Building Name

Public Library and Hastings Museum, Worcester

Worcestershire, England

THE PUBLIC LIBRARY AND HASTINGS MUSEUM, WORCESTER. This institution was formally opened on Wednesday last, the 16th inst., by his Excellency the American Ambassador, the Hon. J. Russell Lowell, who, it may be stated, is descended from a Worcester family. The Public Libraries Act was adopted in Worcester in April, 1879, and the building was purchased from the Museum Building Society, by means of the public subscription which was raised to provide a Library Building, fittings and books, and which, it is hoped, will ultimately reach the sum of 5,0001. The building, from its peculiar character, and the special objects for which it was built, offered many difficulties to a complete adaptation for all the purposes of a Public Library. The architect of the Public Library and Museum at Derby (Mr. R. Knill Freeman, of Bolton), was selected by the committee to design and superintend the necessary alterations, and satisfaction is expressed at the manner in which he has accomplished his task. On the left of the vestibule will be found the Lending Department, where borrowers will apply for their books. A counter runs nearly the full length of this space, and on portions of this counter Cotgreave’s Indicator will stand, on reference to which borrowers will be able, at a glance, to see whether the books they want are in the Library without troubling the Library staff at all. The Librarian’s room overlooks this department. Catalogues will be placed here for reference, and also a looked box to receive any complaints or suggestions from borrowers. Behind the counter in the Lending Department stand shelves devoted to some of the more popular classes of books. The Lending Library Book Store opens out of the Lending Department. It has been reclaimed from the east end of the lecture-room (now the news-room), and the floor of the store and the gallery above have been so utilised that the book space is sufficient to provide for accessions of books for some years. The News-room is approached from the vestibule, and has been decorated by Messrs. Wells & Son (the contractors), and the fittings and appointments will be in keeping with the decorations. The newspaper stands are ranged round the room between the pilasters. The names of the newspapers will be fixed on the stands, as is done at the Birmingham Free Library ; so that a reader may see on entering the room the position of the paper he wishes to consult. Three large reading-tables will be placed in the centre of the room, and one in the recess at the west end. A large plaster figure of “Rhetoric” will occupy a portion of this recess, and a bust of the late Alderman Edward Webb will also find an appropriate place in this room. The Reference Library and Reading-room have been formed by practically throwing the Council-room and the Curator’s room into one. The fittings and appointments are in oak. A large reading-table will stand in the centre of the room, while another runs along the west wall of the apartment. Three oak bookcases are placed in the Reading room, and the remaining shelf-room is found in the book-store beyond. The ventilation of the Reading-room has received careful attention. All the floors are laid with linoleum, on paper. [Builder 19 March 1881 page 355]

Reference           Builder 19 March 1881 page 355