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Selly Oak Library

A Grade II Listed Building in Selly Oak, Birmingham

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Coordinates

Latitude: 52.4435 / 52°26'36"N

Longitude: -1.9367 / 1°56'12"W

OS Eastings: 404400

OS Northings: 282841

OS Grid: SP044828

Mapcode National: GBR 5RP.8Y

Mapcode Global: VH9Z2.DV05

Entry Name: Selly Oak Library

Listing Date: 18 February 2011

Grade: II

Source: Historic England

Source ID: 1396466

English Heritage Legacy ID: 508448

Location: Birmingham, B29

County: Birmingham

Electoral Ward/Division: Selly Oak

Built-Up Area: Birmingham

Traditional County: Worcestershire

Lieutenancy Area (Ceremonial County): West Midlands

Church of England Parish: Selly Park

Church of England Diocese: Birmingham

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Selly Oak

Listing Text


997/0/10537 BRISTOL ROAD
18-FEB-11 669
Selly Oak Library

GV II
A Carnegie Library of red brick with terracotta and stone dressings and a plain tile roof, built in 1905 to the designs of the Birmingham architect, John P Osborne. The building has two storeys with a basement. The front range, facing south-east onto Bristol Road is of two storeys and behind it is a single-storey range at ground floor level, which is top lit.
EXTERIOR: The frontage to Bristol Street is symmetrical with a central wide bay containing a doorway, set above steps and a ramp. The walling to this central bay is predominantly of terracotta which is moulded as panels with a combination of Renaissance motifs and the letters 'AD' and the date'1905' at right and left, set above small paired windows with leaded glazing. Immediately above is a cambered arch with alternating voussoirs of terracotta and brick, and above this is a terracotta panel bearing the words 'FREE LIBRARY' in large, relief letters. Above this, again are three sash windows with cambered heads and there are brackets to the eaves. At either side are gabled bays which project slightly and have octagonal buttresses to their corners, flush bands to their bodies and a shaped outline to the gable. At ground floor level, each of these wings has two three-light windows with cambered head and triple-keystone. At first floor level there are four windows, set in pairs. To the centre of the ridge is a louvered, wooden, ventilation turret with a square body, ogee lead roof and finial. Both lateral gable ends are blank with flush bands of terracotta. To the rear, the projecting ground floor has mullioned and transomed windows with cambered heads and a series of gabled roof-lights.
INTERIOR: Behind the doors on the Bristol Street front is an entrance hall with an open-well staircase. This has panelled newels with ball finials and splat balusters. Glass screens divide the ground floor rooms and there are terrazzo floors beneath floor tiles. Wall tiles of mustard colour with bands of blue tiles are set below the dado line in the entrance lobby, where the present issue desk is positioned. The skylights have panelled sides and dentiled decoration.

HISTORY: The library was built to the designs of John P Osborne FRIBA of Birmingham, with George Webb as contractor, and opened on 1 August 1905. Details are recorded on the foundation stone to the left of the Bristol Street front, which also states that the building was funded by Andrew Carnegie and that the site was given by Thomas Gibbins Esq. Early photographs show that the library had a reading room to the south-west of the entrance lobby and that there was an issue desk and stacks. The reading room was originally furnished with reading slopes for newspapers. Different areas of the interior were divided by glazed screens, some of which survive in situ but others of which have been removed. A children's library is now positioned in the room to the north-east of the lobby. Suspended, secondary glazing has been installed in the later-C20 below some of the original roof lights which survive behind these. A disability ramp has been fitted in the late-C20 to the exterior on the approach to the main entrance from Bristol Road.

REASONS FOR DESIGNATION:
Selly Oak Library, Bristol Road, Birmingham is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural quality; the building is a good example of a Carnegie library, built at the start of the C20 which has a street frontage with strong architectural presence
* Intact survival: the layout of the plan, fenestration and many external and internal details survive in their original condition
* Group Value: The library is grouped with other buildings along the Bristol Road, which form the civic nucleus of the borough.

This text is from the original listing, and may not necessarily reflect the current setting of the building.

Reasons for Listing

Selly Oak Library, Bristol Road, Birmingham is designated at Grade II for the following principal reasons:
* Architectural quality; the building is a good example of a Carnegie library, built at the start of the C20 which has a street frontage with strong architectural presence
* Intact survival: the layout of the plan, fenestration and many external and internal details survive in their original condition
* Group Value: The library is grouped with other buildings along the Bristol Road, which form the civic nucleus of Selly Oak.

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