It had never occurred to me to step into Walthamstow library before. Which is a shame when you consider Libraries are being forced to shut down all over the country. I suppose using a Library has slightly fallen off my radar due to the demands of having a busy work and social life. Books are also relatively inexpensive now given they are printed in China. If I have time to read it's usually something I've picked up on the shelf at my parents' or from a second hand book shop. But I was visiting the Farmer's market which is right next door and I couldn't believe it was open on a Sunday. The building built between 1907-1909 is Grade II listed and was rennovated in 2007 with a supposedly "sensitive" extension. I beg to differ on the the terracotta cladding which is hardly subtle! Information on the building is scarce on the web, but Wikipedia had this to report;
"The historic Central Library on the High Street was one of many built with money donated by the Scottish-American businessman and philanthropist Andrew Carnegie, whose portrait bust can be seen on the exterior of the building. It was modernised and expanded in 2006-2007, although there were claims that this was at the expense of book holdings. According to the Waltham Forest Guardian, "almost a quarter of a million books have gone missing from Waltham Forest libraries amid claims they have been burned or pulped" and the borough's library stock fell by 60% over the two previous years".
This is English Heritage's report if you want to get geeky;
I snapped away with my camera amazed that anyone could even look at a book or a computer screen when they were sat in such a glorious space. But soon enough I was put in my place by a member of staff who told me that photography is prohibited. How could I resist sharing my clandestine photos with you lucky reader!
Decorative architraves run throughout the lower ground floor.
.Plaster mouldings frame windows on the upper floor.
Love these unusual brass lamps illuminating the gallery space which hosts regular exhibitions. They look in need of a polish but I rather like their dark hue.
Exquisite carvings adorn a very smart sweeping stairwell.
I'm not sure about all the geneaology centred around local dignatries, it all feels a little bit Disneyland to me.
The library participated in last year's Open House scheme so I do urge you to visit especially if you can line your stomach first at the Farmer's Market. Currently, I've got my head in "Love in a cold climate" by Nancy Mitford, just so you know.