Tividale library

Brief description

One of three public libraries opened in 1909 by Rowley Regis Urban District Council; the other two being Cradley Heath public library (listed Grade II) and Blackheath (listed Grade II but no longer a public library). The architects were Herbert Winkler Wills and John Anderson. The Shelf Life project notes that it was built from (or at least faced with) limestone.

Current status: Demolished.

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): 1909

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Web links:

Langley library

Brief description

As early as 1903 an application was made to Carnegie, for money to build the library. However, he would not consider the application until a site was found that met his approval. Eventually a plot of land that belonged to the brewers Mitchell and Butler, on the corner of Barrs Street and Cross Street, was deemed suitable.

Following negotiations, the company donated the freehold land free of charge. A stone plaque commemorating this gift is situated at the side of the main entrance. Negotiations with Carnegie resumed and he awarded the sum of £1,500, equivalent to over £130,000 today. Local architect Abel Round designed the building and the building contract went to local firm William Jackson. Joseph Gill, chairman of Oldbury Public Libraries committee laid the foundation stone on 23 July 1908.

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

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant: £1,500
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): Friday 26 February 1909. Note: the ceremony was marred by 2 events: the original opener, Sir Alexander Macomb Chance, was confined to bed by his doctor; William Arthur Albright deputised as opener, but the formal opening of the doors was abandoned due to a snowstorm and the guests hurriedly gathered inside in the ‘News Room’ for the opening speeches.

Photo of library today:

No free to use photo found yet.

Old photo of library (postcard):

Nothing in my collection yet

Visited?

Not yet

Web links:

Tipton library

Brief description

The architect was George H Wenyon (who was also responsible for Dudley library).  A foundation stone is inscribed: “Erected by the Munificence of Andrew Carnegie Esq …..”.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1982

Current status: Closed as a public library in 2000. Refurbished and reopened as the Carnegie Centre in 2006 by Sandwell Council, it housed their Occupational Health unit until 2015, when they relocated to West Bromwich. Now the site is known as the Carnegie Building, and is offices for the Sandwell Leisure Trust (2021)

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened: 30 May 1905, by Councillor W. W. Doughty

Photo of library in 2009:

tipton-carnegie-geograph

Photo credit:  John M 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:

Cradley Heath library

Brief description

The architects were Herbert Wills and John Anderson. A foundation stone is inscribed: “This library was the gift of Andrew Carnegie Esq ….”.

Awarded Grade II listing in 1987.

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

  • Year grant given (if known):
  • Amount of grant:
  • Year opened (and by who – if known): November 1909, by Mr Thomas Crew

Photo of library today (2013):

geograph-3720820-by-stephen-rogersonPhoto credit: Stephen Rogerson 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:

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: