Report by Simon Angear , Content Editor
Saturday, September 1, 2012
WESTON’S historic Boulevard library closed its doors for the final time on Friday.
The 122-year-old Hans Price-designed building opened in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee in 1900 – but has now been closed just months after Queen Elizabeth II celebrated a similar landmark.
North Somerset Council is relocating the library service to the Town Hall, as part of a £9.7million upgrade of its Weston headquarters.
Councillor John Crockford-Hawley, who successfully applied to English Heritage last year for the old library building to be granted listed status, became the final person to borrow a book from the library on Friday afternoon.
He said: “It was rather sad standing there amidst empty shelves having the last books stamped, knowing that not another person will ever take a book from the building; a building which has served the town well since opening in celebration of Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee.
“There were no fanfares, no Auld Lang Syne, no last night party, just a council press officer ‘keeping an eye on things’.
“It was an ignominious end; an elderly relative left to rot. Damn the infidels. The place deserved better.”
The building has been put up for sale with a £350,000 price tag, but no assurances have been offered over Weston Town Council’s plea for it to be retained for community use.
Cllr Crockford-Hawley added: “Though sad at the building’s closure and rather angry at the council’s philistine approach to Hans Fowler Price’s architectural asset, I am so pleased that English Heritage responded positively to my request for listed status.
“Come what may, North Somerset Council will not now be able to demolish the handsome structure. I only hope we can find a beneficial community use for the old place.”
The new Town Hall library is due to open on October 1, and North Somerset’s executive member for libraries, Felicity Baker, says she is confident the new facility will meet with ‘universal acclaim’.