‘Bold modernist’ library listed

Bebington Central Library has been listed Grade 2 by heritage minister Tracey Crouch along with six other later 20th Century libraries. The British Library in London has been listed Grade 1.

Historic England, a government department, carried out research into post-war libraries and identified the ones that met the criteria for listing.

Historic England said in a statement: “In the 1960s there was a lifting of government controls on building which saw an unprecedented spate of library building with 350 being built across the UK. The Public Libraries & Museums Act of 1964 made it a duty for local authorities to provide a library service. Scandinavian building styles dominated and for small libraries, circular or polygonal buildings were popular.

“Bebington Central Library in Wirral is a bold, modernist style with local, nautical references in its use of giant porthole windows. The main space rises dramatically through two floors to provide an open lending library, conducive to browsing, an enclosed children’s library, and a more intimate, reference library, conducive to studying. Many original fixtures and fittings survive including original, angular timber bookcases, bold, geometric floor tiles, over-sized timber doors with horizontal oblong lights and solid timber doors, staircase and balcony balustrades with grey marble inlay, original peg boards for displaying art work, and a pottery tile wall mural in the former coffee bar. It was designed by Paterson, Macaulay & Owens in 1965 and built in 1967-71.”

The other libraries listed were:

  • Suffolk Record Office in Bury St Edmunds
  • Lillington Library in Leamington Spa
  • Bourne Hall Library in Epsom
  • West Sussex Library in Chichester
  • Chandler’s Ford library, Hampshire
  • Milton Keynes Central Library

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