Thursday, 19 July 2018

OK you can come in now....Chorlton gets its first proper municipal Library

Opening the library in 1914
I say first proper municipal library because we had had a few private ones and a temporary one but this building opened in November 1914 was a proper first.

It arrived after the promise made to the people of south Manchester that  in return for voting to join the city in 1904, the Corporation would provide purpose built libraries.*

But they were a little slow in coming.

The library in the 1920s
In the case of Chorlton the first library was opened in 1908 in a rented house on Oswald Road and it would be another six years before a purpose built library was opened on Manchester Road.

It was “furnished with a thousand carefully selected volumes for use in the library and home reading,.............. a good selection of magazines is placed in a separate reading room [and] a special feature of the new library is the provision of a room for meetings of Home Reading Union circles and similar organisations.”

The library in 2012
The Manchester Guardian reported “the style is Classical with Ionic columns in Portland stone and had 7,420 books, [which] if necessary can be increased to 10,500 volumes. There is a general reading room for adults and one for juveniles."

In an age which has seen libraries add computers to the resources available to the user it is perhaps surprising that the Lord Mayor in opening the library nearly 100 years ago.

It was one of those funded by Andrew Carnegie but more of him elsewhere on the blog.

Pictures; the opening from the Manchester Courier, November 5 1914, courtesy of Sally Dervan, the library in the 1920s from the Lloyd collection and the entrance today from the collection of Andrew Simpson

*Chorlton's libraries,

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