Portsmouth Central Library


“Standing in bold contrast to the adjacent international-style Civic Offices and neo-classical Guildhall, the Norrish central library in Portsmouth, Hampshire was designed by city architect Ken Norrish and completed in 1976.  Its striking sculptural form in incised concrete is a grandiose composition of curvaceous volumes and heraldic turrets.” Brutalism Online

I love the above quote. Brutalism is a very apt description of the architecture. Portsmouth Central Library celebrated 40 years in 2016. It became the Norrish Central Library in 1995 named after its designer. It is a vast building of five floors and packed full of books. The décor is a bit brown and orange and in a 70s way rather than a modern way.

There were two Jane Austen exhibits and what looks like a permanent local authors display. I like a library that has jigsaws out but I’m not sure of the etiquette when doing a communal jigsaw. I have seen posters about getting free ebooks from the library but this was the first time I have seen a poster mentioning free music downloads from the library – very interesting.


Virtually all of the second floor is the Portsmouth History Centre.

Portsmouth (19)

It wasn’t very busy on a Friday early lunchtime in August, but this library will be able to hold a lot of people without it being obvious. I think the CCTV signs are a consequence of  that.