Richmond Library closes to repair lasting bomb damage

London’s oldest operating public library closed today to repair damage originally caused by bombs in World War Two. 

Richmond Lending Library – London’s oldest public library still in use – will temporarily close from today (June 11) at 6pm until September 2021 to complete major renovation works. 

Richmond Library opened in 1881 in a building designed by FS Brunton and is described as a great example of Gothic architecture. 

The Grade II listed building was originally damaged by an incendiary bomb during World War Two. 

The bomb set fire to the wooden parts of the roof, leaving lasting damage. 

Councillor Julia Neden-Watts, chair of the Environment, Sustainability, Culture and Sports Committee, said: “The fire was extinguished and the solution at the time was to board over the damage and carry on. 

“The damage has gradually worsened, and we need to fix it to protect the building that holds so much history.”

Whilst works are underway, a pop-up library will be opened in the Richmond Library Annexe operating seven days a week, with the same opening hours as Richmond Lending Library. 

From Monday 14 June you will also be able to reserve books via the Click & Collect services, and you will be able to view different selections of books each week. 

Councillor Neden-Watts added: “We hope the replacement measures are convenient for library users and look forward to reopening the doors of Richmond Lending Library in mid-September.”

For more information, please visit the Richmond library website

Featured Image Credit: Julia Chandler/Libraries Taskforce

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