Everton Library 1998
Everton Library and Mere Bank public house, 1975
Liverpool has too many good building at risk and it is particularly sad when they belong to the City Council. The news last week that Everton Library is on track to receive a major renovation is very welcome news.
Libraries have had a very difficult time in recent years. Nationally, local authorities have been closing them down as spending cuts squeeze their budgets, citing declining use and the need to protect more essential services.
I am of a generation brought up to use and value libraries and their essential role in education. For many, they have been a source of inspiration, a treasure trove of learning that they could never afford themselves. Everton Library, in the heart of a deprived community, provided a priceless resource for adults and children alike. Designed by a very talented City Surveyor, Thomas Shelmerdine (who was also responsible for Kensington, Toxteth and Garston Libraries amongst other works)and opened in 1896, it is one of Liverpool’s finest art nouveau buildings.
More on Shelmerdine in the next blog but the hope is that, in 2016, a completely refurbished library and community meeting place will reopen to serve its community for generations to come.
A brief mention for Mere Bank public house, a splendid half-timbered pub standing next to the library and opposite St George’s church. Quentin Hughes was particularly fond of the proportions and craftsmanship displayed and included it in his Liverpool: City of Architecture as the building to kick-off the twentieth century (it opened c1900). The last time I passed it, it was closed and up for sale. Another sad reflection of our times.