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“Happy 80th Birthday” Hampton Wick Library!

Monday 30th July 2018

“Happy 80th Birthday” Hampton Wick Library!

Hampton Wick Library 2018 (c) HWA

Our Library is 80 years old! On Thursday 9th December 1937 Hampton Wick’s very own public library was opened by the mayor. It was housed in one room (measuring 320 square feet) in the offices of the Hampton Wick Urban District Council, which had just been disbanded.

There was a small stock of books and the library was open for only a few hours each day, from 4.30pm to 8pm. The handsome building on the High Street remains, described in the council’s current Conservation Area Study as being “idiosyncratic, tall, Dutch gabled”.

There had been a library of sorts before. In 1845 the Endowed School for Boys was established in the High Street under the auspices of St John’s Church. Sometime between then and 1888, a library was set up within the school for the use of local residents (an early model for “community colleges” perhaps?). Apparently Queen Victoria contributed £5*. The “library” was supervised voluntarily by one or more of the school’s teachers.

Our Library moved from the Urban District Council offices to its current home in 1977.

Perhaps it’s appropriate, given her early support, that the Village’s “drinking fountain and ornamental lantern” tribute to Queen Victoria’s Diamond Jubilee now sits just outside the Library.

The Library has flourished in its 80 years. The selection of books is backed these days by our librarians’ ability to order in more from libraries across the borough. There is a cosy children’s section, and a number of computer terminals with internet access. There are reading groups, Kiddies Story Times, Tiny Teddies and other events to keep the cultural and community life of our village vibrant.

Happy 80th Birthday from the Hampton Wick Association!

*Why not follow in Queen Victoria’s footsteps? Click here to donate £5 now to join The Friends of Hampton Wick Library for life.

And why not come along to the Hampton Wick Summer Garden Party to celebrate the 80th anniversary? It’s free and everyone’s welcome – homemade cakes and lashings of ginger beer!!

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