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Historic London library threatened with closure

The Victorian Society is urging Hammersmith and Fulham council to keep its historic Carnegie Library in its original use. The building is currently on a list of buildings being considered for sale by the council.

Courtesy of Steve Janofsky

The Grade II-listed Edwardian library on Shepherd's Bush Road is threatened by plans by Hammersmith and Fulham council to sell off 10 of its properties, and end its lease on three others. The council argues that these buildings are surplus to requirements, and that selling them off will enable it to focus its resources on front line services.

The council still plans to have a town centre library in Hammersmith, but is considering moving the books to a new site in Hammersmith Broadway or Kings Mall.

'Council officers claim that it is difficult to run a modern, accessible library from a listed building. But listing doesn't prevent change it merely controls it,' said Heloise Brown, Conservation Officer for the Victorian Society. 'Historic libraries have been successfully altered elsewhere in the country, showing that it is possible to run a state-of-the-art 21st century library from a 19th century building.'

Hammersmith Library was given to the borough in 1905 by the Scottish philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. It was designed by the architect, Henry T.Hare and was built using high quality materials.

Ms Brown added, 'the affection and pride that fine civic buildings generate amongst the public is difficult to quantify, but it should still be recognised.'

The Society has written to Hammersmith and Fulham council to urge it to keep the library in its original use.

Thursday 16 September, 2010

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