was largely unaltered apart from some rebuilding following a fire in c1990. Then in 2014, it underwent a £829,000 refurbishment .

Awarded Grade II listing in 2001

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Cardiff City council (2019)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £5,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 7 March 1907 by Alderman David Jones JP (Carnegie had been invited, but was unable to attend). On the same day, the party of city officials had taken specially arranged trams and come from the opening of Cathays library.

Photo of library today (2019):

Ornate carved stonework around the entrance to Canton library - gothic pointed windows and the words: Carnegie library. Free to the public.
Entrance to Canton library. Carved in the stonework: Carnegie library. Free to the public

Details:

Stone plaque which states that Canton Branch library was erected at a cost of £5,000 given to the citizens by Andrew Carnegie Esquire LLD. 1906
Stone plaque on the front of Canton library

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, during our holiday in South Wales in June 2019.

Web links:

Cathays library

Brief description

Designed in an Arts and Crafts style by Speir & Bevan, architects of Wharton Street, Cardiff – following an open competition. The stained glass is by Harvey & Ashby of Birmingham, and the contractor was W.T. Morgan of Cardiff.

The interior has lots of original features, and is as pretty as the outside. Stained glass windows include depictions of books, and the original circulation desk has been restored and sits in close to its original position. One curiosity that I’ve never seen in another library – a tiled drinking fountain. And this was an original requirement, as we saw it listed in the competition brief to the architects.

Closed in 2009 to be refurbished, and reopened in 2010.

Awarded Grade II* listing in 1975

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Cardiff City council (2019)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £10,000 (but the project overspent, and council minutes reported a further £409 8s 1d had been requested – and received.)
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 7 March 1907 by the Lord Mayor of Cardiff, Councillor WS Crossman JP (Carnegie had been invited, but was unable to attend). On the same day, the party of city officials took specially arranged trams and opened the Canton library.

Photo of library today (2019):

Stone building with symetrical wings, each with a tall stained glass window. Between the wings, the central section has a wide entrance doorway, and a narrow spire above
Cathays branch library

Details:

Detail of stone carving above the entrance to Cathays library, including the words: Carnegie ... free to the public
Ornate carved stonework above the entrance to Cathays library

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, during our holiday in South Wales in June 2019. We spent a long time in the library, looking at original council minutes which detailed the months leading up to the library opening, and original plans – both for the library when it was first built, and for changes both to its interior and exterior later on.

Web links:

Whitchurch library

Brief description

The building was designed in the Flemish Baroque style by R and S Williams of Cardiff and built by W T Morgan. The war memorial in the garden in front of the library commemorates the dead from two World Wars.

Awarded Grade II listing in 2002

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Cardiff City council (2019)

  • Year grant given (if known): The parish first petitioned the Carnegie Foundation for a grant in 1899 (but weren’t successful immediately)
  • Amount of grant: £2,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 14 December 1904

Photo of library today (2019):

Single storey red brick building, with war memorial in front (statue of a man on a tall plinth)
Whitchurch library

Details:

Brass plaque noting the Andrew Carnegie donated £2,000 to the council to enable the library to be built
Plaque in Whitchurch library, recording Carnegie’s donation

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, during our holiday in South Wales, June 2019. There was a poster in the library with details of their plans for refurbishment and changes. The current entrance is round to the side of the library, and leads into the modern extension. That is going to be closed, so the configuration of those rooms can be changed. The library will once again be entered via the original front door – seen on the left hand side of the photo above.

Web links:

Newport library

Brief description

Known as Carnegie library, this was the main library in Newport until a new one was built in 2015.

Current status: Closed in 2015. No longer a public library, now run as a nursery (2019)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 14 March 1907

Photo of library today (2019):

Newport former library - a red brick and stone single storey building

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, during our holiday in South Wales in June 2019. We couldn’t go inside, but the nursery is clearly busy and the building looked to be in good repair.

Web links:

Rogerstone library

Brief description

Site was given by the Rt Hon Lord Tredegar, who later opened the library. The building was designed in Edwardian free classical style, by Swash and Bain. There is a stone cartouche on the front inscribed with the date: 1905.

The library was refurbished in 2002-3 and reopened by the Mayor of Newport.

Awarded Grade II listing in 2003.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Newport City council (2019)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 4 November 1905, by Lord Tredegar.

Photo of library today (2019):

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, during our week in South Wales, June 2019. The library was open and I enjoyed hearing stories from the member of staff about how it was said to be haunted! He had heard voices when the library was closed, and once saw a lady in a long dress by the entrance.

Web links: