Tuesday, 1 April 2014

Libraries Through the Lens

Squeezed in between more modern structures this little building caught my attention while in London at the weekend.  I wondered what it was, but not for long,  because the sign above the left door says "Public Library".  Looks very inviting doesn't it?  The architect was Sir Alfred Brumwell Thomas (1868-1948) who was, as can be seen, a fan of the baroque revival style. Built at the beginning of the 20th Century it is one of the libraries funded by the great philanthropist Andrew Carnegie. He rarely turned down requests for a grant to build a library , the only stipulation was that the local authority would fund its upkeep.  Large parts of the English speaking world have Carnegie Libraries, including my own town. If he was around today doing the same thing these buildings would be very functional but most that were built under his inspired idea to give access to books to all were places you could both learn and dream.   What other purpose could that cupola have but be one to dream under especially when it looks like this inside
This interior view is from The Greenwich Phantom's blog who marvels at the three domes in one building here and appropriately calls it a Greenwich Secret.  If I had known there was such an interior I would have made my way through that public library door to marvel.
Built on a rather grander scale is Liverpool's Central Library, the largest of the cities 22 libraries. It is located in the rows of classical buildings on William Brown Street and has recently been reopened after extensive interior refurbishment last year. I think the rotunda is the reading room but the entrance is the one with the umbrella tables on the left. How very civilized, you could sit and read your book there in the sunshine. The refurbishment also introduced a roof terrace where views of the city can be gained and a literary pavement into the building which can be seen on the BBC's 'In Pictures' views of the £50M restoration here. Always a joy to hear about restoration rather than closure of a library.
 Lastly we have Winchester Library which has been re-branded as the Winchester Discovery Centre, the photo taken at sunset when the exterior floodlights were coming on.  Located in a building that is a former Corn Exchange from 1838, like the other libraries I have shown it is a listed building, but unlike the others its one I have actually been inside.  It is both a lending and reference library but they also have a small art gallery on the top floor with a interesting exhibition programme,
Demco Interiors photograph
up those stairs. It also has a performance hall, shop and cafĂ©;  lots of discovering time could be spent in here. 

An entry to ABC Wednesday, a journey through the alphabet, this week sojourning at L here.
http://abcwednesday-mrsnesbitt.blogspot.co.uk/2014/04/l-is-for-lots.html
 
          

10 comments:

Roger Owen Green said...

Handsome buildings all, but it's what's inside that I'd really enjoy!
ROG, ABCW

ellen b. said...

Fabulous libraries. Now why didn't I think of that.

ellen b. said...

Fabulous libraries. Now why didn't I think of that.

jeannettestgermain said...

The inside is so light - and I love the rounding and the big sky light in the last pic!

Tanya Breese said...

wow, these are some grand libraries!

Snapperoni :: Photography said...

Liverpool library looks really grand, and so does the Winchester one-- it looks so bright and modern inside I could spend hours in a library like that.

Powell River Books said...

Libraries are such wonderful places. We should be getting a new one in our town soon, that is if everyone can agree upon the new location. - Margy

photowannabe said...

I really Like the quaintness of that first Library and its red exterior.

Gerald (SK14) said...

I was lover of libraries from my early youth but have to admit I haven't the eyes for much book reading these days and regret that.

Susan Moore said...

I think I need to go on a library tour in England - gorgeous architecture!

My neighborhood library is just a couple of blocks away but it is rather utilitarian in appearance. The new Austin central library (under construction) is going to be a wonderful improvement to the previous building, looking forward to it.