Huthwaite owes its public library to the generosity of Andrew Carnegie. Dating construction in 1912, his name is recognised on the front title stone. Local councillors later placed a plaque inside the entrance also crediting these significant names involved, with full list of themselves witnessing the 1913 opening.
When they prominently sited it aside their own Urban District Council offices, the large corner plot may well have been deemed the best central location. Nevertheless, resident John Boot recalled his grandmothers grief long after, the Shepperson's being served a compulsory purchase order for her old farm house at rear.
It is a fine building however, as shown by earliest possible picture presented by Mr John Knight who now lives in Farnsborough, Hampshire. From an influential ancestry his great uncle named Ernest W Bostock was the architect who penned this proposed design titled
Carnegies Free Library Huthwaite. Family letters disclosed Ernest also used this example to show his abilities upon entering WWI, seeking and awarded a Royal Engineers commission.
Photographs below help view comparison now spanning its 100 years service. Adjacent is the past Urban council offices, before residentially fully lining Columbia Street. The library now stands more prominently alone upon the main village highway. Unforeseeing modern traffic, it did narrow the busier roadway while further obscuring motorists views when exiting the cornering junction. Free parking is however offered.
Rooms beneath the library have witnessed various successive uses. They were designed and frequently used as a Lecture Hall, plus other social and club meetings. By 1933 it offered a games room for a growing number of unemployed, plus rooming the Relieving Officer doling out relief. My parents generation recall curiously named
Clam'n Bost dances long before youthful
Undercroft activities. Its been left unused after drug fueled vandalism finally drove out decades of dedicated Huthwaite Prize Band practice sessions.
Escapism for some was actually found freely stocked inside the library, although few would bravely admit enjoying books. My early teenage years inspired by Biggles adventures, saw the building rather austere. A strict victorian superiority seemingly adopted by some librarians did not afford much encouragement, unlike warmer welcomes children are given today.
My grandmother recalls when this Urban Council run facility drew even more public attention. Many wanting to first witness here the marvels of new electric lighting. Those magical Bakelite switches were actually installed by Councillors for 1934. Keeping pace with electronic equipment has since introduced additional modern services, through CD loans to free internet access all seeing out interior layout changes.
Libraries have since come under Notts. County Council. Returning in my pursuit for local research, the staff certainly proved helpful. Despite a far warmer atmosphere the building did remain structurally unaltered. But heading towards its 90th aniversary clearly showed bad weathering from lofty exposure to the elements. Nationwide plans for installing public internet access demanded major renovation. Now the building is entirely restored, the worry in times of national cutbacks is if reduced opening times can stop threats of closure.
Written 15 Dec 04 Revised 28 Oct 13 © by Gary Elliott