Public Library - Ilkley, UK
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member dtrebilc
N 53° 55.454 W 001° 49.235
30U E 577448 N 5975736
Quick Description: This public library was built as a separate wing to the Town Hall using a £3.000 grant from Andrew Carnegie in 1907.
Location: Yorkshire, United Kingdom
Date Posted: 4/9/2012 4:40:07 AM
Waymark Code: WME6A4
Published By: Groundspeak Charter Member BruceS
Views: 1

Long Description:
Ilkley is a spa town that grew in popularity in the Victorian era when the railway arrived in 1865.

As the town expanded Ilkley council decided they needed larger and more prestigious buildings to house a town hall, public library and concert hall. They purchased some land in 1897 near to the railway station and demolished the original buildings. However the council faced a lot of opposition over the cost of the building works.

Eventually John Dixon, the Chairman of the Public Library Committee appealed to Andrew Carnegie for help in funding the library. Carnegie made an award of £3000 for the building of a Free Public Library provided that the Free Public Libraries Act was adopted.

The council announced a competition for the design of the buildings in November 1903 and over 60 entries were submitted before the drawings, of Mr William Bakewell, of Park Square in Leeds was approved. His design was of a French – Flemish classical design. It has been given a Grade II Listed Building status by English Heritage (Reference 1314237). (visit link)

The library part of the building has relief carvings of 2 larger than life female figures representing science and literature. There are also 2 roundels with the heads of the Roman Goddess Minerva (Goddess of Wisdom), and the Greek God Apollo (God of Knowledge).

The foundation stone of the library was laid by John Dixon on 31st January 1906. The library committee wanted an impressive opening ceremony and invited the Reverand Robert Collyer. He had grown up in Ilkley, but had travelled to the United States in 1850, where he subsequently became a world famous preacher.

It was expected that the building would be complete when the reverend arrived on a trip fro New York. In the event the building was not complete when he performed the opening ceremony on October 2nd 1907, but his fame was such that there was a large audience to watch him.
He used a large ceremonial key to open the library inscribed with the Latin phrase 'Sapienta Est Potentia'- 'Knowledge is power'.

During the ceremony he promised that he would donate to the library his large collection of books about Yorkshire, the county in which Ilkey is situated. The 259 books were shipped from America after his death 5 years later.

The building is still used as a library and has free internet access terminals.
Address of Library Building:
Station Road
Ilkley, West Yorkshire United Kingdom
LS29 8HA


Current Use of Building: Public Library

Year Built (optional): 1907

Website about building: [Web Link]

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