Putting The Library To Sleep

Hanwell library is closed with a sprinkle of fairy dust


Closing One Chapter and Opening Another

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Around 350 people turned out at Hanwell’s Carnegie Library on Saturday (20 October) to take part in a day of activities to mark the closing of the Library for its £900K refurbishment.

The day was themed on the Lilac Fairy from Sleeping Beauty ‘Putting the Library under a Sleeping Spell’ for its winter of refurbishment.

The event was opened by local Ealing North MP, Steve Pound, who delighted his audience with the reading of two of his favourite poems, ‘On the Tombs in Westminster Abbey’ by Francis Beaumont and GK Chesterton’s ‘The Rolling English Road’.

“It is terrific to see the Library being used in this way, and to see so many people here. It’s a very popular library, highly valued and the investment by Ealing Council in these difficult times is to be applauded,” he enthused.

Hanwell History and Heritage, Hanwell Library Reading Group, The Rainbow Poetry Group, and the Little Art Room led sessions where visitors were invited to listen and discuss what they heard. Narmada Pathi gave a well-received demonstration of Classical Indian Dance in glorious costume. Sessions of Baby Bounce ‘n’ Rhyme and Interactive Story telling in the Children’s Section punctuated the day’s activities with a riotous enthusiasm.

Local Hanwell Village Green resident Barry Morgan gave an absorbing talk on the social and economic development of Hanwell which culminated in the great Victorian philanthropist Andrew Carnegie’s collaboration with Hanwell Urban District Council on building the Library which opened in 1905.

“As the population of Hanwell had grown rapidly in the latter part of the 19th century with the coming of the canal, the Cuckoo Schools, Hanwell Asylum and the Great Western Railway, by the early 20th century, the Town worthies recognised that the working people of Hanwell needed a library for those great Victorian and Edwardian principles; self-improvement and education,” he said. “By 1910, over 200 people per day were visiting the library to read newspapers and borrow books,” he concluded.

Cllr Julian Bell, Leader of Ealing Council, listened with interest to the history talk and then pleased the listeners with a reading from the opening page of one his favourite books, ‘1984’ by George Orwell, which he commended as one of the most powerful pieces of prose written. He also urged parents to encourage younger members of their families to read the Harry Potter books and ‘A Short History of Nearly Everything’ by Bill Bryson as a great introduction to science for young people.

“We are absolutely delighted with the turnout”, said Carolyn Brown, Chair of Hanwell Community Forum’s Library Action, “And everyone seems to have had a wonderful time. It has been a joy to hear the Rainbow Group reciting favourite poems such as ‘When I am Old I will Wear Purple’ by Jenny Joseph and AA Milne’s ‘The King’s Breakfast’, which takes me back to my childhood,” She continued.

“Today has demonstrated how important Hanwell Library is to its community and the value that parents and children alike put on the written and spoken word. With a shocking 17% of UK adults struggling with literacy, it is essential that local libraries, such Hanwell, continue to ensure that everyone has access to books and computers, regardless of social background, and that school children and students have the quiet space to study which they may not have at home,” she concluded.

The Library was ‘Put to Sleep’ following a ‘magical fairy cake’ decoration craft session led by The Little Art Room (Boston Road), which concluded with the children (and grownups) taking some ‘fairy dust and sprinkling around the library to wish it, and everyone working on the refurbishment project well.

The Grand Reopening of the fully refurbished building is scheduled for May 2013.


25th October 2012


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