Mayor of London visits Merton


Boris Johnson officially opens refurbished library at Pollards Hill, Mitcham.


By James Pennicott

EASTENDERS had to wait for Boris Johnson, as he was busy re-opening Pollards Hill Library in Mitcham last Thursday.

The Mayor of London unveiled a plaque, officially marking the completion of the lottery-funded refurbishment.

After being shown the renovated building, he made a speech along with council leader David Williams and Merton mayor Nick Draper before revealing the plaque.

Mr Johnson said: “This is such a beautiful community facility. It’s got just about everything you could want from a library.

“People must remember the vital importance of reading. As fantastic as the internet is, you simply cannot beat a good book. Merton council have done a great job.”

Boris Johnson at Pollards Hill Library                      

He even had the time to crack a few jokes.

He said: “It shocks me that they have one of my books here. I will try and find some unsigned ones at home – they are of course rarer than the signed ones these days!”

The appearance came on the day of the Mayor’s cameo in Eastenders, which he would regrettably miss, but promised to Sky+.

He described his role on the soap opera as: “Most definitely the highest honour of my life!”

The library, which opened again on August 17, received a lottery grant of £958,000 for its refurbishment, but suffered setbacks throughout the process.

While the building’s foundations were being tended to, it was discovered that an entire road lay underneath which cost the entirety of the £30,000 contingency funds – not to mention an extra six weeks – to deal with.

Facilities manager Martin Nolan said: “It was difficult, but the end result is fantastic. Unfortunately the windows are still the same as before because of the unforeseen budgeting needs, but the building is still brilliant.

There was also a large environmental advantage with the refurbishment. All materials removed including bricks, lighting, and drains, were all relocated and used elsewhere in the borough.

Lessons in English and foreign languages, children’s reading sessions and IT courses are just some of the new services available from the new facility.

Pollards Hill was not the Mayor’s only stop on Thursday either. Before arriving, he had been to plant a time capsule at the Intergenerational Centre in Eastfields, Mitcham.

The plaque at the refurbished library

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