Archive centreWhitehaven
TitleWhitehaven Library
DescriptionRecords of the administration, accessions, lending and borrowers of Whitehaven Library.
ContextBefore the adoption of the Public Libraries Act, Whitehaven boasted two libraries for which subscription had to be paid.

The Whitehaven Subscription Library was founded in 1797 and continued until its premises and remaining stock were transferred to the Borough of Whitehaven in 1920. The Whitehaven Mechanics Institute founded in the 1840s to encourage self-education for those of more modest means, acquired premises in Queen Street which became the first public library in 1887, when the act was adopted by the Town and Harbour Trustees. (Whitehaven did not become a municipal borough until 1893).

The public library was formally opened on 15 May 1888 by Archbishop of York, a native of the town. It had a stock of 4,000 volumes. The present library on Catherine Street was opened in 1906 as a result of a gift of £5,000 from Andrew Carnegie and the freehold of the site from the Earl of Lonsdale. There were only two Borough Librarians before the formation of Cumbria County Council in 1974, John Simpson (1888-1933) and Daniel Hay, who strove to provide the town with an excellent service. Key developments included the introduction of open access in 1934 with accompanying reclassification of the book stock, and the establishment of Kells Branch Library in 1940 and Greenbank in 1953 (for more see annual reports of 1950 and 1964).
Related materialSee also DH3, DH 248, DH319, SMBWH9
Catalogue levelFonds

Show related place indexes

CodePlace names
NA573Whitehaven Library/Whitehaven/Cumberland
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