Blackheath library

Brief description

This small, compact Carnegie library was built in 1909 and is situated on the outskirts of Blackheath town centre (in Carnegie Road).

Architects: Herbert Wills and John Anderson, and their design was in the Edwardian Baroque style. The builder was William Cooper. The result of a competition for 3 Carnegie libraries to serve the outer suburbs of Birmingham – this small elegant solution cost less than £2,000 (Builder, 27 Feb 1909) Owned at that time by Rowley Regis urban district council. Includes an octagonal reading room with domed lantern.

In c.1949 the interior of the library was remodelled with the addition of a children’s section whilst the ladies’ room became a reading room and the news room a reference room. Further internal remodelling took place in c.1959 when the children’s section and reference room were removed and the office reduced in size to create increased circulation space in the foyer for the addition of a new lending desk; the reading room also changed use to accommodate the children’s section.

Awarded Grade II listing in 2012.

Current status: Closed as a public library in 2011, the author of one of the articles below states that the building was up for sale. Now traced as being restored and in use as Bookworms Daycare (link also below)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £1,696
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 15 September 1909, by Mr Thomas Crew

Photo of library today c2020:

Image credit: Oriel Prizeman. Cardiff University AHRC “Shelf Life” project. [AH/P002587/1]. Shared under CC license NC-SA.

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Wednesbury library

Brief description

Wednesbury Library is highly unusual and possibly unique as a Carnegie library in that Carnegie normally funded libraries where there wasn’t one already, but Wednesbury’s was to replace an existing one. According to their plaque this was out of gratitude because it was at Wednesbury that Andrew Carnegie first saw the iron-works process that he took to America to make his fortune.

Although funding was offered in 1904, it was difficult to find a site, and it was not until December 1906, when the Mayor and Mayoress, Mr. and Mrs. Handley, generously gave a suitable piece of land on the corner of Walsall Street, and Hollies Drive to the town, that construction could begin.

Several sets of plans were submitted by various architects, which were assessed by Mr. Guy Dawber, President of the Royal Institute of British Architects. The chosen design had been submitted by Crouch, Butler, & Savage of Birmingham, who became the architects for the new building. The contract for building the new library was given to Mr. T. Elvins of Hockley, Birmingham.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1987.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Sandwell libraries (2017)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1904
  • Amount of grant: £5,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 28 October 1908, by the Mayor, Alderman John Handley, almost a year to the day (22 October 1907) that he had laid the foundation stone.

Photo of library today (2013):

wednesbury-geograph-3540083-by-mike-faherty

Photo credit: Mike Faherty 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:

Kings Norton

Brief description

Built next to the Post Office in 1906. The foundation stone was laid by Councillor Edwin Shephard on 2 December 1905. The building was designed by Benjamin Bower, and built by Mr William Jackson. It cost £1,000.

The library was enlarged in 1939. In 2014 Birmingham secured funding from the Wolfson to refurbish 5 of their childrens libraries (including this one, and Kings Heath – another carnegie library). The library still has many original features, including stained glass, dark wooden shelving (in the adult section), and columns. The main counter has been replaced though, and and the children’s section is completely renewed and modernised.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Birmingham council. (2017)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): August 1906

Photo of library today (2017):

P1140392-forblog

Details:

P1140394-forblog

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, on a sunny day at the end of November 2017.

Web links:

Stourbridge library

Brief description

Built during 1903-4 and extended 1908-9. Designed by Frederick Woodward, Netherlandish Renaissance style. Isaac Nash laid the foundation stone in February 1904.

Carnegie contributed £3,000 to the library’s foundation and a further £700 to the 1908 newsroom extension.

Became Stourbridge College of Art.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1989, largely for its art nouveau stained glass.

Current status: Possibly converted to apartments – ref on (undated) blog  (2017)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £3000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known):

Photo of library today (2015):

geograph-4349356-by-stephen-craven

From Geograph© Copyright Stephen Craven and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

stourbridge

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Wolverhampton library

Brief description

Built 1900-1902. Designed by Henry T Hare, in ‘Free Renaissance’ style.

Note: Thomas Graham, who founded the Express and Star newspaper, was from Dunfermline (like Carnegie) and the 2 became friends. Graham persuaded Carnegie to buy the newspaper in 1882.

Awarded Grade II* listing in 1992

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by City of Wolverhampton council (2017)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1902

Photo of library today (2012):

geograph-2811402-by-alan-murray-rust

From Geograph  © Copyright Alan Murray-Rust and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

wolverhampton

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Selly Oak library

Brief description

The architect was John Perrins Osborne, and the building contractor was George Webb. The foundation stone was laid on 1 August 1905. [Exactly the same people, and timing, as the library in Stirchley] nb the listings entry says the building opened on 1 August 1905…..

Awarded Grade II listing in 2011

Current status: Closed in 2017. Replaced by a new library in a new development relatively close by. Looking for alternative tenants, but when I drove past in November 2017, no new purpose had been found for this building.

  • Year grant given (if known): June 1902
  • Amount of grant: £3,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 23 June 1906, by Thomas Gibbins (who had donated the site).

Photo of library in 2009:

4206078447_99c4f71080_z

Photo credit: flickr user Elliott Brown, shared under cc licence

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet, but the image below appears in wikimedia:

selly_oak_free_library

Visited?

Drove past in November 2017. Just managed a snatched photo of the front door.

Web links:

Kings Heath library

Brief description

The architect was Arthur Gilbey Latham, and his design was for a building in classic Renaissance style. It has a Baroque facade. The land was purchased by a public subscription. The foundation stone was laid in August 1905.

The library was extended in 1974, to house a childrens library.

Awarded Grade II listing in 2010.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Birmingham council (2016)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1902
  • Amount of grant: Carnegie gave £12,500 to King’s Norton and Northfield UDC for the erection of several libraries. Kings Heath was one of 8 to receive funding, and the library cost £3,368.
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1906

Photo of library today (2009):

4175354392_dbec729c67_z

Photo credit: flickr user Elliott Brown, shared under cc licence

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

kingsheath

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Walsall library

Brief description

The building was designed by the architect James Glen Sivewright Gibson and William Wallace, in the Edwardian Baroque style, with carving by HC Fehr.
It was extended in 1965, providing space for a gallery. A new childrens library, and music section were also added.

Awarded Grade II listing in 2015.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Walsall council (2021)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1900
  • Amount of grant: £8,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 24 July 1906, by Alderman W. Hughes chairman of the Free Library and Art Gallery Committee

Photo of library in 2014:

14079758652_da08409ba2_z

Photo credit: flickr user Elliott Brown, shared under cc licence

Details:

Old picture of library (postcard):

walsall

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Stirchley library

Brief description

The foundation stone was laid by Councillor HMR Grant on 1 August 1905. Cadbury Brothers provided the site (and may have contributed towards the building costs too, although the majority of these were funded by Carnegie). The architect was John Perrins Osborne and the building contractor was George Webb.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1998.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Birmingham city council (2016)

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

Photo of library today (2013):

8852220244_9711a650ec_z

Photo credit: flickr user Elliott Brown, shared under cc licence

Details:

8852217500_7a4c4f022c_z

Photo credit: flickr user Elliott Brown, shared under cc licence

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

West Bromwich library

Brief description

Designed by local architect Stephen J. Holliday. The central hallway has mosaic and tile decoration which includes inscription: “This building is the gift of Mr Andrew Carnegie to the Borough”.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1987.

Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Sandwell council (2016)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £7,500
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 10 June 1907, by Mayor James Edward Wilson.

Photo of library today (2011):

5582780805_6dc46b1456_z

Photo credit: flickr user Elliott Brown, shared under cc licence

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links: