Kensal Rise Library

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Kensal Rise Library

Kensal Rise Library was a public library situated in London, United Kingdom, opened by American author Mark Twain in 1900. The site was donated by All Souls College, Oxford.[1] The library has been threatened with closure, with a large campaign to save it led by figures including Alan Bennett, Philip Pullman, Zadie Smith, Nick Cave and Pet Shop Boys.[2]

Opening Ceremony[edit]

Kensal Rise Library was opened by Mark Twain, who had been staying nearby at Dollis Hill House, whose guests have included Prime Minister William Ewart Gladstone and which was later used by Winston Churchill's War Cabinet.[3] At the ceremony, Mark Twain gave the Library Committee Chairman five of his books and a signed photograph.[4]


In 1994, the interior was refurbished in a Neo-Edwardian style.[4] Due to the current closure of the library, volunteers in the local community have set up a pop-up library outside.[5]

Proposed closure[edit]

Brent Council put forward proposals to close the library in November 2010. The proposals have been met with widespread condemnation and significant media coverage, including coverage in The Independent on Sunday,[6] The Guardian,[1] BBC News,[7] and protests at council meetings.[6] Philip Pullman has described the proposed closure as 'barbarism'.[8] The campaign to save the library is being supported by Alan Bennett,[9] Zadie Smith,[10] Nick Cave[11] and the Pet Shop Boys.[2]

All Souls College sold the building in April 2015[12] to Uplift Properties Ltd,[13] stipulating to the buyer that Friends of Kensal Rise Library have a rent free space for a community library on the ground floor of the library building. An open day was held inside the library building on the 6th June 2015,[14] and after an estimated £200,00 of refurbishment costs, the new library is scheduled to open in Spring/Summer 2016.[15]


External links[edit]

Coordinates: 51°32′02″N 0°13′34″W / 51.5339°N 0.2261°W / 51.5339; -0.2261