Foleshill library

Brief description

This branch is one of 3 (the other 2 are Earlsdon and Stoke) built in Coventry as the stone says: “through the munificence of Andrew Carnegie”

As detailed in the news article linked below, the library was damaged in an arson attack in 2003. It was fully restored and extended though, and reopened in 2005.

Current status: Still a library

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1913

Photo of library today:

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Details:

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Each of the 3 branch libraries in Coventry has the same wording on the stone. All say 2012, which I guess must be when the stone was laid, as all were opened in 2013 (as illustrated by the framed certificate below which each received from the Carnegie UK Trust when they celebrated their centenary)

foleshill6-forblog

Old photo of library (postcard):

Visited?

I visited all 3 branch libraries on 7 July 2016, following a meeting in Coventry central library. Each is instantly recognisable as they are built in similar styles, but each is also different. The insides have familiar layouts, and all are bright spaces, which when I visited were busy.

Web links:

Stafford library

Brief description

The former borough library of Stafford, originally known as the ‘New Free Library’, was designed by the Liverpool architects Briggs, Wolstenholme and Thornely in 1912 and extended in 1962 by the borough architect. It was partially funded by the charity of Andrew Carnegie, although apparently before the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust had been founded in 1913. Its foundation stone was laid by the Mayor of Stafford, Cllr. C W Miller on 19th February, 1913.

Current status? The building closed in 1998 when the library was moved into the centre of town, and initially became the Stafford Performing Arts centre. It was sold to a developer in 2011, but plans to turn it into a restaurant did not happen. When I saw it (2016) it was for sale.

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1914

Photo of library today:

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Visited?

Saw this building on 4 April 2016 – on the way to visit the new library, which is in the centre of town, about a 10 minute walk away.

Web links:

 

Levenshulme library

Brief description

The first brick was laid on 5 December 1903 and the library opened in 1904.

Current status: Closed in 2016 when the new Arcadia library and leisure centre opened in central Levenshulme. There are plans in preparation to develop the building into an arts and community centre.

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

Photo of library today:

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Detail:

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Old photo of library (postcard):

levenshulme

Visited?

Visited on 13 April 2016 (after it had closed, so only saw the outside).

Web links:

Exeter library

Brief description

A compressed timeline:

1909 – grant offered
1911 – grant accepted and new library announced
1917 – scheme reconsidered due to WW1
1921 – returned to idea, funding still available
1924 – council agreed planning could start
1928 – foundation stone laid
1930 – new library opened

Then, 1942 – library bombed and burned out – but restored after the war
1950s – building housed Devon Records Office
1965 – new library built next door
Early 2000s – became registry office
2010 – refurbished: upper floors became student flats, ground floor rented to firm of solicitors

  • Year grant given: 1911
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1930

Photo of library today:

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Visited?

I’ve visited Exeter library several times – in 2015 and 2016.

Web links:

Exeter Memories (which contains a lot more detail on the timeline above)

Nottingham Meadows library

Brief description

This was originally known as Southern Branch.

Current status: Library – part of Nottingham City Council library network.

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 11 March 1925, by the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine

Photo of library today:

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Detail:

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Visited?

Visited on May 31 2016. It was really busy, as it was half term week, and the Friends group was running a session with a childrens entertainer. The library is lovely and bright, and the garden out back (also maintained by the Friends group) is a valuable asset.

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:

P1040977-forblog

Visited?

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

Plumstead library

Brief description

This Grade II listed building is on Plumstead High Street.
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 them.

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • 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 link:
Plumstead Library given listed status days before council proposals to demolish all but the facade