Wakefield library

Brief description

Known as the Drury Lane library, it was designed by Trimmell, Cox & Co of Woldingham, Surrey and built by Bagnall Brothers of Wakefield. The foundation stone was laid on 15 February 1905 by  the mayor of Wakefield, Mr Alderman Childe.

The first librarian was Mr George Wood, who remained in post for 32 years. The library was extended in 1935 and a new junior library was opened in 1939.

Current status: No longer a public library, the building has been redeveloped into a facility for artists. It provides studios and exhibition space. It reopened in November 2015 following a  £3 million programme of work. (2016)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1904
  • Amount of grant: £8,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 2 June 1906, by Andrew Carnegie

Photo of library today:

Not yet obtained

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Normanton library

Brief description

The grant was offered in 1902 and construction started in 1905. The library was built by R Leake and Sons, of Normanton, and the architect was Arthur Hartley. Mr WA Robinson was appointed librarian and caretaker.

Current status: No longer a public library (closed on 26 October 2001 when the new library opened), it appears to be used as local authority offices (2011)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1902
  • Amount of grant: £2,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 29 May 1907 by Sir William Garforth

Photo of library today (2011):

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Details:

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Old photo of library (postcard):

normanton-edit

Visited?

Yes, in 2011. Caused a bit on confusion when we asked where the library was, as of course they initially directed us to the new one. We found the old one though, and it seemed to be in good repair, although there was no indication who was using it as offices.

Web links:

Pontefract library

Brief description

Intriguingly, when citizens of Pontefract were first asked (in 1897) whether they wanted a free library, 700 voted against, and only 150 for. When Carnegie was initially approached by a newspaper, he replied that it seemed the people did not want a library, however when the Town Clerk wrote to him, he agreed to award funding.

The architects of this beautiful art nouveau style library were Garside and Pennington, whose plans were provided in 1903. Apparently George Pennington, a devout Methodist, tendered his services free of charge. Construction started in 1904, and the library was built by Henry Gundill. The mosaic in the entrance hall says ‘Free Library 1904’ -although it wasn’t officially opened until 1905.

It was awarded Grade II listing in 1975.

Current status: No longer a public library, when the new library was built,this building became the town’s museum in 1978. (still is: 2016)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £2,588 (initially £2250, but they overran)
  • Year opened: 21 September 1905 by JG Lyon JP.

Photo of building today (2011):

Pontefract-800

Details:

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The beautiful art nouveau interior is at its best in the tiled entrance hall.

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, in 2011, and spent a while digging up background information about the library in the local history collection.

Web links: