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Saturday, 1 December 2012

Carnegie Library

Every time I see this building it makes me feel sad. It's in Windhill, on the main road from Shipley towards Leeds, not far from the Dock Lane cluster of buildings that I showed on Thursday. Built in 1905, it was one of many libraries built with a grant from the Carnegie Trust. Unfortunately it is poorly positioned on what is now a very busy road junction. It's a long time since it was used as a library and it also had a brief incarnation as a dance hall before becoming disused and now boarded up. There was a plan to turn it in to flats, but that appears to have faltered. (I'm not sure who'd want to live right on the junction anyway.) Sadly you can see it degenerating, year by year. The windows are broken, there are trees growing through the masonry and I imagine it is damp and decaying inside. It's unfortunate that it stands in a prominent position on the way into the town and gives a terrible impression. It will no doubt end up demolished, a shameful end for a once fine building.


  1. I've often passed this library Jenny and felt the same. It seems like a remnant of a once bustling local life and community that has sadly passed away with the modern developments that now surround it. I often think someone like Beamish needs to take it down and restore it to its former glory in a place it would be valued!

    1. I think that would be a really good idea. It's wasted sitting where it is now. They do dismantle buildings and rebuild them elsewhere, so I guess it would be possible.

  2. Andrew Carnegie did a lot of good with his support of libraries. This one looks like it has come to hard times from which survival is a very big question mark.

  3. Such a beautiful structure. Will be a shame when demolished.

  4. It looks like it was beautiful at one time! That is sad!

  5. That really is a beautiful building.

  6. not just beautiful, functional in it's day to the older men who used to go into the reading room just off to the left as I recall to read the dailies. A place I loved as a child, I think the children's reading room was off to the right, and the main library in the room straight ahead- what happened to the grant funding Carnegie provided? The library was intended as a legacy for the community. Sadly Windhill does not appear much in the forefront of Bradford Council's investment strategy, rather forming part of it's asset disposal strategy, for example piecemeal developments on established recreation ground, where else would this be allowed??

  7. such a shame we like many others had our wedding reception there in the upstaire rooms46 years ago run i think by mr fred town pity they cant find a better life for such a good looing building

  8. Philip J Manchester12 February 2013 at 12:02

    Hi there - I used to live right behind the Carnegie Library on New Street.We had the shop at the top of the street on the right hand side.Does anyone have any pictures of New Street circa 1960 - 1965 ?

    Cheers......Philip J Manchester.


  9. This was a building erected for use by the local community, it could still be that! Demolishing it would not only be a tragedy, it would also be a vandalistic abuse of the gift given to Shipley by Carnegie. Some how Shipley has got to recover ownership and use of this iconic building and get it raised to a status similar to Salts Mill. For a while I have been wondering to what use this building could be put and now believe it has been staring me in the face! It is the future of the Shipley community, not the past that is waiting within the walls. email: barnowl_00@msn.com
    I am relatively new to the area and need help to find the way forward. Is there any one out there who knows who to talk to, where and how to get grants and would be willing to help?