Radford Lenton Library*

1926 – Nottingham, England. Lat/Long 52.95472222 -1.175833333

Nottingham City Librarian, Walter Briscoe wrote: “Apart from the “standardising” of certain fittings, librarians who wander round the country – visiting libraries in their peregrinations, like the proverbial busman’s holiday – are quick to note the numerous innovations by their colleagues. Every librarian is capable of introducing some”gadget” or other, and likes to feel that he is the originator of one library appliance or another.”[i]

Briscoe oversaw the design and procurement of four branch libraries for Nottingham along with Basford, Bullwell and Meadows libraries. He went on to publish an authoritative text, “Library Planning” in 1927 in which all four are extensively illustrated.

Bullwell was the first Carnegie Library since the War, opening in 1922, funded by the then Carnegie UK Trust. Although the group grant dates to 1915, their delayed delivery and the systematic involvement of Briscoe “under post-war economic condition” sets them as the first exemplars of the immediate era post 1919 which was coincidentally the year of Carnegie’s death.

Radford Lenton was identified as being designed in the “Elizabethan Style”, yet featured innovative materials. “The dressings, it is interesting to note, are composed of artificial stone made by the Empire Stove Co., whose works arc at Narborough, and are a comparatively new thing”[ii]. The lending desk has moved and the Newspaper room now houses a Music archive, otherwise the building remains unaltered.

[i] BRISCOE, W. A. (1927). Library Planning by Walter A. Briscoe. London, Grafton and Co. p.133-4

[ii] Nottingham Evening Post – Wednesday 20 October 1926

Designed by: T.Wallis Gordon (City Engineer) of Nottingham.

Heritage designation: none. Purpose built library; Carnegie UK Trust: £3,750 24/8/1915 and 8/7/1922.   Open library, council managed.

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