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:

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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:

Benwell library

Brief description

Built on land donated by a local landowner: Frank Buddie Atkinson, by Jacob Parkinson and Sons, the library was designed by Newcastle Corporation’s architect: F H Holford.

Current status: Closed as a library in 2008, now used as offices by a group of charities.

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £5,500
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 26 January 1909 by Dr Spence Watson – who was then issued with the first book to be loaned from the library.

Photo of library today:

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Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

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Visited?

Drove past this former library in November 2015

Web links:

Keighley library

Brief description

The first public library in England to be funded by Andrew Carnegie, the foundation stone was laid by Sir Hugo Swire, on the day of King Edward VII’s coronation: 9 August 1902.

Design of the library was open to competition, and the one by McKewan and Swan of Birmingham was chosen. Both were young architects: Arthur McKewan was 30 in 1901, and James Arthur Swan was 27, and studied the Arts and Crafts movement and ideas.

RS Crossley was appointed chief librarian when the building opened in 1904.

An extension was added in 1961. The building was fully refurbished in 2007, with many original features restored. It was given Grade II listing in 1986.

Current status: still a public library, operated by City of Bradford MDC

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £10,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 20 August 1904, by the Duke of Devonshire

Photo of library today:

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Details:

Keighley-stone

Foundation stone

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Bronze plaque commemorating the opening

Keighley-bust

Stone bust of Carnegie just inside the entrance.

Old photo of library (postcard):

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Visited?

Visited during a holiday in Yorkshire in 2011

Web links:

York library

Brief description

In 1913 the Library Committee had been considering that the building was inadequate and approaches were made to the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust. After preliminary negotiations, a formal request was made to the Trust in 1915, and following investigations, an offer of £12,000 was made on 29 February 1916. The Trust added, however, that any building work should not commence until after the war.

A site had been acquired in Museum Street, and the architects Brierley and Rutherford were employed to design the building. When work commenced after the war, the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust revised its offer to £13,200, however even then a loan was needed to complete the project. The first portion of the building, containing the central block and one wing, was officially opened by the Earl of Elgin, and the total cost was £24,500.

In 1934 a further portion of the building was erected, before the building was finally completed in 1938. The completed building was opened by Sir John A R Marriott MA on 26 October 1938.

Further extended in 2015 thanks to National Lottery funding, the building now also houses the city archives.

Current status? Still a public library, managed by York Explore (2017).

  • Year grant given (if known): 1916
  • Amount of grant: £13,200
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 23 September 1927, by the Earl of Elgin and Kincardine, chair of the Carnegie UK Trust.

Photo of library today:

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Details:

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Plaque in the library entrance

Old photo of library (postcard):

Visited?

I’ve visited this library several times: first while on holiday in 2011, then more recently a couple of times for Libraries Taskforce meetings.

Web links:

Chorlton library

Brief description

Designed by Manchester City Corporation architect: Henry Price in the Edwardian Baroque style (who also designed other libraries in Manchester, including Didsbury). Became Grade II listed in 2013. The listing states: “In 1912 Henry Price’s original plan drawings for the building, which were being sent to Andrew Carnegie for approval, went down with the RMS Titanic; duplicate copies were sent later.” In c1964 an extension was added on to the south-east side and in 1983/4 some internal alterations were carried out. This latter work included inserting a floor into the dome to provide a staff room.

Current status? Still a library, operated by Manchester City Council (2017).

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £5,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 4 November 1914, by the Lord Mayor of Manchester, Alderman McCabe.

Photo of library today (2015):

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Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

Visited?

Visited December 2015 and had long conversation with one of the members of staff, who has done a lot of work on the origins and development of the library.

Web links:

Northampton library

Brief description

The architect was Herbert Norman, and the builder was AA Clarke. It was one of the first libraries in the world to have a children’s library (opened in 1912). The library was refurbished in the 1960s and again in the 1980s. It was made a Grade II listed building in 1975.

Current status: Still the main town library.

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £15,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 9 June 1910 by Alderman H Butterfield, Mayor of Northampton

Photo of library today:

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Exterior

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The Carnegie Room

Details:

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Note this is one of the Carnegie libraries to display a bust of the funder (top right) as part of the exterior decoration (others include Manor Park and Walthamstow)

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Old photo of library (postcard):

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Visited?

Visited several times 2015-17, related to Libraries Taskforce meetings – one time we held a Taskforce meeting actually in the Carnegie Room.

Web links: