Huddersfield Central Library

Huddersfiled c Mark Anderson
Huddersfield Library and Art Gallery 2005 cc-by-sa/2.0 – © Mark

Huddersfield Library and Information Centre is the main library in the Kirklees Libraries. It is a Grade II building that stands quite proudly on the edge of a rather dated shopping area.

The library is on three floors with an art gallery on the top floor. There are all the usual amenities: lending and reference libraries, children’s library, local studies, archives, visitors centre and meeting room. There’s even mention of a transcription service.

Although areas show signs of modernisation some of the carpet, furniture and signage could do with updating.

There was a nice level of activity and the staff were chatting away happily giving the impression it was a harmonious place to be.

There was a wonderful Harry Potter exhibition on when I visited and looking at their impressive Twitter feed (@kirkleeslibrary) the network of Kirklees Libraries offer a range of activities, clubs to encourage readers to use the service.

Unfortunately, local news reports that the service is under threat as the council has to cut its budget again in 2018, with a consultation starting in January.

I leave you with the entry from the Historic England website regarding the features that warranted its Grade II listing:

Library and Art Gallery built in 1937, designed by E H Ashburner, steel framed and faced with local pink stone. The plan form is square with a central atrium containing the main staircase through three storeys plus basement. Main entrance facade has protruding central section with central entrance doorway with ogee-curved consoles supporting a cornice, flanked by two tall metal-framed rectangular windows with slightly recessed architraves, plus five at first floor level with cornice above. Decorative panel above cornice. Three windows on each side on ground and first floors. Second floor has no external windows. Bas-relief frieze in classical style between ground and first floor windows on either side. Windows continue in same style throughout, including basement windows to sides. Two free-standing statues in classical style with modernist influence flanking entrance steps, representing Spirits of Literature and Art, by James Woodford. Right return has similar facade with a projecting centre of 8 windows, those on the ground floor have moulded stone surrounds and hood moulds, the 8 windows above have flush surrounds. INTERIOR: Entrance hall with original coffered ceiling and lights, marble lined. Fine Imperial staircase to all floors with brass handrail. Floor paved with chequer design (hidden by carpet). Landing walls panelled in wood veneer, landing floor with original cork tiles. Meeting room also fully panelled in wood veneer with original doors and fittings. Some original bookcases in library and original doors throughout. Built 1937, opened as a library and art gallery in 1940, still in original use.