Wellington library

Brief description

None of my usual reference sources has any detail about this library, beyond the opening date, and the note that there were two benefactors: H. H. France-Hayhurst and Carnegie. 

Current status: Closed, assume after library services moved to a new home in 2012.

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

Photo of library in 2020:

Former library. Photo credit: Oriel Prizeman 2020. Image shared under CC license CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 Cardiff University AHRC Shelf Life project

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

  • Nothing found online yet.

Fenton library

Brief description

The site was gifted to the town by William Meath Baker (the Baker family owned a large pottery business in Fenton, and the street the library is on, is called Baker Street). The architect was F.R. Lawson.

Current status: Closed as a library in 2011, but see article linked below – plans are in hand to reopen. “Urban Vision’s plans also involve creating a community gallery, a specialist ‘built environment’ library, five units to be let out to small businesses and two meeting rooms.”

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £5,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1907

Photo of library today (2017):

fenton-stoke-forblog

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, during our holiday in the Peak District in August 2017. The library was still closed, but looks to be in good condition, and I was heartened to find the newspaper article listed below, which hints of a positive future.

Web links:

Thornaby on Tees library

Brief description

The original library opened in 1893 and was the gift of a local industrialist, Alderman T. Wrighton, MP. An extension was planned and in 1903, an offer of £1,000 was made by Andrew Carnegie, increased to £1,500 in 1904. This grant was obtained through the offices of Alderman William Whitwell, who was Carnegie’s predecessor in the Presidency of the Iron & Steel Institute. He was also the donor of the land for the extension, which took the form of a children’s library, and was opened in February 1905.

Current status: Closed in 2010 – current situation/plans unknown.

  • Year grant given (if known): 1903, increased in 1904
  • Amount of grant: £1,500
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): February 1905

Photo of library in 2007:

geograph-319484-by-Mick-Garratt

Photo credit: Mick Garratt 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:

Tyldesley library

Brief description

Opened in 1909 on the site of the old Temperance Hall and Mechanics Institute on Stanley Street. The architect was Arthur John Hope (from the firm Bradshaw Gass and Hope).

Current status: Closed in 2020 when plans were made to relocate library services to the Town Hall. The article on the plans below notes: “The restrictive covenant on the library also prevents the land from being used for anything other than a free public library for the people of Tyldesley……… but the council could try and convince the beneficiary to allow alternative uses, or apply to the Land’s Tribunal to remove or change the covenant.” (2020) This is the first restrictive covenant I’ve seen on a library in the UK – although they are more common in other countries.

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened: 18 December 1909, by Charles Eckersley

Photo of library in 2008:

tyldesley-geograph

Photo credit: SMJ and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Thorne library

Brief description

The foundation stone was laid by James Servant, on 14 December 1903. The achitect was EH Ballan.

A rather damning report into public services in Thorne dated 1980 said that the library had problems of structural deficiency, and was not able to make use of the upper floor for public service. It went on to say the staff accommodation was inadequate, and the building was expensive to heat and maintain, but there were no plans to improve library provision in the town.

Current status: Closed in 2007. Sold in 2010. Current status: appears to be being refurbished as offices (2019)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1905, by James Servant.

Photo of library in 2019:

Thorne-forblog

When we visited, the library had been sold, and work was being done inside, but no clues as to its future use. And the old name plaque (seen below) has been covered by a board.

Details:

geograph-1743488-by-Richard-Croft

Photo credit: Richard Croft and licensed for reuse under this Creative Commons Licence

Old photo of library (postcard):

thorn

Visited?

Yes, during a holiday in Lincolnshire, November 2019. We visited the old building, and then went to the new library, which is colocated in a health centre, about 100m down the road. We were able to see more photos of the building, but limited information in the local history collection. More research needed! James Servant was clearly a local public official, but so far I haven’t discovered his actual role.

Web links:

  • Entry on Geograph (note, photo shows for sale sign, caption says ‘sold’)
  • National Archives: Plans of Thorne library (the record is a reference to plans stored in Doncaster archives)

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:

Brierley Hill library

Brief description

Designed by the borough surveyor to Brierley Hill, Lewis Harper and built by CA Horton. The Technical Institute and Library was designed to accommodate the two functions of a public, free library and a technical institute to train the many apprentices in the local glass industry. Carnegie gave £2,000 towards the library building in 1901 and the rest of the cost was borne by Brierley Hill Urban District Council. The foundation stone was laid in April 1903, and the building opened in 1904.

The brick and terracotta used were locally produced by the Ketley Brick Company, and the sculptures of Learning and Art were modelled by Arthur Gibbons and Albert Oakden who were, respectively, headmaster and assistant of the School of Art.

The building continued to operate as a technical institute for the glass industry throughout the C20 but the Moor Street Glass centre closed in 2009.

Awarded Grade II listing in 2012.

Current status: Library closed in 1970. It housed offices in 2016. Current status unknown – but I think from streetview images of 5 Moor Street, Brierley Hill, Dudley, DY5 3EP, the building may be unoccupied. The Shelf Life project (link below) lists it as a building ‘at risk’. 

  • Year grant given (if known): 1901
  • Amount of grant: £2,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 15 February 1904, by Mark Rollinson, Chairman of the Free Library Committee

Photo of library today:

Photo credit: Oriel Prizeman 2020. Image shared under CC license CC-BY-NC-SA 4.0 Cardiff University AHRC Shelf Life project

Details:

Old photo of library (postcard):

brierleyhill

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Burley library

Brief description

Situated on Cardigan Road, this library was built in 1926. The library cost £8,338 to build, a large amount of this came from the Carnegie Trust. It is a simlar design to the libraries in Bramley and Compton Road.

The architect was Gilbert Burdett Howcroft, and the building was designed in the Neo-Georgian style. Note on the architect: Gilbert Burdett Howcroft was a lieutenant in the First World War and colonel in the Second World War, and designed the Grade II war memorial obelisk on the top of Alderman’s Hill, Saddleworth. He was later President of the Manchester Society of Architects in 1953-5.

Current status: Closed February 2016

Awarded Grade II listing in 2017

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: c£8,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 15 June 1926, by Alderman Sir Percy Jackson, Chairman of the West Riding Education Committee.

Photo of library in 2007:

burley_library_cardigan_road_-_geograph-org-uk_-_446101

RichTea [CC BY-SA 2.0 (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by-sa/2.0)%5D, via Wikimedia Commons

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Erith library

Brief description

In 1903 active local Members of the Council privately approached Andrew Carnegie. They succeeded in securing from him a donation of £7,000 provided that the Council raised a 1d rate (the maximum local tax then permitted by law to be used for public libraries) which produced an operating budget of £610 per annum.

The architect was W Egerton, who designed a building in the ‘Free Renaissance’ style.

The new Erith Library was opened in 1906 at Walnut Tree Road, and an early local guide proudly states that it contained “lending and reference libraries, news, magazines and children’s rooms, and lecture, committee and filing rooms. The first librarian, who lived in accommodation on the top floor, was William Barton Young, who was killed in action in WWI.

The library has been re-modelled internally many times, with staircases blocked up and new ones inserted. A museum was created where the librarians rooms were – and remained until the library closed. The collection was distributed among museums in Bexley. The last complete re-fit was in 2000.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1996.

Current status: Closed in 2009. Remained empty until 2018, when the Erith Exchange project started (see link below). Many original features remain (and will be retained) including stained glass, mosaic, marble columns, the book lift, and amazing turquoise and white tiled toilets. (2018)

  • Year grant given (if known): 1903
  • Amount of grant: £7,000
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 7 April 1906, by Judge James Alexander Rentoul

Photo of library in 2006:

211028748_eed39d5bf5_z

Photo taken in 2018 – restoration and conversion underway:

P1200440-forblog

Details:

erith-plaque

There is a mosaic in the entrance hall, which portrays Erith’s coat of arms (in 1906) and reads: ‘Labour overcomes all things’. It also includes red pike (fish), inspired by the coat of arms of the De Luci family –  influential Norman landowners. It was covered over for protection during the restoration – so I’ll have to visit again!

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes, in 2006 – before it closed completely, although it wasn’t open the day we visited. And again on Open House weekend, September 2018. Very interesting to see the building with restoration underway, and hear about the team’s plans. There will be a mixture of artists studios and community space, plus a cafe/bar. The focus will be on bringing people together and stimulating creativity – with community involvement at the heart.  I think Carnegie would have approved.

Web links and other references:

  • Entry on the listed buildings register
  • History of Erith museum
  • Details about this, and all libraries in Kent found in a 3 part article written by Martin Tapsell: The Hare and the Tortoise – some notable public library buildings in Kent,  published in Bygone Kent 2001-02.
  • A new phase of life – The Erith Exchange project (also includes a potted history of the library, and photos)

East Greenwich library

Brief description

Designed by Sydney RJ Smith in a free Edwardian Baroque style.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1993

Current status: Closed in 2015. Update: we drove past in 2021, and the building has a “sold” sign on it.

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1905

Photo of library in 2006:

211022485_b3ebd96af7_z

Details:

eastgreenwich-plaque-crop

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Yes – back in 2006 when it was still open.

Web links: