Twickenham Library

From Historic England entry:

“Twickenham’s first public library was established in 1882, following a public meeting and a poll of the district’s ratepayers. The town’s former private subscription library, in existence since 1844, was dissolved, and its stock donated to the new institution. By 1902 the library had outgrown the available space at the Town Hall, and £6,000 worth of funding was obtained from the Andrew Carnegie foundation to cover the cost of a new building. A site was obtained in Garfield Road, and in 1906-7 a new library was built by the contractor BE Nightingale, to designs by the architect Howard Goadby. This housed a lending library with 25,000 volumes, with room for a further 20,000 in the basement store and 3,000 more in the first-floor reference library; the first floor also accommodated a 110-seat lecture theatre. There have been periodic internal renovations, most recently in 1985 and 2005.

Twickenham Library is a two-storey building, rectangular on plan, with a single-storey wing (containing the main downstairs reading-room) running parallel to it at the rear. Architectural display, in a French-influenced neoclassical style, is concentrated on the main east façade to Garfield Road. This is of five bays arranged 2-1-2. The ground floor is faced in channelled Bath stone ashlar, and the first floor in fine red brick with stone columns and entablature. The ground-floor windows in the outer bays are sashes in recessed round-arched openings; between the left-hand pair is the foundation stone. The first floor has metal-framed rectangular windows set between engaged Ionic columns with dropped pendant decoration supporting an entablature. The projecting centrepiece has paired columns – Doric below and Ionic above – supporting sections of entablature. Stone steps (partly obscured by a modern access ramp) lead up to a round-arched entrance doorway with coffered sliding doors and a glazed fanlight. The stone surround is richly carved, with a bead-and-reel moulding interrupted by raised voussoirs, and a semicircular hood above supported on radiating scroll brackets. On either side are sculpted roundels showing Alexander Pope and Alfred, Lord Tennyson, Twickenham’s most famous literary residents. Over the first-floor window architrave, and breaking into the triangular pediment above, is a large sculpted relief of female figures writing, reading and painting. An attic parapet with small carved wreaths completes the façade, and a louvred timber cupola crowns the slate-covered main roof. The side and rear walls are of stock brick and are entirely plain. A brick lift-shaft was added to the rear of the building in 2005.”

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