The Victoria Library, 160 Buckingham Palace Road, London SW1

From the Historic England entry:

“HISTORY: The Victoria Library was built as the lending library for the Parish of St George’s Hanover Square on land given by the First Duke of Westminster to designs by A. J. Bolton, sometime architect for the Grosvenor Estate, after a design competition.

SUMMARY OF IMPORTANCE: The Victoria Library, designed by the architect A J Bolton, is of special architectural interest on account of the quality of its exuberant Queen Anne exterior with its stone dressings on the façade, terracotta dressings to the rear and its substantially complete interior, with surviving book hoist and galleries and ornamental ironwork. It is also a relatively early example of such an institution in the London context. Public libraries of the late C19 and C20 survive in good numbers in England and a number of them, from successive campaigns of building, are of special architectural interest as reflections of the civic or philanthropic pride that created them. Libraries dating from between 1850 and 1914 are amongst the most significant of the building type and, where, as here, they display a good degree of articulate architectural expression, retain much of the interior detail and remain substantially unaltered and without extension, they merit designation. In this case the library also makes a strong contribution, with Nos. 126-158 and No. 162 Buckingham Palace Road, to the architectural value of the group as a whole.

INTERIOR: The interior retains a coffered ceiling to vestibule, leading to a foyer from which rises a straight single-flight stair with cast-iron balustrade, there is some panelling to reading area in inner foyer. There is a geometric ribbed moulded decorative plaster ceiling to the first floor rooms of the front block. The lending library (the former reading room) has a first floor gallery on three sides supported on columns with cast-iron balustrade under open timber clerestoried roof comprised of three Queen post trusses, the posts being formed of small classical columns. The present records office (the former lending library) has a gallery with more elaborate ironwork balustrade and original fixed shelving. This hall also retains the original book hoist from when books for lending were not openly accessible to the public but had to be ordered from the catalogues formerly located in the hall – this is now an extremely rare feature.”

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