Walthamstow Library

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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;

http://www.britishlistedbuildings.co.uk/en-206897-walthamstow-central-library-greater-lond

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!

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Decorative architraves run throughout the lower ground floor.

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.Plaster mouldings frame windows on the upper floor.

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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.

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Exquisite carvings adorn a very smart sweeping stairwell.

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I'm not sure about all the geneaology centred around local dignatries, it all feels a little bit Disneyland to me.

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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.