One Hundred years of Bideford Library

On February 7th 1906 Bideford Library and Museum was opened by Mr C.S. Carnegie from Northam, a relative of the millionaire benefactor and philanthropist, Andrew Carnegie. The Public Library Act, which Bideford adopted in 1877, gave councils the right to administer their own library, and funds for our present building came as a result of Andrew Carnegie’s generosity. The library had had two previous homes- firstly in Bridgeland St next door to Lavington Church and later in Bridge Buildings. The Bridgeland Street home came about largely through the insistence by Alderman Narraway of the need for a public library. It is interesting that at the council meeting, when he asked for £50 towards the library, only £25 was agreed, the same price as a new clock, which some members thought of far more importance.

This February we celebrate 100 years of the library on its present site, which was previously occupied by a chemist’s shop, next door to the town hall. We are holding a re-enactment of the event on Wednesday February 8th at 3pm with John Hadfield, the Mayor’s Consort, playing the part of CS Carnegie, the Mayoral procession, and library staff in Edwardian costume. Tea, a talk on the library’s history, quizzes and exhibitions will also be on offer.

Other events for the week include acouncils the right to administer their own library, and funds for our present building came as a result of Andrew Carnegie’s generosity. The library had had two previous homes- firstly in Bridgeland St next door to Lavington Church and later in Bridge Buildings. The Bridgeland Street home came about largely through the insistence by Alderman Narraway of the need for a public library. It is interesting that at the council meeting, when he asked for £50 towards the library, only £25 was agreed, the same price as a new clock, which some members thought of far more importance.

This February we celebrate 100 years of the library on its present site, which was previously occupied by a chemist’s shop, next door to the town hall. We are holding a re-enactment of the event on Wednesday February 8th at 3pm with John Hadfield, the Mayor’s Consort, playing the part of CS Carnegie, the Mayoral procession, and library staff in Edwardian costume. Tea, a talk on the library’s history, quizzes and exhibitions will also be on offer.

Other events for the week include an Edwardian party with magic in the children’s library, and a celebratory cake. Everyone of course is very welcome to all these events and more details will be found on the diary page of this issue.

The museum, housing some interesting exhibits including the famous ‘stuffed birds’, has now moved upstairs at the Burton Art Gallery, and over the years we have moved with the times, embracing new technology and audio visual materials

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