Transparent walls

Internal window, Hove Library, 1908 – Architects: William Alban Jones & Percy Robinson

Glazed partitions and internal windows were frequently used to separate areas of the libraries whilst maintaining the potential for the librarians to have adequate surveillance. They also enabled the “borrowing” of light from one space to another.

As buildings have been adapted and modernised over the years, many of these screens have been removed. Nevertheless we have recorded 138 buildings where they are still evident.

Article transcribed from: RICHARDSON, W. (1895). Building world. London, Printed and published by Cassell & Company Limited. No. 585 – December 29, 1906. P. 203-4


FIGS. 1 to 8 Show in design and detail a vestibule screen for the Hall of a large residence or a public building. the height of the screen is 9ft. 6 in. to the cornice ; the width, 13 ft. ; But the design can be applied at pleasure to narrower halls, or corridors, either by emitting panels or by slightly increasing or diminishing their widths. (For Figs. 4 to 8, see next page.)

            To obtain good design, the panels over the door must be of similar width to the side panels ; that is to say, the widths of all the panels shall be such as to give a convenient and proportionate doorway. For public buildings it may be necessary to have a doorway so wide as to require a pair of swing or folding doors, instead of the single door here shown. in that case the widths of the panel would have to be altered to suit the width of the doors. another point that has been carefully observed in the general arrangement is that of carrying all principle horizontal lines across the entire width of the screen. For instance, the edges off the bottom rails of the sashes and the lock rail of the door, are in one line, and the wide bottom rail of the door is broken by sunk mouldings, carried through at the same level as the edges of the plinth and Bottom rail of the frame. Inattention to this point of detail in designs of this class usually results in a broken outline, and a consequent loss of character in the design.

            The design is shown suitable for construction in yellow pine (to be finished in white enamel), or in oak, teak, or mahogany, french-polished. Leaded Lights of simple rectangular design, with parallel margins following the outline of the sash bars, and glazed in very pale tints of harmonious colours, will be found to produce a satisfactory effect. The frame of the screen is twice moulded and rebated on each exposed edge, and is of 41/2-in. by 3-in. material, with 41/2-in. by 4-in. Top and bottom rails, all framed together with double tenons (see Figs. 4 and 5). Where unseen the tenons pass through the rails or stiles, And are glued or double wedged in the usual manner. Joints in the frame, as at G and H (Fig. 1), are formed as shown in detail in Figs. 4 and 5. In Fig. 5, the tenons Us stopped short, glued, and screwed through the stile, the sinking for the screw head being bored with the centrebit and pelleted up after drawing up the joint. Round Steel nails are often used for the same purpose, and are sunk below the surface in the same way. Screwing into end grain is not considered good in general practice, but with a screw of good length and diameter the joint shown can be easily drawn tight. An alternative and a superior method is shown in sectional plan at J (Fig. 5), wear a parallel set screw, with a roundhead and square nut, is used, the not being housed into the rail from the upper edge, and the screw turned into it through the stile.

            Fig. 4. Shows the middle of the rail of the frame, with muntins entering above and below. Dove-tail tenons are used (see dotted lines). The mortices to receive the tenons are made long enough just to allow the dovetails to enter, the extended mortice being cut with a bevelled end and the joint glued and wedged with single wedges. A portion of the end grain of the wedge is visible unless it is placed within the rebate and covered with the sashes, which arrangement is only possible with the back tenon in the example shown. In polished hardwood, end grain like this is ought not to show, and the wedging would have to be omitted, unless the tenons could be placed entirely within the rebate. In such cases, the bottom and middle rail and the intervening muntins are glued and cramped together in the workshop, and the upper muntins are glued and forced home by wedging them down tight from the ceiling above. In all cases the joints throughout are fitted together, and the faces levelled and finished, in the workshop, although the whole frame may be too large to put together there permanently. 

            The sashes for the top panels are 2 in. thick, with 2 in. wide stiles, 21/2-in. Top and bottom rails, and 1-in. bar filling; the moulds being stuck 5/16-in. deep. The Joints are mortised and tenoned together wherever possible (see Figs. 6,7 and 8); the thickness of the tenons being exactly equal to, and placed on, the square edges of the sash members.

            At C and D (Fig. 6) tenons cannot be conveniently used, and the method adopted is to mitre the three members together and glue and screw, or brad (see Fig. 6) the two inclined bars together, through the back part of the bar and then dowel the vertical bar into the thick portion of the joint, by 5/16-in. dowels (see Figs. 6 and 7). The Jointing of the bars of the door will be quite clear from Fig. 8.

            The panelled frames filling in the bottom part of the screen are 2 in. thick by 3 in. wide on face, with 11/2-in. raised panels, having 1/4-in. raised diamond centres, with flat faces. In Fig. 3 their projection is shown by the dotted line. Several designs of planting mould are shown in the details. 

            When these frames and sashes are completed, and the frame has been made ready for them, they are all perfectly fitted into their respective rebates from behind. The sashes are fixed by screws through the rebates, and the panelled frames by screw brads; or, if they are in hardwood, by secret nailing or gluing only. 

            A plinth of the same pattern as that which is used round the Hall is carried across the face of the screen and fixed to the stiles, to the bottom rail and to the upright packings under each muntin provided. In polished work, the secret screwing would be employed. the ends of the plinth against the doorway are returned in the solid to the face of the doorpost. A plaster cornice is carried across both faces of the screen, on rough brackets. Part of one of these is shown in Fig. 3.

            The let it lights are secured by glazing screeds moulded similarly to the face mould of the sashes. the door is hung with three 4-in. cast brass butt hinges, and the doorposts require housing into the floor to make them perfectly rigid. 

F.E.  DRURY.               (d.29.11.1950)

List of open Carnegie libraries with glazed partitions identified in this project:

Dundee – Arthurstone Community LibraryWilliam Alexander (City Architect) & James Thomson19055 Arthurstone TerraceDD4 6RT
Ewart Library (Dumfries)Alan B. Crombie1904Catherine St DumfriesDG1 1JB
West Calder LibraryWilliam Baillie190424-26 Main St EH55 8DR
Ayr Carnegie Library Campbell Douglas & Morrison189312 Main StreetKA8 8EB
Dartford Central Library & MuseumThomas Edward Tiffin (Town Surveyor)1916Market StDA1 1EU
Burnley Library George Hartley and Arthur Race (Borough Engineer)193019-29 Parker LnBB11 2BD
Accrington Carnegie Public LibraryWilliam J. Newton (Borough Engineer)1908St James’ StBB5 1NQ
Liverpool – Toxteth Library (Soth-end)Thomas  Shelmerdine (Corporation Architect and Surveyor)1902Windsor St, Liverpool L8 1XF
Milnrow Library S. Butterworth & W.H. Duncan190857 Newhey RdOL16 3NP
Sandwell – West Bromwich Central LibraryStephen James Holliday1907316 High StB70 8DZ
Sandwell – Wednesbury LibraryCrouch Butler and Savage1908Walsall StWS10 9EH
Keighley LibraryArthur Ernest McKewan & James Arthur Swan 1904North StreetBD21 3SH
Leeds – Morley LibraryW.E. Putman (Borough Engineer)1906Commercial St,LS27 8HZ
Cardiff – Cathays LibrarySpeir & Bevan1907Fairoak RoadCF24 4PW
Wallasey (Liscard) Central LibraryR.B. MacColl & George Edward Tonge191117 Earlston Rd CH45 5DX
Manchester – Failsworth Library Ernest Ogden & Percy Cartwright Hoy1909397 Oldham RdM35 0AE
Royton Library S. Butterworth & W.H. Duncan1907Rochdale RdOL2 6QJ
ClackmannanEbenezer Simpson1903Main StreetFK10 4JA
Wombwell Library Arthur  B. Linford1907Station RdS73 0BA
Belfast – Falls Road LibraryWatt and Tullock190849 Falls RdBT12 4PD
Lurgan LibraryHenry William Edward Hobart19061 Carnegie StreetBT66 6AS
Dundee – Coldside Library James  Thomson & Frank Drummon Thomson1908150 Strathmartine RdDD3 7SE
Arbroath Academy and Public LibraryJames Black1898Hill TerraceDD11 1AH
Dundee – Blackness LibraryJames  Thomson & Frank Drummon Thomson1908225 Perth RdDD2 1EJ
Falkirk Community Trust LibrarySir George Washington Browne1902Hope StFK1 5AU
StirlingHenry ‘Harry’ Ramsay Taylor1904Corn Exchange RoadFK8 2HX
Glasgow – Maryhill LibraryJames Robert Rhind19051501 Maryhill RdG20 9AD
Glasgow – Possilpark Library George Simpson1913127 Allander StG22 5JJ
Glasgow – Woodside District LibraryJames Robert Rhind1905343 St George’s RdG3 6JQ
Glasgow – Parkhead Library James Robert Rhind190664 Tollcross RdG31 4XA
Glasgow – Langside LibraryGeorge Simpson1915Sinclair DriveG42 9QE
Rutherglen George Sinclair and John Ballantine  1907Main StreetG73 2HB
Clydebank LibraryAlexander McInnes Gardner & Robert Whyte1913Dumbarton RdG81 1XH
Burntisland LibraryWilliam Williamson (City Architect) 1907102 High StKY3 9AS
Hamilton Alex Cullen, Lochhead & Brown1914102 Cadzow StreetML3 6HH
Kelso LibraryJohn More Dick Peddie & Sir George Washington Browne1906Bowmont StreetTD5 7JH
Jedburgh LibraryJohn More Dick Peddie & Sir George Washington Browne1900CastlegateTD8 6AS
Hawick LibraryJ. Nicholl Scott  and Alexander Lorne Campbell1904North Bridge StreetTD9 9QT
Aberdeen Central LibraryAlexander Brown and George Watt1892Rosemount ViaductAB25 1GW
Glasgow – Partick LibraryOffice of Public Works1926305 Dumbarton Rd, GlasgowG11 6AB
Cromarty Library (Hugh Miller Institute)Alexander Ross & Robert John Macbeth190451 Church StIV11 8XA
Ilkeston LibraryHunter and Woodhouse  1904Market StreetDE7 5RN
Leicester Central  LibraryEdward Burgess1905Bishop StreetLE1 6AA
Loughborough LibraryBarrowcliff & Allcock1905Granby StLE11 3DZ
Lincoln Central LibrarySir Reginald Theodore Blomfield1914Free School LnLN2 1EZ
Long Eaton Library Child, Gorman and Ross1906Tamworth RdNG10 1JG
King’s Lynn LibraryHerbert John Green1905London RdPE30 5EZ
Mile End Central Library (Tower Hamlets Local History Library and Archives) StepneyJames Knight originally 1862, Extension by MW Jameson, Borough Surveyor1906277 Bancroft RdE1 4DQ
Lea Bridge LibraryWilliam Jacques1906Lea Bridge RoadE10 7HU
Cubitt Town LibraryCharles Harold Norton190552 Strattondale StE14 3HG
Bethnal Green Library James Tolley1922Cambridge Heath RdE2 0HL
Cheshunt LibraryJ. Myrtle Smith1907Turners HillEN8 8LB
Islington West LibraryArthur Beresford Pite1907107 Bridgeman RdN1 1BD
Islington South LibrarySir Mervyn Edwin Macartney1921115-117 Essex Rd,N1 2SL
Stoke Newington LibraryH.H. Bridgman & Goss (originally 1892)1904184 Stoke Newington ChurchN16 0JS
Highgate Library (Hampstead)William Nisbet Blair (Borough Engineer)1906Chester RoadN19 5DH
Islington North LibraryHenry Thomas Hare1906Manor GardensN7 6JX
West Greenwich LibraryHerbert Winkler Wills and John Anderson1907High RoadSE10 8NN
Plumstead Public LibraryFrank Sumner (Borough Surveyor)1904High StreetSE18 1JL
Lambeth Herne Hill  Carnegie LibraryH. Wakeford & Sons1906Herne Hill RoadSE24 0AG
Torridon Library (Hither Green – Corbett Community Library)Henry Hopton1907Torridon RdSE6 1RQ
Eltham Central Library (Woolwich)Maurice Bingham Adams1906Archery RoadSE9 1HA
Twickenham LibraryHoward Goadby1907Garfield RdTW1 3JT
Teddington LibraryHenry Arthur Cheers1906Waldegrave RdTW11 8NY
Hammersmith LibraryHenry Thomas Hare1905Shepherds Bush RoadW6 7AT
Annfield Plain LibraryEdward Cratney1908North Rd DH9 8EZ
Middlesbrough Central LibrarySir Thomas Edwin Cooper1912Centre Square, Middlesbrough TS1 2AY
Rawtenstall LibraryCrouch Butler & Savage1906Haslingden RdBB4 6QU
Bolton – Farnworth LibraryW.J. Lomax1911Market StBL4 7PG
Cleator Moor Library E.M. Martindale1906Market StCA25 5AP
Blackpool Central LibraryAlex Cullen, Lochhead & Brown1911Queen StFY1 1PX
Barrow in Furness LibraryAlderman John Charles1922Ramsden SquareLA14 1LL
Kendal libraryT.F. Pennington1909StricklandgateLA9 4PY
Manchester – Didsbury Library Henry Price (City Architect)1915692 Wilmslow RdM20 2DN
Eccles GatewayEdward Potts (Potts Son & Hennings)190728 Barton LnM30 0TU
Heywood Library North & Robin1906Lance Corporal Stephen Shaw M C WayOL10 1LL
Ashton in Makerfield LibraryJ. B. & W. Thornley1906Wigan RdWN4 9BH
Folkestone LibraryBrightwen Binyon 19102 Grace HillCT20 1HD
Fratton Carnegie Library (Portsmouth)George Rake & Arthur Edward Cogswell1906Fratton RdPO1 5EZ
Caversham Free Public Library (one of 2 branches for Reading)W.G. Lewton1907Church StRG4 8AU
Bideford Library and MuseumA.J. Dunn1906New RoadEX39 2HR
Bridgwater LibraryErnest Godfrey Page1906Binford PlTA6 3LF
Merthyr Tydfil – Treharris LibraryWilliam Dowdeswell1909Perrott StreetCF46 5ET
Merthyr Tydfil Central LibraryJohnson Richards and Rees1936High StreetCF47 8AF
Merthyr Tydfil – Dowlais LibraryE. A. Johnson1907Church StreetCF48 3HS
Cardiff – Canton LibraryEdwin Montgomery Bruce Vaughan1907Library StreetCF5 1QD
Penarth LibraryHarry Snell1905Stanwell RoadCF64 2YT
Llandudno Library George Alfred Humphreys1910Mostyn StreetLL30 2RP
Pontypool LibrarySpeir & Bevan1908Hanbury RoadNP4 6JL
Abergavenny LibraryB.J. Francis1906Baker StreetNP7 5BD
Taibach Port Talbot Margam Community LibraryJohn Cox (District Surveyor)19165 Commercial RdSA13 1LN
Birmingham – Kings Heath (Moseley) LibraryArthur Gilbey Latham19062 High StB14 7SW
Birmingham – Erdington LibraryJohn P. Osborne1907Orphanage RdB24 9HP
Birmingham – Stirchley LibraryJohn P. Osborne1907Bournville LaneB30 2JT
Sandwell – Cradley Heath Library (Rowley Regis)Herbert Winkler Wills and John Anderson1909Upper High StB64 5JU
Sandwell – Dudley LibraryGeorge H. Wenyon1909St James’s RdDY1 1HR
Northamptonshire Central LibraryHerbert Norman  1910Abington StreetNN1 2BA
Kettering LibraryJ. Goddard, A.H. Paget & W.A. Catlow1904Sheep StreetNN16 0AY
Malvern LibraryHenry Arthur Crouch1906Graham RdWR14 2HU
Gainsborough LibraryH.G. Gamble1905Cobden Street DN21 2NG
Ilkley Library William Bakewell1907Station RdLS29 8HA
Walkley LibraryWilliam Frederick Hemsoll & Henry Leslie Paterson1905403 South RdS6 3TD 
Batley Library Walter Hanstock & Son190714 Market PWF17 5DA
York Central Library Brierley and Rutherford1927Library Square, Museum StreetYO1 7DS
Walthamstow Central LibraryJ.Williams Dunford1909High StreetE17 7JN
Sunderland – Kayll Road West Branch Library Hugh Taylor Decimus Hedley190942 Kayll road SR4 7TW
Darwen Library and TheatreFred Harrison & Charles Spencer Haywood1908Knott StBB3 3BU
Ramsgate LibraryStanley Davenport Adshead19044 Guildford Lawn, RamsgateCT11 9AY
Wolverhampton LibraryHenry Thomas Hare1902Snow Hill, City centreWV1 3AX
Nottingham – Basford Branch Library Nottingham Journal – Tuesday 24 August 1915Ernest R. Sutton & Sons1926Vernon RdNG6 0AR
Nottingham – Radford Lenton LibraryT.Wallis Gordon (City Engineer)1926Lenton BlvdNG7 2BY
Custom House LibraryJohn G. Morley (Borough Engineer)1905Prince Regent LnE16 3JJ
Sydenham  Library Albert L. Guy1904Sydenham RdSE26 5SE
Crofton Park Library Library and Re-Use centreAlbert L. Guy1905375 Brockley RdSE4 2AG
Hanwell LibraryT. Gibbs Thomas1905Cherington RdW7 3HL
Sunderland – Hendon Carnegie LibraryEdward Cratney190867 Toward RdSR2 8JG
Whitehaven LibraryGreig, Fairbairn & Macniven190641 Catherine StCA28 7QT
Liverpool – Old Swan LibraryThomas  Shelmerdine (Corporation Architect and Surveyor)1913Prescot RoadL13 5XG
New Mills Library Richard Bassnett Preston1910New Mills, High PeakSK22 4AR
Thatto Heath LibraryArthur W. Bradley (Borough Engineer)1915Thatto Heath RdWA10 3QX
Newton-le-Willows Library (Newton in Makerfield)(Earlestown)J. Myrtle Smith1909262 Crow Ln EWA12 9TX
Fraserburgh LibraryWilliam Stephen Fergusson Wilson1905King Edward StAB43 9PN
Dumbarton LibraryWilliam Reid1910Strathleven PlG82 1BD
Lossiemouth Library A & W Reid & Wittet1904Town Hall LaneIV31 6AA
Littlehampton LibraryHarry Howard1906Maltravers RdBN17 5NA
Sandown LibraryJames Newman1905119 High StPO36 8AF
Bournemouth – Springbourne Public LibraryHarry E. Hawker & Victor Mitchell1909297A Holdenhurst RdBH8 8BX
Colwyn Bay Library JM Porter and Mr Hunter19055 Woodland Road WestLL29 7DH
Birmingham – Kings Norton LibraryBenjamin Bower1906Pershore RdB30 3EU
Sandwell – Langley Green Library (Oldbury & Langley)Abel Round1909Barrs StB68 8QT
Coventry – Stoke LibraryJ.E. Swindlehurst (City Engineer and Surveyor) 1913KingswayCV2 4EA
Coventry – Earlsdon LibraryJ.E. Swindlehurst (City Engineer and Surveyor) 1913Earlsdon AvenueCV5 6FZ
Coventry – Foleshill LibraryJ.E. Swindlehurst (City Engineer and Surveyor) 1913Broad StreetCV6 5BG
Rushden LibraryWilliam Beresford Madin (Town Surveyor)1905Newton RoadNN10 0PT
Irchester LibraryEdward Sharman & Archer190933-35 High StNN29 7AA
Skipton LibraryJ. W. Broughton & J. Hartley1910High StBD23 1JX
Leeds – Bramley LibraryGeorge Herbert Foggitt & J. Addison1927Hough LnLS13 3ND