LILLINGTON Library now shares something in common with London landmarks Battersea Power station and the BT Tower – historic listed status.
The Valley Road library is one of seven local libraries across England listed at Grade II as the best examples of public libraries of the later 20th century – coinciding with the listing of the British Library at Grade I – and which join nine libraries of the period already listed.
Lillington Library is relatively early for its type, as a smaller branch library built in 1959-60.
It has a strikingly colourful façade in Festival of Britain style. It has been little altered during its life, and importantly, retains its original aluminium full-height windows.
Internally, the library areas has been refurbished which is to be expected from a building in regularpublic use, and the original paint finishes and flooring have been covered, but there have been no changes to the layout.
Henry Fedeski, who designed this library, took care to consider the structure in its setting, its two-storey design balancing a block of flats on the opposite side of Valley Road, and its position, set back from the road, to allow for planting to soften and enrich the new roads and buildings.
Lillington Library was granted its listing by Heritage Minister Tracey Crouch on the advice of Historic England – formerly English Heritage – which has carried out extensive new research into post-war libraries and identified those for listing.
Deborah Williams, Designation Team Leader at Historic England, said: “Lillington Library is designed in a lively Festival of Britain style, and complements the buildings surrounding it.
“It’s a good example of the first wave of post-war building of branch libraries and has been little altered, so deserves being listed at Grade II.”
Heritage Minister, Ms Crouch, added she was delighted to list Lillington Library which had been an important part of the community for over 50 years.
The other newly listed libraries were Milton Keynes Central Library in Buckinghamshire; Chandler’s Ford Library, in Hampshire; West Sussex Library in Chichester; Bourne Hall Library in Epsom, Surrey; Suffolk Record Office in Bury St Edmonds; and Bebington Central Library on The Wirral.
Public libraries have been at the heart of English life for 150 years as places of learning and leisure for all, but are now undergoing radical change, particularly since cuts to local authority budgets