List of Carnegie libraries in Europe

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Bideford Library, Devon, England, built 1905

This is an incomplete list of Carnegie libraries in Europe.

Belgium[edit]

The University Library, Leuven, Belgium
The University Library, Leuven, after fire damage in the First World War

A Carnegie library was built in the 1920s for the University of Leuven to replace a building destroyed in the First World War.

Funding came from the Carnegie Endowment for International Peace, which also built libraries in the war-damaged cities of Rheims and Belgrade. The architect of the Leuven library was Whitney Warren. Although the architect was American, he employed a Flemish style for this commission. His building in turn suffered severe damage in the Second World War, but has been restored. (For more details of this library, see Catholic University of Leuven.)

France[edit]

The Carnegie library of Reims is the single Carnegie library in France. Reims was devastated in the First World War and the losses included library accommodation in the town-hall. The provision of a new library was conceived as a contribution to the city's reconstruction. Reims was one of three "front-line" cities to be given a Carnegie library, the other two being Leuven and Belgrade.

The Art Deco building was finished in 1927, and opened the following year in the presence of Gaston Doumergue, the French President and Myron T. Herrick, the US ambassador. The building was restored at the beginning of the 21st century. The library stock includes some material which survived World War I.[1]

Ireland[edit]

Carnegie Free Library Lighthouse Service at Kish Bank lighthouse off the coast of Dublin[2]
Balbriggan Carnegie Free library
Skerries Carnegie Free library
Pearse Street Carnegie Free Library
Malahide Carnegie Free Library

Carnegie libraries are to be found throughout Ireland.[3][4] Libraries vary considerably in size, some of the rural ones being very small, but the smallest must be the cabinets used for the Carnegie Library Lighthouse Service. 80 were constructed originally and 62 survive in their current form as of 2020 although some no longer function as libraries.[5]

A full list and description of Carnegie libraries in Ireland is in Irish Carnegie Libraries: a Catalogue & Architectural History.[6] The examples listed below are in the Republic of Ireland.

Cork[edit]

Dublin[edit]

Kerry[edit]

Kilkenny[edit]

Kilkenny Carnegie Library
  • Kilkenny city, John's Quay, 1910, still in use as a library[43]

Limerick[edit]

Louth[edit]

Waterford[edit]

Wicklow[edit]

Serbia[edit]

The Belgrade University Library, Serbia, is a Carnegie library.[69] Much of Belgrade was destroyed in the First World War, and in the 1920s it became one of three "front-line" cities to receive a Carnegie library, the other two being Leuven and Rheims.

United Kingdom[edit]

The first Carnegie library to be built was in Scotland, which was Dunfermline Carnegie Library, Carnegie's birthplace. The English Carnegie libraries began to be built at the beginning of the 20th century. Carnegie, who in his retirement divided his time between the US and Scotland, opened some British libraries personally.

In Britain the process of applying for a Carnegie library was broadly similar to that in the US. It was adapted to British legislation, e.g. the Public Libraries Act, which permitted expenditure from the rates on local libraries. Carnegie assessed applications using criteria which favoured poorer towns, but applicants had to undertake to support their library, providing it with books etc. from the rates. While most towns were very grateful to receive a grant, Carnegie's project was not without controversy. For example, some people objected to the way in which he had made his money. In the case of Stratford-on-Avon there were objections to the proposed building for conservation reasons, and this resulted in a library which blends into the half-timbered neighbouring buildings.[70]

Most Carnegie libraries served the general population of towns and cities, but he also provided some academic libraries in the UK. (This pattern of town and academic libraries was in line with his policy in the US where he provided a number of college libraries, for example at Tuskegee University.[71]) In Stoke-on-Trent the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust funded a specialist ceramics library.[72] The existence of special collections with catalogues gave scope for the development of interlibrary loans.

From 1913 applications were handled by the Carnegie United Kingdom Trust,[73] based in Carnegie's home town, Dunfermline. The trust continued to fund libraries after Carnegie's death in 1919, but its priorities shifted to other areas of its charitable work.

Current status of Carnegie libraries[edit]

As at 2011 many of the UK's Carnegie libraries continue to be used for their original purpose. However, Carnegie libraries are being affected by local authority budget cuts which are reducing the number of public libraries across the country.[74]

Some Carnegie libraries are unprotected by the listing system. Over the years some Carnegie libraries have been demolished, e.g. Grays (details in the list below) On the other hand, new uses have been found for other Carnegie libraries, e.g. Pontefract's Carnegie library is now a museum.

England[edit]

Herne Hill Library was built in 1906 and now Grade II listed.
Levenshulme Library, a Carnegie library in a small Manchester suburb, was built in 1904.
The technical college, Stoke-on-Trent, housed the Solon Carnegie Library. Unusually, this building of 1914 was provided from public funds and the books themselves by Carnegie.
Former Carnegie library in Sevenoaks
Southend-on-Sea Public Library (1905), in use since 1981 as the town's museum
Westhoughton Library and Museum (1906)
  • London
  • Birmingham.[78]
  • Coventry
  • Greater Manchester
  • Accrington Library 1907 (run by Lancashire County Council).
  • Almondbury 1906 (Kirklees)
  • Annfield Plain 1908 (run by Durham County Council).
  • Arnold, Nottinghamshire 1906, (demolished in the 1980s)
  • Ashby (now part of Scunthorpe). Opened in Ashby High Street in April 1906. Built with a grant of £1,500.[80]
  • Ashton-in-Makerfield 1906, Grade II listed in 2009.
  • Barrow in Furness 1922 (run by Lancashire County Council).
  • Batley 1907.
  • Bideford 1905.
  • Birkenhead, demolished.
  • Blackheath, opened 15 November 1909, Grade II listed. Closed in 2011 and now a children's daycare centre.[81]
  • Blackpool 1911, Grade II listed.
  • Brierley Hill, 1904, Designed by the borough surveyor to Brierley Hill, Lewis Harper and built by CA Horton.[82]
  • Bolton on Dearne 1903, brick. One of the first Carnegie libraries outside Scotland. Formerly Council Offices, currently disused. Community group attempting to raise funds to restore the building and re-open it as a Fitness/Martial arts/Boxing centre for local youth.[83]
  • Boston Opened in West Street in 1904. Built as part of the Municipal Buildings with a grant of £560.[84]
  • Bournemouth Four Carnegie Libraries:- 1907 Winton Branch Library, built with £2,000 from the Carnegie fund, opened on 26 October, by Mayor J. A. Parsons, Grade II listed in 1976; 1909 Springbourne Branch Library, built with £2,000 from the Carnegie fund, opened on 27 March, by Mayor G. E. Bridge; 1910 Boscombe Branch Library, built with £4,000 from the Carnegie fund, designed by Mt C. T. Miles, opened on 22 June, by Mayor G. E. Bridge (relocated to new buildings in 1965); 1916 Westbourne Branch Library, built with £2,000 from the Carnegie fund, opened on 13 May, by Mayor H. Robson, Grade II listed in 1976.[85]
  • Bridgwater 1905, Edwardian Baroque style, Grade II listed.
  • Calne 1905.
  • Caversham, Reading 1907.
  • Chadderton 1904-05 Former civic library, Jacobean Revival, designed by J Lindsay Grant of Manchester for Chadderton UDC with funding from Andrew Carnegie.Building was vacated for a new 'Civic Hub' in 2010 and now privately owned. Listed as Grade II in 2011.
  • Chatham Opened in 1903. Demolished in the 1980s.
  • Cleator Moor 1906, grade II listed
  • Clitheroe 1905, grade II listed
  • Cockermouth.
  • Crosby 1905, brick and stone, Grade II Listed (closed by Sefton Metropolitan Borough Council in December 2013 - currently a local charity Regenerus[86] is working to develop it as a Carnegie-Crosby a 3rd space for the community).[87]
  • Cradley Heath, built by Rowley Regis Urban District Council, opened 15 November 1909, Grade II Listed[88]
  • Dalton-in-Furness 1905.
  • Dartford Opened in 1916. Built with a grant of £7,400, Red brick and Bath stone, Grade-II listed in 1975 (run by Kent County Council).
  • Darwen 1908, Yorkshire stone.
  • Derby, Pear Tree Road.
  • Eastbourne Opened in Grove Road in August 1904. Built with a grant of £10,000. Destroyed in an air raid 1943.
  • Eastleigh 1935. The building now forms part of The Point theatre and dance studio, the library having relocated.
  • Erith 1906, Grade II listed in 1996. Partly occupied, following relocation of the library in 2009.
  • Folkestone The existing library in Grace Hill was extended with a grant of £5,000 from Andrew Carnegie and opened in October 1910.
  • Farnworth, Bolton Metropolitan Borough, 1911.[89]
  • Fenton, Staffordshire 1906, brick and stone construction (run by Stoke-on-Trent City Council) - closed 31 March 2011 due to budget cuts.
  • Gainsborough Opened in Cobden Street in October 1905. Built with a grant of £4,000.[84]
  • Garston, Liverpool.
  • Goole Opened in Carlisle Street in 1905 with a grant of £3,000. Demolished in the 1960s.
  • Gorleston-on-Sea Opened on the corner of Baker Street and Lowestoft Road in April 1907 and built with a grant of £2,000. Demolished in 1975.
  • Grantham Opened in St Peter's Hill in 1926. Originally built to house the town's library and museum, with partial funding from the Carnegie UK Trust. The library has since been relocated, but the building has continued in use as a museum.[84]
  • Gravesend Opened in Windmill Street in 1905. Built with a grant of £6,000. Grade-II listed in 1975 (run by Kent County Council).
  • Grays Free Library opened in Orsett Road in 1903. Built with a grant of £3,000. Later demolished.[90] Replaced by Essex County Council cultural centre in 1968, with Library on ground floor (run by Thurrock unitary authority).
  • Great Yarmouth Opened April 1905. Built with a grant of £5,000. Damaged in an air raid in 1941 and again in 1942. This library was subsequently demolished.
  • Harrogate Opened in Victoria Avenue in 1906. Built with a grant of £7,500. Re-opened in October 2010 following refurbishment (run by North Yorkshire County Council).
  • Hove 1908, Renaissance style faced with stone, Grade II listed.
  • Huthwaite opened 1913, now owned by Nottinghamshire County Council and still serving the people of Huthwaite
  • Hull Opened in Analby Road in 1905. Built with a grant of £3,000. Grade II listed, now the "Carnegie Heritage Centre".
  • Ilkeston.
  • Ipswich Opened in Northgate Street in 1924.
  • Irchester Opened November 1909. Built with a grant of £1,000.
  • Keighley 1904, stone construction (run by Bradford Metropolitan District Council).
  • Kendal 1909, stone construction (run by Cumbria County Council)[91]
  • Kettering 1904, built with a grant of £8,450, a "jewelled casket of learning" opened by Andrew himself at age 68 years
  • King's Lynn library, opened in London Road in 1905 and built with a grant of £5,000.
  • Knutsford, red brick and terracotta construction, built in 1904. Now a day nursery.
  • Langley, Sandwell, brick and terracotta construction.[92]
  • Leicester Opened 1905 by Carnegie in person. Built with a grant of £12,000. Grade II listed.
  • Loughborough, Leicestershire built in 1905
  • Lincoln Opened in Free School Lane in 1913. Built with a grant of £10,000.[84]
  • Littlehampton[93] 30 May 1906. Maltravers Road BN17 5NA. The extended & refurbished modern library[94] is run by West Sussex County Council.
  • Lowestoft Opened in Clapham Road in May 1905. Destroyed in an air raid March 1941.
  • Luton Opened 1 October 1910. Built with a grant of £12,000. Demolished in 1962.[95]
  • Mansfield Opened in Leeming Street in May 1905. Built with a grant of £3,500. Remained a library until 1977, and is currently used as an arts centre.[96]
  • Melton Mowbray Opened in Thorpe End in 1905. Built with a grant of £2,000. Used as a public library until 1974; now Melton Carnegie Museum
  • Middlesbrough Central library 1912.
  • Neston 1907 (run by Cheshire West and Chester Council).
  • Newbury Opened in Cheap Street in May 1906, Built with a grant of £2,000. Used as the town's public library until 2000.
  • Newton-le-Willows 1909, built with a grant of £4,000 (run by St. Helens Metropolitan Borough Council).
  • New Mills 1910, built with a grant of £2,000.[97]
  • Normanton, West Yorkshire 1907, red brick.
  • Northampton Opened in Abington Street in 1910, to a design by Herbert Norman.
  • Oswaldtwistle 1915 (run by Lancashire County Council).
  • Penistone 1913, (now used as offices for Barnsley Council).
  • Pontefract 1904, Art nouveau building which now serves as a museum.
  • Portsmouth 1906, Edwardian baroque and free Renaissance style.[98]
  • Peterborough Opened officially by Carnegie in Broadway in May 1906. Built with a grant of £6,000. Used as the public library until 1990.
  • Ramsgate, Kent 1904
  • Rawmarsh 1905
  • Rawtenstall[99]
  • Royton 1907.
  • Runcorn The existing library was altered and extended in 1906 with a grant of £3,000 from Andrew Carnegie. Used as a public library until 2012.
  • Rushden Opened in Newton Road in November 1905. Built with a grant of £2,000.
  • St Albans Opened in 1911 on Victoria Street. Librarian - Ernest William Green. Fine Edwardian Baroque building. It is now a city centre pub.[100]
  • St Annes-on-the-Sea (Lytham St Annes) 1906, brick and terracotta construction (run by Lancashire County Council).
  • Sandown Opened in High Street in July 1905. Built with a grant of £2,000 (run by Isle of Wight County Council, threatened with closure).
  • Scunthorpe Opened in Station Road (now High Street East) in February 1904. Used as a public library until 1974. Demolished c.1985.[84]
  • Sefton Park, Liverpool 1911. Mock Tudor style building with a modern 1960s extension.[101]
  • Sevenoaks Opened in The Drive in November 1905. Built with a grant of £3,000. Used as a public library until 1986.
  • Shipley, West Yorkshire 1905, stone construction. The building is no longer in use as a library.
  • Skipton, North Yorkshire, North Yorkshire 1910 operated by Craven District Council
  • Solon Carnegie Library, no building provided. This academic library comprised books on ceramics. The collection is now in the Horace Barks Reference Library, Stoke-on-Trent.
  • Southend-on-Sea, 1905, Public Library designed by Henry Hare. Since 1981, the building has been in use as the Central Museum, Southend.[102]
  • Sowerby Bridge (Near Halifax) 1905, stone (run by Calderdale MBC)[103]
  • Stamford, Lincolnshire Opened in High Street in 1906. Building converted for library use with a grant of £2,500. Grade II listed.[104][105]
  • Stapleford, Nottinghamshire 1906. Used as a public library until replacement by modern premises in 1981. Then fell into disrepair until purchased by Stapleford Town Council in 1987 and subsequently renovated and re-opened in 1988 as The Carnegie Centre. Now home to Stapleford Town Council.[106] In use as library during 2013 as the 1981 library is refurbished.
  • Stourbridge, 1904, Grade II Listed[107]
  • Stratford-upon-Avon, partly timber construction.
  • Sunderland - Hendon 1908, Kayll Road 1909, Monkwearmouth 1909
  • Taunton, Opened 1905, closed in 1996 and is now a wine bar.[108]
  • Tinsley Carnegie Library, opened in June 1905, a few months before Sheffield's more well known Carnegie library at Walkley, and seven years before Tinsley became part of Sheffield. It served as the branch library until 1985 when the service moved to a new building. Hewson, Van (30 November 2018). "Tinsleys Carnegie Library". Reading Sheffield. Retrieved 15 April 2022.</ref>
  • Tividale, opened 15 November 1909, closed 1966.
  • Tuebrook, Liverpool. Closed in 2006 due to health and safety concerns. Now being redeveloped as a community hub by local charity Lister Steps.[109]
  • Tyldesley 1909, brick and stone construction.
  • Walkley, Sheffield 1905, Grade II listed.
  • Wallasey Central Library.
  • Walsall Central Library, of red brick and stone. Opened 24 July 1906 at a cost of £8,000.[110]
  • Wakefield 1905, stone. Library now closed, replaced by a new library and museum within the Wakefield One Civic office building which opened to the public on Monday 29 October 2012, with the lending library on the upper ground floor and local studies section and museum on the lower ground floor.[111] The building was converted by The Art House in 2014 into 34 artists' studios.[112]
  • Wednesbury 1908, red brick and limestone at a cost of £5,000.
  • West Bromwich 1907, Ruabon facing bricks with Portland stone and terracotta detailing.[113]
  • Westhoughton 1906, situated at the rear of the Town Hall.[114]
  • Workington 1904, built as a library and lecture hall. In use as a theatre & arts centre since 1973
  • Worthing[115] 1908. Built by Worthing Corporation, the building survives as Worthing Museum & Art Gallery.[116] Today's library[117] was built next door, opened in 1975 and is run by West Sussex County Council.[117]
The first Carnegie library to open in Andrew Carnegie's home town of Dunfermline in Scotland

Scotland[edit]

Govanhill & Crosshill District Library, Scotland, built in 1906 by architect James Robert Rhind
Plaque in Arthurstone Library, Dundee, Scotland acknowledging donation by Andrew Carnegie

In Scotland the Carnegie libraries were typically built of stone.[118] In the rest of the British Isles there was much more use of brick. The drawings of the Carnegie libraries designed by architect James Robert Rhind are in the Strathclyde Archives, Glasgow.[119]

Wales[edit]

Carnegie's libraries were not exclusively for English-speakers. The Bangor library was called Llyfrgell Rydd ("Free Library" in Welsh).

Cathays Library, in Cardiff, opened 1906

Northern Ireland[edit]

References[edit]

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