Teddington Library

Pictured: French windows leading to garden to the rear: “a glazed bay window, with upper leaded lights enriched with swags of green coloured glass, overlooks the garden”.

From Historic England entry:

“HISTORY: Teddington Memorial Library opened in 1906 to serve the expanding suburb. ‘Free libraries’ were built in large numbers in the later C19, and the turn of the century, often as part of a municipal group and often in Baroque manner. In reality libraries were expensive to build and stock and benefactors such as Andrew Carnegie (1835-1919), a Scottish born iron and steel magnate, were pivotal to their success. Continuing the philanthropic library building scheme which Henry Tate had initiated, many suburban libraries were built with Carnegie funding, Twickenham library, for example, in the following year.

In 1890 most libraries would have had an entrance hall, a large reading room for newspapers, another large room for the reference library and a smaller space for the lending library which had to be linked to the book store. A scheme emerged in which a two or three storey frontage might contain a ladies’ library, magazine room or children’s library, with larger and often top-lit rooms behind, housing the news room, reference section and bookstore. A copy of a plan of the interior of Teddington Library, dated 1906 describes a comparable, and early, if not original, layout, with a central adult library, newspaper room to the right, and flanking the entrance, a magazine room and reference library. The library is of particular note for the inscribed plaster cartouches, which decorate the two main reading rooms, which encouraged the diligent reader and are an insight into Edwardian literary tastes. The adjoining librarian’s flat is typical of libraries built from c1900.

Early photographs show the library behind a parapet wall and railings which have since been removed.

HA Cheers (1853-1914), who lived in Twickenham from 1884, was an accomplished architect who specialised in public building. East Ham Town Hall, designed with Joseph Smith, has been described as ‘the supreme example of the power and confidence of the Edwardian local authority’. His work included the Guildhall, Oswestry (1893) and the Library, Kingston upon Hull (1894), both Grade II, Newnham Council Offices (East Ham Town Hall), 1901-3, (Grade II*) and East Ham Technical College of 1903-4 (Grade II).”

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