The mayor of Poplar heard a speech by Andrew Carnegie in 1902 at the Guildhall, which included his offer to finance public libraries. He responded quickly, and within a month it had been agreed that £15,000 would be provided for the erection of libraries at Bromley and Cubitt Town.The architects were Squire, Myers and Petch. This library is on the approach to the Blackwall Tunnel – now on a busy dual carriageway.
Awarded Grade II listing in 1973.
Current status: Not sure when it closed as a library. Now repurposed as offices (2021)
Year grant given (if known): 1902
Amount of grant: Part of the £15,000 provided for Bromley-by-Bow and Cubitt Town.
The original architect in 1896 was James Tolley. Building converted by borough architect A.E.Darby. History (taken from the listing entry): The Metropolitan Borough of Bethnal Green did not pass the Public Library Act until 1913, subsequently preparing plans for a new library by the borough engineer and surveyor A.E. Darby in 1915. However, WWI intervened and the prohibitive rise in building costs afterwards resulted in their constructing instead a temporary institution in 1919. When soon afterwards deciding to undertake a permanent institution, the borough purchased part of the Bethnal House Asylum Estate, the former male wing that had been built in 1896. A.E. Darby instead designed the conversion of what was a much larger facility, including an Adult Lending, Reference and Children’s libraries, as well as a Lecture Hall and Newsroom. It cost £36,000 and was built by Messrs. Patman and Fotheringham, with G.W. Hammer & Co. supplying the furniture.
Funding awarded by the Carnegie UK Trust.
Awarded Grade II listing in 2005. Listing describes it as “Late Victorian Classical exterior with inter-war library interior in the mid-C18 Adam-inspired style” and mentions “4 plaster medallions in curved niche behind colonnade (Richard Wagner, Karl Marx, Charles Darwin, and William Morris) commemorate interesting choice of cultural heroes.”
Refurbished in 2015.
Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Tower Hamlets council (2017)
Year grant given (if known):
Amount of grant:
Year opened (and by who – if known): 13 October 1922, the the Mayor, Councillor JJ Vaughan
Photo of library today (2012):
Thanks to flickr user Tom Bastin (shared under cc licence)
aka Isle of Dogs library. The mayor of Poplar heard a speech by Andrew Carnegie in 1902 at the Guildhall, which included his offer to finance public libraries. He responded quickly, and within a month it had been agreed that £15,000 would be provided for the erection of libraries at Bromley and Cubitt Town. The architect was C Harrold Norton. The site in Cubitt Town was acquired from Lady Margaret Charteris in 1900 for £1,150. The builders were Messrs Watts, Johnson & Company. Library facilities were on the ground floor, with a caretaker’s flat above. Most of the ceiling in the lending department fell to the floor around 1912, and the building suffered some bomb damage during WWII. The newspaper room to the right was slightly altered and a community hall was added to this side in the 1962
Awarded Grade II listing in 2006
Current status: Still open as a public library, run by Tower Hamlets (2017)
Year grant given (if known): 1902
Amount of grant: £15,000 for 2 libraries: this one and one in Bromley-by-Bow. This library cost £6,805 13s 10d in total
Year opened (and by who – if known): 14 January 1905, by local politician Will Crooks MP